Episode 1 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 2 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 3 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 4 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 5 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 6 – | Review Score – 4.5/5
Episode 7 – | Review Score – 4.5/5
Episode 8 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 9 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 10 – | Review Score – 4.5/5
Netflix’s Dead to Me has finally concluded after an emotional season. The streaming giants announced the cancelation of the series well before season 3 went into production. While fans can take solace in the fact that it was a creative decision and came from within the people behind the show, they will definitely miss seeing our modern-day Thelma & Louise. Dead to Me revived the dark comedy genre with aplomb and a cascading of ironies that brought our central female leads together. What started out as a marriage of convenience to crypt “crimes against men” (literally), blossomed into a genuine, heartfelt friendship that stayed true and remained strong until the very end.
Jen & Judy’s troubles with the law continue in season 3, although only their personal problems compound. Steve’s body is finally found by a hiker and her dog, prompting the FBI to get involved as it was found in a national forest. Glenn Moranis makes a comeback, although gets less minutes on-screen. Jen and Ben get romantically involved but as they say, “it is complicated”. Judy has a terrible truth about her health come to the fore and mainly these two elements take priority in this season. The treatment of the central investigation of Steve’s murder takes a backseat, although the writers desperately try hard to keep up.
Little doses of developments are sprinkled over individual episodes. But make no mistake, it is a Jen & Judy show all the way. One of the most endearing things about this season is how well it alternates between drama and comedy. The execution is what takes it quite a few notches above its peers. The blend is not used for the sake of trying something different and chic but is deployed with a clear purpose. The choice feels organic and not intended to sensationalize by being facetious. The latter is never frivolous either, protecting the characters and the story from becoming one-dimensional. A warm, life-like quality resonates in the cinematic universe in this season, giving it a very homely feeling.
The soul of season 3 lies in the rhythmic to and fro between the ladies. It truly sets the tone for things to come. Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini share remarkable chemistry. Those moments where they start speaking different things together to make the situations even more awkward are pure gold. But even in the tender spaces, they exploit the vulnerability of the characters very effectively. They bring the right kind of balance together and level each other out in that sense. The charming camaraderie is replete with bitter-sweet moments, kind of like the aftertaste of dark chocolate. Both of them help each other through their big challenges in this season.
The ironic part of those problems is the fact that Jen & Judy do not have the intrinsic qualities to deal with them on their own. In fact, the other person has the requisite skill set and temperament to handle the problems, inspiring some very decent teamwork. There is a realization mid-season about how the entire thing is a ruse and the decision about Jen and Judy’s fate was made the day they committed those crimes. They cannot keep running away from what they did forever. The guilt will always be there but it takes time to surface for different people. It is a lie they tell themselves. Happiness can never be of permanence for them from the very first second after they did it.
But they do not live in that delusion. Jen & Judy make the most of the breathing spaces in between and take satisfaction in spending time with each other. Even after the central mystery is resolved and seemingly put to bed, it is reunited with Jen’s last words in the series, which are iconically also the last lines of dialogue in season 3. The morality scale is temptingly poised right down the middle, thereby avoiding inherent biases from the viewers. Despite not being on the priority list for the season, the investigative part of the crimes is kept the mystery alive well through the workhorses, Moranis and Nick, while never losing the comic element.
Such devoted cops in the NYPD will ensure no crime ever happens again in real-life. But then that again is an illusionary ruse. No compromises are made to the initial fabric of the show riddled with twists and unexpected character developments. A bit mollycoddled if not anything else. One downside of season 3 is the fantastical treatment of the story as opposed to something more realistic like Barry. It is not a deal breaker but perhaps that one final part that keeps it from streaming universe greatness. However, Dead to Me season 3 is an entertaining ride nonetheless and goes out with a bang. Extra brownie points for Applegate and Cardellini, who will be the most dearly missed!
Verdict - 8.5/10