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Dead To Me - Season 3 - Review

Alright, we made it folks. After more than two years since season 2 dropped, we finally have season 3 back in streaming. Netflix released it last thursday and boy am I still processing everything that happened in the last ten episodes of the show. To be honest, i'm trying not to let my emotions affect my overall opinion of the last season but it's a little imposible, so i won't hold it. We start right where we left off , which is right after the hit and run Jen (Christina Applegate) and Judy (Linda Cardenilli) got into, where Ben (James Marsden) was the one hitting them, so they are taken to the hospital. Jen looks like she´s the one that took it hardest but is eventually okay.  
If there´s one takeaway from Dead to Me season 3, it´s that the writers aren´t holding back and neither are my tears. There´s so much packed into each episode, but it doesn´t feel overwhelming at the beginning, plus the humor is better than ever, even when the characters are in heavy situations.
Liz Feldman really created a world featuring one of the most authentic and relatable portrayals of friendship on television (even though said friendship is deeply rooted in murder and deception). The brilliance of casting Applegate and Cardenilli can not be overlooked. The show has tackled complex topics including grief, sexuality, infidelity, faith and the unbearable pain of loss, always keeping it balanced with hunor, however, these final 10 episodes feel noticeably different, mostly sad. That all being said, the final season is full of laugh out loud moments, a lot of them coming from Jen, we see her lean into the emotional flare-ups, serving the audience a dose of physical comedy as well. Watching Jen trying to contain her rage while being confined to a hospital bed and constricted by a neck brace is truly gold as well as watching Judy trying to calm her down. 
I´m so glad that we got to see Detective Perez (Diana Maria Riva) as much and as involved as she was. Which also gave us some humorously out of character situations when trying to keep Detective Nick Prager (Brandon Scott) off the scent of Jen´s and cover up the murder of Steve that she confessed to in season 2.

It was very interesting to see how the narative changed but also not at all from previous seasons. In season 1, Jen´s story was about trauma, with her family at the forefront, Judy being this quirky stranger that disrupts her world
even more than it already has with the death of her husband, Ted. Season 2 navigates Judy and Jen´s lives pretty equally, with both of them at the helm of the ship dealing with the aftermath of their mistakes. In Season 3, however, there is a sharp role reversal. Jen is the most vulnerable she´s ever been and this time Judy is the more rational thinker, taking charge and making decisions for the both of them. Cardenilli carries this fragile character through the show with grace, making her evolution and dominance in these last episodes profoundly rewarding. It was beautiful to see how much Judy and Jen have affected each other and contrubuted to their personal growth. Which is exactly what you want out of a relationship. 
It was established that this is a final season, so, of course it feels like that with every line, every shot every episode is preparing us for the end. Practically every character that´s interacted with Jen and Judy has re-entered the picture to some extent, giving closure to both the viewer and to the leads.
The Harding children, Charlie (Sam McCarthy) and Henry (Luke Roessler), have a little less screen time,though their scenes do greatly contribute to Jen and Judy´s healing and move the story forward. This season features a significant number of one-on-one scenes with our best friends, some flat out silly and others fall off the bone tender. But the best thing is that because of everything they have gone through, they no longer have nothing to figure out about each other, as they are the friend equivalent of a  married couple. Which, hey, works for me. There are still a lot of twists, developments and revelations that drive the story to it´s finish line.
One of them being that Judy has cancer and I have been avoiding talking about it, in case you haven´t noticed, and this is where I start to think if it was silly of me to hope that a story that has always been mostly about grief and loss wasn´t going to end that way too. 
 
Since we found that Judy had cancer I never really thought anything of it, for me it felt like it was an important story that was going to have a good closing with her character and that was only going to make her relationship with Jen a lot stronger not that it needed it or anything. However, what I failed to consider was that this could actually result with Judy dying. It did not cross my mind, which now that I think about it, maybe I was just in denial the whole time.
Like I said, grief has been ingrained in Dead to Me´s DNA from the start, and it all culminates in Season 3, which is also hard for Jen, as she´s reliving her mom´s struggle with breast cancer and confronting her husband´s death in her final days with Judy. A moment that hits very hard is when she´s at the church and in spite of everything she believes or rather doesn´t believe in, she still prays, with everything that she has in order to save her best friend. Christina Applegate and Linda Cardenilli´s performances this season are unlike anything I´ve ever seen before, it is the most powerful raw emotion I have witnessed on TV and I don´t know if anyone else will ever come close.
I also feel the need to mention that at certain points throughout the series, it´s hard not to view the scenes with the context of Applegate´s own health struggles in mind. 
Season 3 is many things, among them, it´s the final chapter in a love story that was always about Jen and Judy, an unlikely friendship, it´s a vehicle for achieving closure. A show of strenght for Jen who spent all 10 episodes trying to protect her loved ones, put on a brave face, and work towards accepting things outside of her control. But it´s an even bigger show of strenght for Christina Applegate, who gave a performance for the ages while finishing this story for herself.
Last Thoughts. 
The ending of the show left a lot to be desired in my opinion, I have not read anything regarding the desicion to kill off one of the best written characters on television nor do I want to, it's taken me a lot to process Judy's death and storyline this season, perhaps it also has to do with the fact that this has not been the only tv death I have experienced this week. I'm trying to understand where a decision like this comes from, if it's something that was always planned, if it changed with the evolution of the show or something happened that lead the creators into that route. 
Although i hope to be wrong, I don't think that's the reasoning behind it, for me it feels lazy and out of nowhere, to have a beautiful complicated character like Judy that has been through so much, that has done so much to make up for everything she has done wrong and that just genuinly is a wonderful human being, have her go through a brilliant arc in character development, give her most of what she wanted and just take it away with a cancer storyline and killing her off, does not feel right at all. It feels like the biggest betrayal to her, to Linda Cardellini's acting skills and to the audience that has followed her journey. 
Of all the endings, of all the storylines they could have given her, this is the one they chose? Like I mentioned, I was very affected with Judy's death, mostly because it might as well be the most unnecessary death I have seen in the last couple of years and because it's already been done a thousand times. When are creators going to stop using death only as shock value and nothing more for their shows? 
I was already overwhelmed this week because Dead To Me was not the only show that did that, Stargirl did it with The Crocs, they were two villains that went through a great arc as well, they turned their lives around and were on their way to experience wonderful things, but they were killed off instead. 
Chucky also had an unnecessary death in my opinion, one of their newest additions, Nadine (Bella Higginbotham) became one the many murderous doll's victims. Maybe I'm grasping at straws here but what's the point of having new characters, making them recurring roles, have them go a well written arc, only to kill them off? I'm not sure a lot of readers will agree with those comparisons since all shows are very different, but what doesn't feel different is the fact that those deaths did not have to happen and it was an easy way out for the writers to close those characters storylines. I do have to go back to Judy's death since this recap is about Dead To Me's final season of course, as you can see I'm not the happiest with the way they decided to end her life, so I´ll try to see the positives that came out of it, such as Linda's acting, the way she and Christina anihilated my heart this season had no limits, the amount of times I cried (sobbed) during this so called comedy was not right. I can´t believe I didn´t even mentioned Michelle´s (Natalie Morales) return, maybe because it was so fast and uneventful in the end, we didn´t get to see her reaction to Judy´s death, which did not sit well with me. At least Judy had those moments of joy with her before the tragedy.
I know what you must be thinking, but regardless of my opinion on Judy´s storyline and how the show ended, I did enjoy the season, I enjoyed the laughs, the sadness, the acting, the supporting characters. With that being said, of course I wish it would have been different and we didn´t get this devastating finale, but I´m still thankful for this show. 

What are your thoughts on the last season of Dead To Me? Share your comments below.

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