In the fifth episode of the first season of Dead Like Me, NO, TAKE IT BACK, I’M REALLY SAD, WHY. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Dead Like Me.
I’d like more Dead Like Me, please.
- Y’all already know that stories about identity are my thing. It’s one of the big reasons I latched on so desperately to Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. Wait, and Dollhouse. And Princess Tutu. And The Hunger Games. Oh god, okay A WHOLE LOT OF THINGS. Most of my writing focuses on identity in some way; the sites’ rules take into account how seriously I take identity politics; the novel I’m working on doesn’t stray too far from the issues I hold dear to my heart about finding your identity in a chaotic world. It’s inescapable for me not just because I find it so fascinating but because I’ve always had such a personal stake in it.
- This is why “Reaping Havoc” really is my favorite episode of these first five of the show. It explicitly addresses the fact that George now has to figure out who she is in her new undead life.
- That manifests in a couple of ways, and not just for George. First, we see George try to create a new identity as Millie while at Happy Time. I gotta say, as grating as Delores’s saccharine happiness can be, I really like her. Like, more than I expected??? As I’ve shared in the past, I do despise corporate culture. It’s not for me! But you know what? It works for Delores. Beautifully so! She appears to genuinely find joy in that space, and I’m not going to rain on that parade.
- So, I was basically speechless during the entire scrapbooking scene in the beginning of the episode because I was too traumatized to say anything. I KNOW PEOPLE EXACTLY LIKE THAT. I WAS ONCE SCOLDED VERY LOUDLY WHEN I CALLED A SCRAPBOOK A PHOTO ALBUM. I knew someone who unironically used the phrase “scrap happy.” To each their own, I swear I mean that. I just absolutely do not understand scrapbooking or the culture that goes along with it. I do, however, thoroughly enjoy the excitement and sincerity with which Delores and Michael scrapbook. I just adore people who have passionate hobbies.
- JESUS, I JUST REALIZED THAT THE ACTRESS WHO PLAYS ROXY WAS WHITLEY ON A DIFFERENT WORLD. I CAN’T DEAL WITH THIS SUDDEN REALIZATION.
- Anyway, back on subject! As George realizes that Delores has these truly kind intentions, she also comes to an epiphany: she has no real friends. She simultaneously bonds (or, rather, tries to) with Delores and Betty. With Betty, George can be herself. With Delores, George gets the chance to invent who she is as Millie. Does she have any siblings? What is her life about? Through this, it’s a way for George to make some sort of attachment, to find any sort of direction for her undead life.
- With Betty, though, George finds that she can trust someone to be honest and kind to her. I’m glad I picked up on the fact that these two were moving closer to one another in the past episode. This is a continuation of that, and I admit that I’m biased here because I LOVE FRIENDSHIP SO MUCH.
- At the same time, though, Betty is on a journey of her own. The signs were there, but I assumed they were just part of some minor character development. She mentions that she’s met every kind of person. She gives George all her Polaroids. She expresses irritation with the fact that she can’t seem to sit still. The discomfort we witness is all leading to its inevitable end: Betty wants to know more. She wants to go on the one journey she’s been unable to. I am fucked up, y’all, because THIS IS EPISODE FIVE. Betty pretty much died, didn’t she? I DIDN’T KNOW THAT WAS POSSIBLE BECAUSE SHE WAS ALREADY DEAD. That’s not fair!!! I couldn’t even prepare for this if I wanted to!!! That being said, Betty chased her dream, even if it meant that she ended her undead life. God, even Rube doesn’t know where Betty went, and I’m worried I’m not going to see her again. I enjoyed her so much!
- At least Delores is still around. It seems that Delores is really growing close to Mellie, and I want to see more of her. Oh god, I know I said it before, but I really want to see her outside of work. I do!
- And then there’s a positive change in the relationship between Joy and Reggie. After Joy has a breakdown in front of Reggie upon discovering the dead bird in her chest, it seems that they have finally found a way to move forward. God, it was heartbreaking to hear Joy say that she was so tired by fighting with her own daughter. So they found something they could do together! TAXIDERMY CLASSES. Bless you, Reggie. BLESS YOU.
- I haven’t said much about Mason. His story’s neat! I don’t think it fits the general theme I came up with, but that’s okay. I know he’s selfish and always seeking a way to keep himself ahead, but I did like that he tried to bond with the woman whose soul he reaped in this episode. Granted, he had an ulterior motive, but he was sweet nonetheless.
- Who is Gary, by the way? The guy who told Mason about the dust cloud?
- One last thing I wanted to bring up. There are two jarring moments of racism that are dealt with in two diametric ways. First of all, did the writers seriously use the phrase “yellow people” without a shred of irony or awareness? WHAT? This is even more confusing when you consider how the old woman who Mason is with uses an anti-black slur, and he immediately calls her a racist. Like, okay, y’all know how to make a text criticism shitty attitudes without it being this big lesson, so… what. What.
- Otherwise, I had a damn fine time with this episode. MORE DEAD LIKE ME, PLEASE.
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Mark Links Stuff
– I have been nominated for a Hugo in the Fan Writer category! If you’d like more information or to direct friends/family to vote for me, I have a very informational post about what I do that you can pass along and link folks to!
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