In Dead Like Me: Life After Death, the main reapers must deal with a shift in management as George deals with a strange coincidence involving her younger (and still living) sister. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to finish Dead Like Me.
Well, this was a strange experience, but I ultimately think it was worth it.
- Generally speaking, I’m fine not knowing behind-the-scenes info before I watch something. I really want to try and experience a show or a book as it is, without outside influence, so I can appreciate it that way. I do like learning more about how things were created once I’ve seen or read it, but I’ve always avoided spoilers of this nature on purpose, long before I started Mark Does Stuff.
- So, watch Life After Death was weird. I still don’t know why Laura Harris wasn’t able to play Daisy, though I’m guessing it was simply a scheduling issue. That’s fine! It happens! But once the folks in charge of this film knew this, why did they keep Daisy as a character in the script? I don’t have anything against Sarah Wynter as an actress, and she did as best she could here. However, it simply doesn’t feel like the Daisy Adair from the show at all. Gone is Daisy’s hidden sensitivity and brilliance. Instead, Wynter just gives us Daisy’s shallow, superficial side with absolutely no depth. Um, writers? What? What?
- This is not the only instance that left me scratching my head. There is an entire segment of this film that lasts about twenty minutes that feels so wildly out of character that I pondered whether or not I’d slipped into an alternate universe where Mason, Daisy, and Roxy were never the characters I thought they were. The problem I have here is how quick these three reapers abandon all of their standards and rules for themselves. I could see Mason being distracted by good food, beautiful women, and a lot of money. (To an extent, I should say.) I might be able to understand Daisy choosing to shirk her responsibilities for an acting opportunity that would make her famous if… well, no, once I start thinking about that, Daisy knows she is not supposed to draw attention to herself as a reaper, so why on earth would she accept a high-profile role as Lady Macbeth? And then there’s Roxy, who knows intimately that you should not fuck with things, doing all kinds of shit that she would never, ever, ever do, with virtually no explanation as to why she would do this. For a good breakfast? For more attention? At least Mason’s indiscretions are all private!
- Plus, each of these reapers knows FROM EXPERIENCE that there are consequences to not reaping on time. Sorry, that was like a quarter of the show! How did Kane prove to them that there were suddenly no consequences? We’re never shown this, just told that it happened and expected to believe it.
- Really, though, it all falls apart once Cameron Kane reveals why he acted the way he did: because he can. LITERALLY THAT IS IT. He can do it and mess things up, so he did. There is absolutely no characterization to him as an antagonistic force besides this, and that is just insulting and a waste of time. Why do this if you’re not going to give me anything to go on? Like, the more I think about this, the more I dislike it
- It’s even more glaring once you compare the reaper plot with the sheer brilliance of George dealing with her sister and Delores. THIS IS ALL SO FUCKING GREAT. It’s emotionally rewarding and enthralling, it’s thought-provoking, and the glimpse we get of these characters five years from the first episode of the series is absolutely worth it.
- Seriously, there’s so much cool shit just in the first ten minutes. REGGIE IS GORGEOUS AND SHE IS A TEENAGER NOW AND I CAN’T DEAL WITH THIS. Joy wrote a book. She wrote a book about coping with death. Murray is still alive, Delores has even better hair and an updated office, and George has way more responsibility at Happy Time. I love these snippets because we get a chance to see how these people have changed! Which is why it’s so frustrating to see how the writers don’t seem to give the same treatment to Roxy, Mason, or Daisy.
- In Life After Death, George is disturbed after Kane appears to give her the wrong time for a reap, and then discovers that she can’t take his soul anyway because HE DIDN’T DIE. Which has never happened! Ever! Through this, George realizes that her sister has been having a secretive relationship with the boy George was supposed to reap, and decides to do something terribly drastic: reveal herself to Reggie. Well, not initially, that is, as she instead does that thing where she gives advice under the cover of her mysterious appearance. It’s only when Reggie catches her at the hospital that George feels pressured to do something she isn’t supposed to do.
- What I enjoyed about how this was done was that the consequences of this weren’t ignored. We see Reggie’s initial reaction, which is to throw up on George’s shoes because why wouldn’t you do the same thing? But then, even after bonding with someone who doesn’t look like George but is clearly George, Reggie writes it all off as a figment of her imagination. Reggie knows she’s been struggling with her sense of sanity since George died, so it’s not uncharacteristic of her to think this. It takes some time for her to admit that this is really happening, that she’s not imagining it or George’s life as a grim reaper.
- Oh my god, REGGIE KNOWS. REGGIE KNOWS.
- And yet, things aren’t one giant field of unicorns and puppies. (But what if.) Despite that Reggie has her sister back in some form, it’s a bittersweet reunion. George, the only reaper to actually realize this, has a job to do. It’s an uncomfortable one. It makes people sad. And it must be done. Despite that George gave her sister to confidence to stand up to the shitty people surrounding Hudson, she still has to take his soul before Reggie can talk to him. Again, it’s so striking that the writers address the emotional ramifications of what George has done and then kind of ignore the other characters’ emotional growth from the show? It’s like… why care about one and not the other? IT’S SO JARRING.
- Okay, jarring, yes, but it’s also why this movie is worth watching. Seeing Reggie have to face death head on (literally!) is something she didn’t do in the show, at least not in the context we witness in Life After Death. Reggie was able to deny George’s death. She actively tried to deny JD’s death, too. But Hudson dies just seconds after she sees him, and she can’t do this anymore. She can’t deny death when her dead sister is sitting next to her. So George exists here to help Reggie finally move on, to accept that George and JD and Hudson are all dead, and that she does have a life that she needs to live.
- Just bless the whole scene at George’s grave between Reggie and Joy. It is truly the most honest either character has been with one another, and it’s a sign that perhaps they can work through their issues, fears, and problems. Together. And that includes a trip out of town to try and start over in a way, to literally and figuratively escape the death that surrounds them.
- But only for a little while, of course. Everybody dies.
- That includes Murray, which may have provided us with the most tear-inducing scene in the history of this show. I LOVE DELORES’S POEM SO MUCH. I love that Murray’s story ended with his ashes being shot into space on a rocket. It’s so perfect. And it’s what this movie got right about the tone and spirit of the show. It was funny and heartbreaking at the same time.
- I did like this movie, but it’s a very complicated liking. It’s not perfect by any means, but I was happy to see these characters sent off this way. It’s an end that makes me happy for the most part. I mean, it makes sense that George would become the new leader! Sure, it’s ridiculous that the powers that be would rain Post-Its down on George, but this show has always been a tad bit fantastical, so it doesn’t bother me.
- And with that, it’s time for me to move on to Wonderfalls, which starts on Monday morning! Many thanks to y’all for getting me to watch this and to James for commissioning pretty much the entire thing! ONWARDS I GO!
The video commission for this episode is now archived on MarkDoesStuff for just $0.99!
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!
– I have announced what the next books I am reading on Mark Reads will be, as well as updated y’all on the events, cons, tour dates, GOING TO EUROPE OH MY GOD, and general shenaniganry going on in my life. I have a similar post up on Mark Watches, detailing the next two shows I’m doing as well as the return of Double Features, and I finally explain what happened with my Vimeo account. Check these posts out!
– Mark Reads Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is now published and available for purchase! It’s available in ebook AND physical book format, and you can also get a discount for buying the ENTIRE SET of digital books: $25 for 7 BOOKS!!!
– Video commissions are open, and you can commission a Mark Reads/Watches video for just $25!