In the seventh episode of the second season of Dead Like Me, George lands a high-profile reap, while Daisy and the Lass family examine their thoughts about death. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Dead Like Me.
Oh, I have so many thoughts, y’all.
- I’m aware of the fact that Bryan Fuller left running this show and writing for it back around when Betty left. But this recent batch of episodes feels more coherent and continuous than anything in the first season, as if Fuller came back and said, “No, no, we have to do this.” He didn’t, though, so all the credit goes to the writers, who appear to have finally given this show the energy and cohesion that it needed.
- And I liked season one! I didn’t think it was amazing, but I had a good time watching the show. As I said quite a bit during last week’s reviews, the show suddenly feels different. I think that, in part, that’s because things feel more sincere. We’re getting these very genuine explorations of mortality that don’t rely on dragging out George’s rebellion against being a reaper, so I don’t feel weighted down by repetition. The show hasn’t lost its sense of humor by any means, but I feel like the characters are no longer punchlines in and of themselves. (That’s especially the case for Mason and Daisy, who I’ll get to in a bit.)
- The titular theme for this episode address those aspects of modern culture that we’re all supposed to go through for… some reason. Like a gateway we need to pass through in order to continue living, though the gateway is entirely arbitrary for different people and different social groups. Going to see music live. Grieving the dead. Getting high. It also refers to the rites we have to honor or respect the passing of a soul into whatever afterlife awaits them. That manifests in Daisy’s story and with Joy’s mother.
- This episode gives us a new development in reaper culture! There are such thing as VIPRs, which are high-profile reaps that get special attention AND MONEY. THERE IS MONEY IN THE ENVELOPE THAT GEORGE GETS AND HOLY SHIT, SHE GOT MONEY TO COMPLETE A REAP. WHAT A REVOLUTIONARY CONCEPT! So I can see why the other reapers are so jealous. Is it okay to believe that Rube gave this reap to George because he wanted to see if she could actually pull it off?
- What’s striking about George’s behavior in this episode is that she does not complain once about doing her job. She is dedicated, she’s crafty, and in the end, she pulls everything off beautifully, even given Kyle a moment of peace before he dies. That could be due to the fact that she also got paid for her job, which… revolutionary idea, y’all. I don’t know who is in charge of the reapers, but WINK WINK. Look what happens when you pay them!
- Mason. Mason. For a while, I entertained the notion that he had coincidentally befriended the very people he was meant to reap. So when this turned into yet another episode where Mason royally messed up, I was kind of disappointed. At first. It felt like the same story, but that’s because I had to watch the whole thing to see where he was headed. This season opened with Mason’s unapologetic insensitivity, but that’s not what we see here. Not only does he scramble to take the soul of the person before she dies, he does something else we haven’t seen in this context: He owns up to his mistakes. Sure, he had some encouragement in the form of Daisy, but that doesn’t mean we should discount the fact that he’s starting to be responsible more and more in this season. He is the show’s punching bag in a lot of ways, but he’s also a person who is genuinely trying.
- Which makes me wonder if there’s going to be any fallout from him revealing who he really is to that one goth woman.
- DAISY. DAISY. Oh my god, like Mason, Daisy reveals who she is to a mortal human, though she’s far more intentional than Mason is. This episode reveals so much about why Daisy has been obsessed with crosses and her Catholic side. It’s curiosity. That’s an interesting parallel to the character whose place she took, isn’t it? Curiosity is what led Betty to jump off that cliff into whatever afterlife awaited her. Now, Daisy is plagued by a similar sensation. Whether she was once Catholic or not, she latches on to this idea that she might be able to find out more about what’s beyond this life through God or religion or Catholicism. I don’t think she’s specific about the medium necessarily. So she tells a priest everything about her life as a grim reaper, interested in testing the boundaries of his faith while also giving him a moment of peace before his death. Ultimately, she’s left feeling unsatisfied by the experience. It didn’t reveal anything she wanted, and she’s still no closer to satisfying her urges.
- “Rites of Passage” finally introduces Joy’s mother, who is one lovely ball of weird. Meeting her puts Joy into perspective in a way that helps me understand why she is the way she is. I’m fascinated by the fact that the Lass family is just these three women now, all who are strange in behavior and dealing with loss. (I see no mention of Joy’s father, so I assume he passed on, too.) All three deal with grief in wildly different ways, and Phyllis is the first to do so head on. In the middle of the spectrum of coping is Reggie. Phyllis is open (and a big fan of cultural appropriation, I see) and honest about her sadness, while Joy is entirely closed off. Reggie is somewhere in between the two of them, and we see her bond with Phyllis initially. But at the end of the episode, she’s drawn to her mother’s rite: a bowl of ice cream. Which, from experience, I can verify is a great way to mourn. I do it all the time!
- So, is Phyllis sticking around??? I’d be okay with that, honestly.
- This was a great episode! I could have used more of Roxy, but I’ve resigned myself to the fact that we’re probably never going to see her on the same level as the other characters.
The video commission for this episode is now archived on MarkDoesStuff.com 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!