Mark Watches ‘Dead Like Me’: S02E15 – Haunted

In the final episode of Dead Like Me, Halloween serves as a backdrop to provide some closure to longstanding plots. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to finish Dead Like Me. Well, sort of.

Oh god, how is there just a movie left? Unfair.

  • I think I like “Always” a bit more than this episode, but this is a solid end to the show, assuming the movie is not a real ending. I still don’t know where the movie fits in with the continuity, though, so we’ll have to see.
  • This show has never been too jaw-dropping or mind-melting, and it’s a change of pace from what I normally watch. That has its positive and negative qualities, of course, and it’s been a challenge for me to re-think how I consume a show and write about it over the course of these last six weeks. Truthfully, this finale fits in with the general tone of the show. The writers have explored these characters in complicated ways, but Dead Like Me has never been about detailed world-building or over-the-top plot twists. In that sense, Dead Like Me ends very quietly, choosing to highlight the journey these people have been on over the course of the show.
  • I love that it’s set on Halloween because it brings back the theme of George haunting her old home. That’s really what season two has always been leading towards, and we get to see this from the perspective of both sides of the story. Joy ends up taking Reggie to therapy, where it’s clear that Reggie’s therapist isn’t going to make any progress, especially not at the price Joy is paying. I’m not surprised that Reggie won’t open up in that sort of setting. First of all, it takes a lot for her to open up in general, but with her mother there, criticizing her and goading her on, it’s not exactly the kind of environment that inspires honesty.
  • Reggie and Joy have made some progress over the course of the series, but it’s never been a gigantic leap, you know? They’re still fighting with one another in the finale, only this time, it feels even more brutal than usual. The two of them butt heads so much because they’re fundamentally different people, and Reggie takes after George more than she might admit. So the fight that they have in the kitchen is obviously about more than just burnt pumpkin seeds. It’s about their distinctive personalities clashing. Joy’s need for perfection and order, to ignore garish displays of emotion, to cling to adult responsibility – these are all things Reggie wants none of. She feels stifled by her mother, sure, but Reggie also just wants to figure things out on her own terms. Add to that the death of her sister, which is complicated in and of itself, and the reality of her parents’ divorce, and it’s easy to see why Reggie is so disaffected and confused.
  • So it’s important to note that Reggie and Joy get along when Joy lets go. Maybe it wasn’t Joy’s ideal Halloween, but allowing Reggie to spend the night by her sister’s grave brought the two of them closer. It also made my heart ache.
  • As did Rube’s statement in the beginning of the episode that perhaps he wasn’t cut out for the paternal role. WHAT A HEARTBREAKING SUMMARY OF WHAT HE JUST WENT THROUGH. Holy shit.
  • There’s a lot of role swapping here. Roxy is a princess! Daisy is a cop! AND THEY BOTH LOOK WONDERFUL!
  • Yet “Haunted” mostly presents us with a very ordinary day in the life of the reapers. The only strangeness present here comes in the form of a Halloween legend. It’s apparently the one day of the year in which reapers are seen in their original form. While this has the potential to be incredibly dramatic, we have to remember how reaper culture expressly forbids reapers to reveal who they are to humans, so the few surprises are remarkably subtle. Crystal suspects something is up when she catches Millie at Happy Time on a Sunday, but it goes nowhere. An older gentleman outright recognizes Daisy, but she’s able to deflect his attention. Even at the very end of the episode, it’s entirely possible that Reggie will believe she just saw George’s ghost on Halloween. George’s appearance in front of Reggie felt like a real goodbye. We have to remember that George told Rube that she wasn’t the same girl anymore, and it’s a very calm way of letting us know that maybe George is ready to move on.
  • I’ve used a lot of related words to describe this finale. It’s quiet, subtle, calm. That’s what it feels like to me. Our last glimpses of Mason, Daisy, Rube, Roxy, and George are not accompanied by a whole lot of closure. Despite that this is the end of the show, these five reapers must keep on reaping. The writers don’t betray any of their characterization here. The use of the serial killer plot suggests an answer to my graveling questions. Perhaps evil people spawn the creatures, as that’s the only connection I could find between Ray and the killer that George had to reap. But the use of this narrative thread wasn’t about revealing any last minute surprises. To me, it all felt like a way to say that this undead life would continue on for these people, that they’d be reaping for years to come. No one gets their final reap. No one moves on. Sure, these characters have changed since the show started, but have they changed that much?
  • Maybe not. But it’s been a fun journey nonetheless.
  • OH GOD, THERE’S JUST A MOVIE LEFT.

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!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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