While Season Two of Dead to Me is a triumph on the whole, the finale is a five-car pile up of loose ends. While the second season of Netflix's murder-mystery-grief-comedy (??) spent quite a bit of time following Jen (Christina Applegate) and Judy (Linda Cardellini) as the two worked to cover up the death of Steve (James Marsden), a B-plot was bubbling under the surface that needs some explanation to fully appreciate the finale. If you've stumbled upon this post on accident, be warned. Moving forward there will be spoilers abound.
While the biggest surprise of the season was at the intersection of mafia money and an empty liquor bottle, there are also a lot of questions about how Jen and Judy seemingly dodged any guilt for Steve's murder, ended up with thousands of dollars in cash, and subsequently brought down the police chief. That sounds like a season's worth of story sprinkled in the background, but it all boils down to one carry over from Season One that helps Season Two make more sense.
What's Going On With the Greek Mafia?
Toward the end of Season One, Judy went to the police and turned in Steve for his involvement with the Greek mafia. He was laundering money to the notorious organization and Judy was continuing to work with the FBI to provide them with information on Steve. In the first episode of Season Two, Jen and Judy ultimately decide to hide his murder from the local police, knowing that Steve has some family connections in the department. But, they're somewhat in luck, because the police and Steve's brother initially suspect that the Greek mafia is responsible for his disappearance. Things take a turn when Judy is confronted by a man at Steve's vigil, who is aggressive to her for going to the FBI about Steve's involvement with the mafia. This man is later revealed to be the police chief and Steve's powerful connection in the department. This chief encourages Detective Perez to focus on Judy as the main suspect in Steve's disappearance, throwing them off of the mafia trail.
The Glove Compartment Bag
Earlier in Season Two, when Sam takes Steve's stash-away car for a joy ride, he discovers a dopp bag in the glove compartment with a cell phone and some valuable information—specifically a thumb drive with files that come to change the course of both investigations. The information on the thumb drive is in Greek, and it details the laundering that had been going on between Steve and the mafia. After Jen goes to turn herself in for Steve's murder, Judy finds Max with the bag and figures out what's inside.
Judy immediately takes the bag to the police and hands it off to Detective Prager. She passes it off, asking Prager to use the information to help Jen in any way he can, but to not listen to it anyway the chief might "hear his own voice." That little tid bit tipped Prager off to exactly what is on the cell phone. It seems that Steve had recorded some incriminating conversations between himself and the police chief about the Greek mafia goings on.
And The Paintings?
Judy also asked Detective Perez if there was ever a way she'd ever be able to get her paintings back, saying regularly that she feels like they're "worth something." After Jen turns herself in for Steve's murder, Perez and her go into the forest to find the body, but unable to find it, Jen convinces the ever-skeptical Perez that Judy is a good person. Likely seeing the morality issue at hand, Perez gives Jen a break and lets her off for the murder, saying that they should forget ever taking the trip. Perez also delivers the paintings to Judy.
After Perez leaves, Judy opens up the painting backs to reveal thousands of dollars stuffed in the back. Steve was using the paintings to help launder money, setting up a gallery of Judy's work as a ruse for moving the cash. Judy and Jen team up and use the cash to buy Jen's mother-in-law out of her share of Jen's house. They also use a bit to buy Sam the new car he's been asking about all season.
What About the Car Crash?
While it may seem like the car crash between Steve's brother, Jen, and Judy is the biggest climax of the season, the crash just punctuates a whole litany of issues. Ultimately, there's a good chance that the thousands of dollars used to buy the house and purchase a now-smashed car is mafia money. And when the mafia comes looking for money, they typically find a way of getting their due. There's also the worry about the dog that was seen digging up Steve's body. It's easy to let a woman off for murder when a body is buried, but when it's uncovered? Things don't look so great.
So, provided that Netflix gives Dead to Me a Season Three, it's probably safe to assume that we'll be seeing some representation from the Greek mafia contingent... and perhaps a bit more of the inside of a jail cell.
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