WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Season 2 of Dead to Me, now available on Netflix.
Netflix’s Dead to Me threw fans for a loop at the end of Season 1 when the series killed off its main antagonist, Steve (James Marsden). He was revealed to be the person in the car with Judy (Linda Cardellini) when they hit and killed Jen’s (Christina Applegate) husband. As the women forged a bond, Steve wanted Judy to keep covering their tracks, all while gaslighting her back into a dysfunctional relationship.
It came to a head when Judy sold him out for using her art and his gallery to launder money. This led to an irate Steve confronting Jen at her home to find Judy, culminating in a heated exchange where Jen killed him. However, Season 2 now reveals Steve is back, well, sort of. Steve’s twin brother join the show, and he’s Dead to Me‘s biggest hero.
It’s a massive shock as the series kept the return hidden quite well. The season starts with Jen and Judy still angry with each other after the truth about the hit-and-run emerged. Jen has no choice, though, but to call Judy over and they store Steve’s body in the garage freezer. But that doesn’t mean they’re necessarily patched up. Jen’s still experiencing PTSD from the argument, which had Steve cursing her out and blaming her for her husband’s death. He insinuates the man jumped in front their car to get away from his wife.
But just when it seems Jen might be able to get over it, a knock on her door reveals the twin, Ben. Judy’s there, aloof as ever, admitting she forgot to mention he had a twin. It pisses Jen off, and while it’s a silly, soap-opera move, it does fit the tone of the show. But this time, Marsden isn’t playing an arrogant douche; Ben is gentle, kind and really compassionate. He’s initially trying to investigate his brother going missing and as the episodes fly by, he bonds with Judy, reminding her Steve was abusive and didn’t deserve her. He’s also very caring towards his grieving mother, which impresses Jen, as she lost hers at an early age. More so, Ben also helps look after Jen, connecting with her sons as they love playing video games and other hobbies he partakes in, including singing at their LA church. Not only does he come off like a proper dad, he also reminds the women whatever their demons, they deserve love.
He’s really the opposite of Steve, teaching them what a good person should be. It’s why their guilt gnaws away, especially burying Steve’s body in the Angeles National Park. They know they’re doing Ben a massive injustice and someone so endearing deserves better. He even gave up drinking after a drunk fight with Steve basically brought their brotherhood to a halt, so Jen and Judy see the dedication, responsibility and discipline. Mind you, they really don’t apply it to their own lives.
That said, Ben shows them a path to redemption. He just doesn’t know they killed and hid his twin. But as Jen falls for him, she feels loved again and what it’s like to be self-confident, forgetting how her husband cheated on her. Ben was the black sheep and underwent a heart surgery at a young age, so Jen relates, as his scars indicate he’s been through a lot like her. And the way he’s smitten with her and the kids, it changes their family dynamic up a lot at a time they were having major issues. Sure, he’s kooky and nerdy, but thankfully, Ben isn’t a ghost or a flashback, making it all the more heartbreaking what he goes through when the police find Steve’s body in the finale.
Dead to Me stars Christina Applegate, Linda Cardellini, James Marsden, Sam McCarthy and Luke Roessler. Season 2 is now available on Netflix.
Season 2 of Netflix's Dead to Me just resurrected a sinister face who becomes the show's biggest hero when it comes to Jen and Judy's problems.