Friday, August 23, 2013

Dead Like Me, Season 1, Episode 14: Rest in Peace

George thinks the day will be good – and is confirmed by a random $20 bill landing in her bike spokes, that’s a good sign. Of course when she gets to the Waffle House Roxy randomly chews her out apparently for quitting her job the very day after she quit her last job. But it’s George’s day, according to Rube (which George is a little suspicious about) but this means free breakfast, more Roxy snark – and even no assignment from Rube.

Since it’s her day, George decides this is the day she will get her job back with Happy Time. And Delores tells her “no” – because she quit Happy Time to take one of Happy Time’s postings and quit that job after 5 minutes. She has been replaced and Delores – Ms. Herbig - is no longer friendly.

George leaves in an epic huff to wait at the lifts – and Delores comes running, distraught, trying to leave the building because she gets a phone call saying her cat is in dire straits. After tasing a passing arsehole by the lifts, George takes Delores’s keys and offers to drive because distraught Delores is in no fit state to.

At the vets, George stays with Delores. And she starts staring at a boy in the waiting room – he has a post it in his comic. One that looks a lot like the post-it’s the Reapers get. She assumes he’s a pet Reaper hassles him. George is a massive support for the panicky and upset Delories and her elderly cat. She finds words of comfort in trusting that the universe will ensure that everything will be ok, eventually – words she’s not sure she believes but gains confidence from saying and, in some way, making things ok.

And it turns out the kid is an animal Reaper – but he’s there for a rabbit, not Delores’s cat. The cat is fine. George offers to stay longer with Delores but she says she’ll be fine – and gives George her job back. She catches up with the Reaper kid and they both share death stories. Finding that the kid is pretty much homeless, she gives him the $20 she found at the beginning of the episode.

Roxy, Mason and Daisy go their merry way with Roxy guessing various people they meet are Reapers, Mason whining about whether he’s an attractive man (yes yes he is) and that he hasn’t had sex in 15 months (Roxy: Jesus, pay for it!). There follows Daisy trying to teach Mason to get a date and the writers trying to convince us someone who looks like Mason finds it impossible to find a woman who likes him. Until he finds a Goth who is into Reapers, that works.

And Rube’s appointment takes him to a yoga studio and he gets roped into joining in and then dies trying to show off to one of his female students. And is immensely frustrated by the fact she was flirting with him and eager to be with him and now he’s dead. He encourages Rube to be less on the edges, that he needs to know how to live. Until he passes on to the first overtly religious afterlife we’ve seen.

At the Las household, it’s also George’s day – or rather the Las family doing something together to mourn and remember George. Of course, Joy and Clancy are still sniping at each other. And Joy walks away from him, unable to deal with him on that day. And Joy trying desperately to connect to her daughter.

They go to the cemetery where George’s gravestone is finally being placed; giving Joy and Reggie chance to say their last goodbyes. Joy has a lot of painful apologies. Once the Las families leaves, the Reapers gather, George taking the picture Reggie left of them together and Daisy, seeing the dates, remarks on how young George was when she died. They drink champagne around her stone.

It was a nice closure episode, summing up George’s year and finding her place in the world. It was touching, it was sweet and it was a nice season finale and shows you don’t always need a cliffhanger

As for Dead Like Me season 1? I’m torn. I like the concept, I like the characters, I really like George and her growth and her snark, her cynicism and her hope. I like the other Reapers, Rube’s patient wisdom, Roxy’s hard edges – not so much Daisy and Mason, I guess they’re the comic relief (Delores was better). I’m most drawn by Joy, not happy but trying to so very very hard for her family.

I just feel that Dead Like Me had an awesome cast, an awesome concept and some nice little storylines but overall had no idea exactly what to do with it. Most of my recaps of this series have been pretty short simply because not a whole lot happened in the episode nor did things change, nor was there anything particular to write

I enjoyed Dead Like Me. I liked Dead Like Me. But it’s pretty middling to me because I felt it never really did anything with the concept and several episodes felt like they had to stretch a concept to fit the whole time.

In terms of minorities – we have one gay couple which was touching and nice after a very shaky beginning. But they were only one episode and certainly not recurring characters. We had several background POC but the only recurring POC character was Roxy and, maybe, Kiffany. I liked Roxy a lot, but she was the least used of the Reapers, she disappeared for several episodes without explanation and her constant anger was something of a trope. Kiffany was a waitress at the Waffle House – nice enough with some decent lines but hardly a character.

We did have several women with very complex characters – George herself and her growing throughout the season, Betty, the excellent Joy with her conflicts, Roxy. All were very different women in many ways – even Delores has her interesting moments even if she was a clown. Then in stepped Daisy – I know we were supposed to dislike her and they did add some humanisation to her, but they constantly invited slut shaming on her.