Friday, September 6, 2013

Dead Like Me, Season 2, Episode 2: Ledger

We open with George thinking how different she is from normal girls, thinking about death and post its – and having a night time visit with Rube to ask him if he filled out her post it – the one that listed her Estimated Time of Death, the one that a Reaper took and then reaped her. Rube wants to know why that even matters – and George shifts to ask what more information does Rube get? All the other Reapers get is a name and time on a post it, what info does Rube get? And what did he get about her? Which leads to a powerful emotional rant about what it should have said – how young she was and how few experiences she’d had. He tries to distract her with an anecdote about balance, it all adding up and it all working out in the end - which doesn’t work – she wants to be young and silly and live. Rube points out she’s still there, she is still young (and silly)

And, yes, he did write out her post it. And if he had known what a wonderful person she is back then… he would have still written it, because that’s how the system works.

The next day George has an internal rant about nothing adding up or being balanced. It’s all down to luck – and she sees a new element of bad luck, the Las Household is up for sale.

Inside Joy talks about selling the house because she can’t afford to buy Clancy out – something Reggie resents and snarks about Joy being “lazy” for not going back to work; though Joy objects especially since her job as a legal secretary was one she hated and constantly made her miserable (though Reggie points out, not inaccurately, that Joy is pretty much always irritable).

Later Joy reminisces about their family when her kids were young, looking though memorabilia of George. And then goes through Clancy’s things for more sadness.

To contrast selling the house and argument, Clancy arrives with a big shiny new car with some more touching reminiscences before he ruins it all – being Clancy. There follows more squabbling over who gets what possessions when Reggie comes home. Awkwardness.

More of George upset and musing on luck as she joins the gang in the Waffle House who are already being immensely fun bouncing off each other with Roxy’s new job as a cop (and getting free food) and her gun and Mason liking her gun and she threatening to shoot him. And then actually shooting him (he did deserve it, it has to be said). After a bad-luck based Reap Rube joins them in time for Daisy’s new obsession with Catholic saints.

And someone has stolen George’s bike. Given her already bad mood, the news leads to a rather epic tantrum (for some reason the Rube’s wisdom becomes a “whose to blame” with the seeming message of “no-one” and “pretty things just disappear” um… I don’t think theft is a blameless incident)

George goes to the police station to report the theft with a charmingly naïve view of how the system works, how much people care about her bike (not a lot) and a slice of entitlement that filling in the forms and going through the procedure shouldn’t happen (which doesn’t work) and sitting next to a man and a woman who stabbed said man. Amazingly the police don’t care a lot about petty theft (though calling it a victimless crime is ridiculous) until Roxy arrives to lay down some reality on George.

She goes into work to find there’s a staff meeting about… Theft. Office supply theft (which George is guilty of and this man takes way too seriously)  unfortunately George’s snark instincts kick in and she ends up with half the office watching her. To make matters worse, she arrives late because of her bike theft and now she has to leave to reap a soul – Delores challenged her and George… briefly considers telling the truth about needing to Reap someone but instead falls back on her Alcoholic excuse and needing to go to a meeting (which even she admits she’s run into the ground); to which Delores is eternally supportive. One Reap at an unfortunate kitchen tool display later, George steals his car keys. And his car. And his dodgy kitchen appliances; all following her new mantra of “it doesn’t matter, it’s all luck”.

Mason keeps trying to master the shell game and he’s so bad at it that both Daisy and Rube ask if he’s drinking again (he says no – but last week puts some doubt on that, doubly so when he gets a flask out of his bag). Despite failing in the Waffle House he decides to try in the street anyway. That fails – but then he has more success selling the kitchen tools George stole

Daisy goes to her Reap and in the meantime is offered $1,200 for the cross she took from her last Reap – which she refuses, seeming to becoming attached to the cross. After his death he offers her another cross from his display.

George contacts the estate agent to have a viewing of her old home. She tries to ask the agent why her family are moving – and learns about her parents divorcing; which the estate agent puts down to the family recently having lost a child. Understandably that’s pretty hard for George to hear. She runs to her room to seek comfort, but even her room has been stripped

Back to the Waffle House and Rube comments on her new car – her new Mustang – she thinks she was meant to get it because she had a bad day. Rube acknowledges that and talks about his new Reap – the 19 year old who died stealing $17 because he was hungry. She tries to ask more about what info he got on her before the post it – but he clings to topic – she doesn’t have a driver’s license and she didn’t get a car because someone stole her bike moving on to assure her that it’s not her fault her parents are divorcing.

When she leaves, Rube left a post it on her windscreen saying “drive carefully”.  She seems to be turning a corner and considering that just because she had such bad luck to die young, doesn’t mean she shouldn’t have a lucky and good afterlife.

Oh and Creepy Crystal is the office supply thief – with a vast number of supplies, particularly post-its.

Reggie’s calling Joy lazy may seem understandable as an angry kid lashing out, but it needed more challenge that it got not because it’s unreasonable for a child to have a tantrum but because this is a continued meme in society – the idea that housewives, stay-at-home-mothers are “lazy” or living easy lives and ignoring just how much labour they put in.

I think there’s definitely a different feel to season 2 Dead Like Me. George is edgier and angrier and there’s more grief and poignancy. I wonder if it’s a change of writing direction or always intended as George comes to terms with her death then gets angry at how young it was. We also have shades of other issues – while George continually feigns alcoholism to get out of work, Mason is falling off the wagon – I wonder how well that is going to be explored, especially since Daisy and Rube seem willing to be supportive of him.

And with George deciding to live her life rather than cling so much to the last one, are we going to see less of the Las household and her past and more of a future?