Warning: Some Santa Clarita Diet spoilers are ahead.
You probably don’t expect a show about flesh eating zombies to also feature a cute ‘lil pet, but that’s just one of the many ways Netflix’s Santa Clarita Diet likes to surprise you.
Drew Barrymore's undead realtor Sheila brings a new pet into their home, and she names him Mr. Ball Legs. So is he like, a dog or a cat? Or a rabbit, or maybe even an iguana or ferrett? A fish? A pet rock? Not quite. The easiest way to describe Mr. Ball Legs is, uh… he’s some sort of zombie virus carrying companion that looks like a demented spider? But what else do we know about this mysterious sidekick?
Let's Start With The Basics: Who Is Mr. Ball Legs?
Mr. Ball Legs was first introduced at the beginning of the show, but he (or, the whole group of them) only just recently got a name. Sheila's Mr. Ball Legs first made his grand appearance in the very first episode of the show, after Shiela coughed him up while she was dying (but don’t worry! She lives! As a zombie!). Thinking he might be of some importance for medical professionals, her husband, Joel (Timothy Olyphant), takes Mr. Ball Legs — but at the time, he was more ball than legs. When first introduced, to be honest, Mr. Ball Legs just kinda looked like a gross meatball. And since he looks like a meatball, and no one’s quite sure what to do with him/what he even does, the Hammonds stash Mr. Ball Legs in the freezer.
When Does Mr. Ball Legs First... Stretch His Legs?
We don’t see much of Sheila's Mr. Ball Legs during Season 1, and he’s gently tucked away in the freezer, because of course he is (He’s also in there with Loki’s Mr. Ball Legs, which Shiela has also kept). It isn’t until Season 2, when Joel and Sheila realize that another zombie, Ramona (Ramona Young), also has a Mr. Ball Legs in a cage. Also, Ramona’s the one who names him Mr. Ball Legs in the first place. She explains that he only sprouted legs because she left him on the counter for a few days.
Joel then finds another Mr. Ball Legs with Ed (Gerald McRaney). Ed has gone feral and Joel kills him, and kills his Mr. Ball Legs, too. Though Mr. Ball Legs is red in color, when Joel smashes him with a hammer his insides are sort of a gooey black.
So What Is Mr. Ball Legs' Purpose, Really?
That’s still a major question Santa Clarita Diet has yet to answer. We know the zombie virus was caused by a case of bad clams, and that all infected zombies are now coughing up these red balls. Does that mean that Mr. Ball Legs is just some sort of bad clam? Is he some sort of mutilated clam? Or is he a weird side effect of the virus that forms after you’ve eaten bad clams? As weird as this will be to say, the answer probably lies with the clams. At one point Eric manages to get his hands on an infected clam, and it sprouts a sort of tentacle-like arm and tries to eat another clam. Clam cannibalism? Sure.
However, the other infected clams were destroyed (or so we believe). Before they were, we got a good look at them, and they had the same kind of disgusting reddish hue of Mr. Ball Legs.
Another gross question you should ask yourself is: What happens if Shiela re-eats Mr. Ball Legs? She probably won’t, since she’s already really attached to him, but he came out of her. It only makes sense that he might be able to go back in. Which brings us to...
What Do We Find Out About Him Season 3?
Warning: Spoilers start right about here.
Well, we find that the little bumps all over his body are actually a ton of eye-holes — he's sort of like a super spider. We also find that Sheila's is a little rebellious, as he escapes at one point, and at the very end of the season, after cooing at his mama, he crawls into Joel's ear and maybe, possibly possesses Joel entirely. We're not sure! That's where the season ends.
Hopefully, the series will get a fourth season and we’ll soon see just how much of a part this mutant spider-like organism plays into the greater zombie apocalypse.