Netflix's Dead to Me is back for a second season, and with it one of the most realistic portrayals of female friendship (and the ways in which it can occasionally be toxic) on television. Dead To Me season 2 delves even further into the loving but messy — very, very messy — relationship between widowed Jen (Christina Applegate) and her new BFF Judy (Linda Cardellini), two women who become even more inextricably linked throughout the second season of the dark (dark, dark) comedy. It’s still laugh-out-loud funny on occasion, but this season is much more focused on the inner drama of these women’s lives and their messed-up relationship.
The season 2 premiere picks up the morning after the season 1 finale, which means there are several important facts to remember about what happened between the two women: Jen and Judy became fast friends and even roommates after meeting at a grief support group where Jen was mourning the death of her husband Ted — which turned out to be a hit-and-run accident with Judy at the wheel. Although she wanted to call the cops for help, her abusive ex, Steve (James Marsden), convinced her to drive away. When Judy finally confessed the truth, Jen kicked her out — only to call her back home to discover Steve floating face down in Jen's pool, dead.
Other important figures to remember include Det. Perez (Diana-Maria Riva), the person investigating Ted's death and the recipient of Judy's tip that Steve was laundering money through his art gallery; Nick (Brandon Scott), Judy's ex-flame who realized she and Steve were the ones who hit Jen's husband; Christopher Doyle (Max Jenkins), Jen's former real estate business partner; and Lorna Harding (Valerie Mahaffey), Jen's mother-in-law and new real estate colleague.
Eager to find out what happens next? Read along below.
Episode 1, "You Know What You Did"
It's the morning after the whole "accidentally killed Steve" situation, and Jen and Judy are in the kitchen trying to play it cool. Spoiler: it's not really working. Jen's sons Charlie (Sam McCarthy) and Henry (Luke Roessler) come downstairs for breakfast, where they're shocked to see Judy since Jen had told them Judy wasn't going to be in their lives anymore. In what will become a theme of this season, Jen and Judy tell an extremely unconvincing lie that Judy's just grabbing her things, and also the cover is on the pool because a dog died in it (literally... what?), but the boys go with it because they don't really have a reason to probe further.
This is a situation that will become more and more familiar: Jen and Judy lie about something, the person they're talking to knows it's not quite right, but everyone goes along with it anyway because it's easier that way and also who really cares if it's not the truth? You know, like when you tell your friends you're running late for dinner because of traffic but it's really because you didn't leave your house until the time you were supposed to be at the restaurant. They know you're lying, but it's easier to just not address it.
Later, Jen tells Judy about what actually happened the night before with Steve: He got in her face, tried to strangle her, and she had to fight back. No stranger to the toxic way in which a lie will eat at your soul, Judy asks her why she didn't just call the cops — it was a self-defense situation. Jen reminds Judy about Steve's many friends on the police force, and insists that they both need to keep quiet about the whole situation.
But when Jen returns to the pool and sees a bit of blood on the ground, she has a brief flashback to the night before. That's the perfect time for Jen's next-door neighbor Karen (Suzy Nakamura) to stop by to invite her over for some orange wine and some chit chat about how Karen overheard Jen arguing with a man the night before. Jen brushes it off by saying she was actually banging a random dude, and Karen casually reveals that her security camera captures the whole street. Though it's the actual last thing Jen wants to do, she agrees to share some wine right now, even though it's 11:30 a.m. Be cool, Karen. As Jen confirms that the security tape definitely caught Steve coming into Jen's house, Karen is poking around the pool. Ever the spectacular meddler, she opens the pool cover. Jen silently freaks out as the cover opens so, so slowly, but there's nothing there.
Meanwhile, Judy's at work, where she asks if she can crash in an empty resident room. They're filled to capacity, so she plays it cool until she can go freak out in private since she legitimately has nowhere to go. She remembers that there is one other option, but is caught rummaging under what used to be her favorite resident Abe's bed just as the room's new resident moving in. The resident's daughter, Michelle (Natalie Morales), realizes that Judy must have been looking for something, and later brings her a cigar box that had both weed (nice) and car keys (thanks, Abe!). Abe left Judy his car, so at least she can sleep there.
After a scary incident at an intersection on their block, Jen tells Charlie, who's getting his driver's permit, that she wants to petition the city to install a stop sign. He tells her that she's overreacting, and Jen lays down some very basic truth for him: Never tell a woman she is overreacting. If anything, women usually under-react. And by the way, if that's how she's reacting to the situation, it's just her reaction, not an over-reaction. It's an important lesson that should be driven into the brains of teen boys around the world, and then periodically re-drilled into their heads when they become adults. Dead to Me: Casually subverting patriarchal norms since 2019.
Jen watches backyard security camera footage that shows her holding a gun to Steve's head — but then putting it away. It's clear these flashback fits and starts will appear throughout the season until we get the full picture of what happened that night — but that whatever she told Judy isn't what really happened. She comforts Henry, who has a bad dream, and lies in bed crying before pouring herself a glass of red wine and calling Judy.
She can tell Judy is in her car in a parking lot somewhere, so she tells her to come over and they both cry in bed. “I didn’t realize I had it so good when I was regular unhappy,” Jen laments, in a statement that is apparently NOT a personal targeted attack against anyone upset with the current state of the world, but kind of feels like one. Judy cries about Steve, and Jen apologizes. Judy tells her it's okay, Steve was attacking her, but another flashback reveals that it was the other way around: Steve said something truly terrible and Jen started attacking him. The next morning, Jen says Judy can stay there again, but there's a knock on the door. They open it, to reveal the man standing there is... Steve?
Episode 2, "Where Have You Been"
"Hi, Ben," says Judy. Who the eff is Ben, you (and Jen) ask? Oh, just Steve's equally hot twin brother. Apparently, the FBI came to Ben's house looking for Steve, and they've also raided Steve's office.
When he leaves, Judy tells Jen that she thinks they're looking for her — you know, because she turned in Steve for money laundering last week. But she can definitely fix it and steer them in another direction! Because that definitely works well for Judy. Jen tells her that's not a great idea, and that Steve was right — she brings chaos wherever she goes.
Jen realizes that, as a single mother, she needs to make a new will, but she doesn't know who she will leave her kids to. At the office, she asks Lorna if she'll take the kids should anything happen to her — and no, she doesn't have cancer. Lorna is honored, since raising Ted was the privilege of her life, and also does Jen want some pills? Unsurprisingly, Jen turns down her casual offer of fentanyl.
Judy visits Ben to let him know that Steve's art gallery was a front and that she turned Steve in for it, and Ben confesses that he's glad Judy and Steve broke up — Steve doesn't deserve her.
Jen heads to Henry's Holy Harmonies rehearsal — his jumpsuit-wearing christian rock choral group — where she runs into Christopher and his new puppy. He makes her hold it despite her protests, and it really does make her feel better. (You can't fight science, Jen: They've literally proven that bringing puppies into hospitals for patients to cuddle changes people's moods.) As she drives Henry and Charlie home, they talk about going on a vacation. All discussion drops when they see the cops at their house.
It's just Perez, there to drop off Jen's final restraining order for Judy — who unknowingly pop right out of Jen's front door. It was just a misunderstanding and Steve was behind the wheel, Jen says. Perez is not very impressed and, since she is one of the only people who is absolutely unconvinced by Jen and Judy's terrible lies, she warns Jen that Judy is a riptide who will drag her down, and Steve is caught up in some bad business. Later, Perez heads to Nick's house to tell him he was right about how Judy and Steve were involved in the hit and run and she needs his help. Is she offering him a job? Yes. Does he want to work with her or the racist chief of police? Absolutely not.
In the garage, Judy reveals why Perez is so suspicious of her: she thinks Judy tried to pay Jen off for accidentally killing her husband, and oh, also, Steve was actually working with the Greek mafia. Judy starts to freak out, saying she's trying to distract herself so she doesn't think about Steve being dead — and as long as Steve is safe then they're safe — and Jen acquiesces and they have an exchange about dinner. Oh, also, Judy made pie (cherry of course, Jen's favorite).
Ben visits while the Hardings are having dinner — he wants Judy to have one of the paintings she made for his mother years ago. He comes in for pie and some quick back story exposition: He has a teenage son, he's divorced, and he thinks Judy's right that Steve is in Mexico.
Henry interrupts this discussion when he comes in to the dining room distressed that Dad Bird (the bird he thinks is the spirit of his deceased father) isn't doing well. The creature is caught in the garage, and as Jen and Ben try to figure out what to do, Judy just climbs up and grabs the bird like she's a full-on Disney princess. (Which, aside from the vehicular manslaughter, she kind of is?) They set the bird free outside, and Jen thanks Judy for handling the situation — it's a good thing that she was there. She apologizes for the whole Steve situation again, and Judy again tells her it's okay.
Later that night, Jen sees the bird at the garage window again — and realizes that it's not a dad bird, it's actually a mom bird with a nest full of chicks inside. Jen relocates the nest outside of the garage, and has another flashback to the ~murder night~ of her and Judy pulling Steve out of the pool and putting his body in the deep freezer in the garage. This explains both why Judy was sitting in the garage and also why she said she felt safe when Steve was safe — safe in the freezer in the garage.
The biggest lingering question: What the hell are they gonna do with the dead body in the freezer?
Episode 3, "You Can't Live Like This"
As Jen works on her petition for the stop sign, she hears some strange noises. It's just Judy sitting in a beach chair in the garage, playing ocean noises to the freezer. Not suspicious at all! Just kidding, it's very suspicious, and Jen tells her as much. As they go to leave, they both hear more noises — it's rats. They need to move Steve before the rats get to him. Judy once again feels guilty for her role in the whole situation, saying she's sorry she even brought Steve into Jen's life and that she deserves this, karmically. Before you worry that this entire show will just be a montage of these women apologizing to each other over and over, know that yes, it's kind of true, but it's also showing just how deeply this guilt is ingrained in each of their brains. Why are they conditioned to apologize over and over for things that aren't necessarily their fault? Yes, it's Judy's fault that Jen's husband Ted is dead, but she shouldn't have to shoulder guilt for other events that are out of her control.
And as a flashback shows more of the ~murder night~ it becomes clear that Jen started hitting Steve after he called her a "fucking bitch." Yes, it's Jen's fault that Steve is dead, but his clearly abusive behavior is definitely not her or Judy's fault.
Judy bonds with Michelle, the daughter of her new resident, smoking Abe's weed in her car and discussing the way Michelle's mom changed after her husband's death. She withdrew, and hasn't been her old self for a while.
Jen meets a couple at the house they're closing on, but they pull out of the deal because the inspection revealed black mold in the bathroom. At home, she hears noises coming from the freezer in the garage. As she sips wine after dinner, her son's creepy friend comes over and asks why Jen is googling how to get rid of a dead body. (It was autofill! Jen swears!) The young girl says if she were getting rid of a body (!!), she would bring it to the Angeles forest where criminals dump them. It's a very creepy message to hear... from a girl in middle school. Jen heads to the garage and is staring at Steve's body when Henry and his creepy little friend come in. Everyone freaks out and leaves the garage, but Jen realizes that her home is not really a safe place for a dead body. What if the kids find it?
But also: What can she do with it? Jen buys a bunch of super-strong chemicals and heads home to experiment. As she drops a rat in the bathtub to see if it dissolves, Judy walks in and freaks out. Jen tells her it was just a test and they need to get Steve out of the house, and they both start crying. Jen doesn't know what to do, and neither does Judy — hiding her involvement in Ted's death was so awful she had to tell Jen the truth. (A flashback reveals that after Jen hit Steve from behind, he fell face down in the pool.) Just as Jen is about to say something, the power goes out.
Henry's creepy little friend jumps out and scares them, and then Jen has an idea. She brushes off Judy's question about what she was about to say when the power went out — she wanted to tell Judy that she forgives her — and the camera cuts to them driving into the Angeles forest. Great idea — listen to an actual child!
The biggest lingering question: Can these two non-criminal masterminds actually bury Steve without anyone catching on?
Episode 4, "Between You and Me"
The deed is done and on the way back from the forest, Jen freaks out that she can't find her phone. It's a very common feeling to anyone who has about 14 different purse pockets where their phone could be, but compounded especially when you've just been digging at a crime scene. The freakout ends abruptly when Jen finds it, but starts right back up again when a cop pulls the women over.
Does Jen know she committed a crime, the cop asks — before either one of the terrible liars can accidentally incriminate themselves, he tells her that he pulled her over because she was holding her phone in her hand. She gets a ticket, and the women stop at a diner for a bathroom break (and, of course, some cherry pie — no word on whether Jen likes damn good coffee, too). Jen apologizes that Judy couldn't include a more spiritual element in Steve's burial, since she knows Judy is into that whole thing. They then head to a hotel in Antelope Valley, where there's a conference and the only room available is the presidential suite. But that's okay, money is no object to Jen! They'll take it.
On their way up to the room, they run into Jeff (Marc Evan Jackson), the husband of Jen's nosy neighbor Karen — and his "colleague" who is for suuuuure his boyfriend. Jen makes it clear she's not going to say anything, and the women head up to their room. Christopher is staying with the boys, the power has come back on, and Charlie REALLY wants a car.
Judy stares out the window, she doesn't feel like talking. Instead she sleeps all day, which makes sense both because she's been up all night, but also because she's dealing with some really complicated, intense feelings of grief. Steve was abusive and they had broken up, but she still loved him and he was still, at one time, the father of her child.
Jen, trying to cheer Judy up, convinces her to head down to the hotel bar, Whispers and Winks. They get absolutely hammered on the tab of the wedding that's happening that night, drinking scotch and cheersing to Steve. Judy reminisces about the good times with him and his proposal via flash mob, which honestly should've been her first red flag. Though that's through 2020 eyes — for a brief time in the last decade, flash mobs were cute and wholesome.
Judy also has some things she meant to tell Jen: the morning after the hit and run, she found Steve sobbing in their favorite spot on the beach. It’s not that he didn’t care about what happened, he just couldn’t show his feelings, That's why she had hoped to take his body to the beach, which was his safe place. They're both crying, and Jen apologizes that Judy didn’t get to do what she wanted for Steve. Judy is the kindest person she’s ever met, and asks her to be my person.
Naturally, that seemed like the perfect time for some sleazy guy at the bar to slide in and try to get them to dance. Men around the world, PLEASE know that when two women are sobbing at the bar they absolutely do not want to speak to you. A lot of the time when they're not sobbing at the bar they don't want to talk to you, but ESPECIALLY when they're sobbing. Just don't do it!
The dancing part was a good idea, though, so Jen and Judy get hammered and dance the night away. The bartender eventually realizes they're not with the wedding party (thanks, sleazy guy), and they owe him $82, which honestly feels like a bargain for the amount of booze they've probably had throughout the course of the night.
Although there are two beds in the hotel room, they wake up in the same one. Listen, these women might've been brought together through unspeakable trauma, and they both might have had a hand in deeply hurting the other, but they also really, really love each other.
Back at home, Christopher's sweet little puppy has killed Dad Bird. Henry cries and says he wishes he could’ve said goodbye, and Jen tells him of course you can still say goodbye. This is a very good lesson about grief for us all: Just because you didn't have an explicit conversation with someone you love telling them that you love them doesn't mean that they didn't know it, and it doesn't mean that you can't say it after the fact. They hold a funeral for the bird, and Jen asks Judy to say something (which is obviously clearly meant for her to eulogize Steve). Instead of a speech, she sings "Dream a Little Dream" and flashbacks show a montage of her and Steve sweetly in love — but then cut to him being angry and yelling at her. Another good lesson: Just because someone dies doesn't mean that you should forget the bad things they've done.
Later, Henry's creepy little friend comes over and confesses she accidentally killed the bird when she squeezed it too hard to try to keep it from flying away. She's dreading telling Henry since he's her best friend and she doesn't want to lose him. Her mom is deeply sorry and thanks Jen for letting her daughter come over so much. Jen tells the little girl that it's okay, she doesn't need to tell Henry because sometimes people need a friend more than they need the truth.
Charlie, meanwhile, heads to the family's storage unit only to find (what he doesn't realize is) Steve's Mercedes convertible inside — and thinks it's a surprise gift for him.
The biggest lingering question: What trouble is this teenage boy about to cause?
Episode 5, "The Price You Pay"
The exterminator comes and takes care of the rat problem, and Jen and Judy give him the freezer. Evidence, be gone! But when they go grocery shopping after, her card is declined. It turns out that Jen has fallen deeply behind on bills, and she's at least $15,000 in the hole. Plus she threw out her back, and Judy has spent every second with her. Jen just needs some space.
Judy heads back to the gallery only to find that they're putting an Arby's in, then visits Ben, who tells her that she was right — Steve was seen a month ago heading to Mexico. He presses her for information, and since she's absolutely terrible at keeping her mouth shut, she accidentally reveals that Jen saw him "a few days ago" and that he screwed her over when he pulled out of a deal for a condo.
At Jen's office, she tells Lorna that she's fallen behind on the mortgage and wants to downsize. Lorna informs her that she gave Ted the down payment for the house and her name is on the deed, and that Jen's simply got a bad attitude that's preventing her from being successful. So selling the house for cash is right out.
Jen tries to figure out how to cut some costs (and to see if she can get her security footage erased) when Ben stops by to ask about Steve. Jen shuts him down, but then he asks about short-term rentals. He's been staying with his mom for a while, but needs to get his own place.
He notices that she has a bad back — he is a chiropractor, after all — and after she gets stuck searching through her bottom drawer for some files (in an excellent bit of physical comedy from Applegate), he helps her home. Nosy Karen walks in for some orange wine time, and Karen screws things up when she says she's seen Ben before — is he the guy she screwed that night she heard weird noises? She kicks Karen out, and Ben is confused but somehow dismisses the whole situation. Again — why do people keep believing these women and their obvious lies?
Meanwhile, Charlie takes the car out for a spin, and heads to his girlfriend's house to go for a joy ride. While he's waiting for her to come to the car, he discovers a little case with some of Steve's stuff. (Spoiler alert: This will obviously be important later. So don't forget it!) The teens get busted by a cop for hooking up in the backseat, so they drive somewhere even more remote.
At the nursing home, Michelle walks in on Judy freaking out in the bathroom and wants to cheer her up. They go to a cute restaurant, where it turns out she's the chef. They do some hardcore flirting as they cook a meal together, and have that fun early date chemistry where they bond about so many things: Michelle is also into astrology, and they both had some childhood trauma. Michelle's mom complains about her to her ex-girlfriend (this will also be important!), Judy talks about her ex, then they both discover that they feel crystals are magical compounds bonded by a spiritual energy.
Ben adjusts Jen's back, and she starts bawling as it triggers a flashback to Steve being an absolute monster to her the night of the murder. Later, Jen drinks Karen's orange wine and does some bonding of her own with Ben, who tells him about how Steve got all the confidence and he got the heart defect. He took dance as a kid, which he puts on full display in a moment that makes very good use of Marsden's goofy side. But dorky dancing aside, Ben admits that the last time he saw Steve they got into an explosive argument where all of his built-up resentment toward his brother spilled out. It weighs on him.
But then, Jen gets a call from Charlie that shuts both Jen and Judy's nights down. The women pull up to the Mercedes, where they try not to freak out when they realize Charlie had taken Steve's car out for a spin and ran out of gas. Judy takes the kids home, and Jen says she'll figure out what to do. After a flashback to her argument with Steve on the ~murder night~, she figures out the perfect solution: She'll dump the gas she brought to fill the tank all over the car and light it on fire.
The biggest lingering question: How long until the cops find the car?
Episode 6, "You Don't Have To"
Jen and Judy absolutely freak out at Charlie, who understands that he's in trouble. He might not understand exactly why they're freaking out so much, but he for sure was in the wrong when he took the car, when he ran out of gas and had to call them, and when they realized what he and Parker had actually been doing. They confiscate all his electronics and remove his bedroom door, but that doesn't really help them much when they discover the photos of the car, complete with license plate and a hat with Steve's gallery logo, that Parker posted on Instagram. Jen spins some lie about the photos getting Charlie in trouble because he doesn't have a license. He buys it, of course.
But it turns out Parker is a micro-influencer and won't take the photos down without some money. It takes a $1000 check ("what's that?" Parker asks, before asking for a Venmo) to remove the pics and never mention the outing again. (Need I remind you Jen is still very broke.) Charlie is deeply embarrassed by his mom is talking to Parker, but becomes even more embarrassed when Judy gives him a sex talk.
Later, Henry has a stomach ache and doesn't want to go to his choir rehearsal, but Jen tells him there are some things in life you have to do anyway, even though you don't want to. Ever the sensitive soul, he also notices Judy's new necklace, which Judy tells him was a gift from her new friend Michelle. (Jen clocks this answer, which will also — you guessed it — be important later.)
Judy goes to the police station when the cops call her — it's because they found out Steve called her nine times the night he died, and left her many voicemails. They listen together: Some are sweet, and some are incredibly abusive. Perez asks her if she's worried for her safety, since she realized what kind of guy Steve is a long time ago, but Judy declines.
Jen shows Ben a beautiful beachfront house to rent, and gets into a fight with Charlie, who's being an annoying teenage boy. To be fair though, his mom is also gaslighting him. Then, Ben freaks out to Jen because a family friend informed him that the cops found some remains. Jen knows she can't make the poor guy go to the police station by himself so she braves station with him. Perez informs them that the remains aren't Steve's, which is a relief to Jen, who then counsels Ben through his grief.
Michelle and Judy continue to flirt at work, and they're definitely about to kiss while smoking weed in her car but instead they go to a taco truck to order way too much food — Michelle is a chef, so wants Judy to taste everything. They also have an awkward encounter with Nick, who says a bunch of snide things without totally outing Judy for breaking his heart and having an ex-boyfriend who is currently missing and possibly dead. Close call, Judes.
At the Holy Harmonies concert, Henry is once again too scared to sing his solo and Jen tells him that she was wrong, you don't have to do things that you didn't want to do. This is, as always, a great lesson for everyone: Sometimes you should do things you don't want to in order to support the other people in your life, but if you truly don't want to do something, you do not need to performatively participate in an activity that will make you feel terrible. It's a delicate balance, and you don't always make the right call, but it's okay to not want to do things.
Jen, Ben, Judy, Michelle, and the boys ditch the concert and head to an arcade, where Ben bonds with the boys and Jen bonds with Michelle. They're all happy and these new romantic interests seem to gel well with this unconventional family unit.
But don't get too cozy in this warm and fuzzy scene. In the final moments of the episode, an in-uniform Nick comes across the burned-out shell of Steve's car. And while Judy finally kisses Michelle in the arcade photo booth, when they head to Michelle's house and close the bedroom door, Michelle's roommate gets home: It's Perez.
The biggest lingering question: Did Michelle.... date Perez? Is that the jealous ex-slash-roommate Judy has to worry about?
Episode 7, "If Only You Knew"
Judy heads into Michelle's kitchen to make coffee the next morning, where she runs into Perez — Michelle's ex of six years who just happens to absolutely hate Judy’s guts. Of course!
At home, Jen and Charlie are monitoring the speed of cars at their intersection, and he casually tells his mom that he likes Ben. He seems like a good guy. At home, Judy tries to tell Jen about Perez, but is interrupted when Ben comes over to tell them that the cops found Steve's car. Even more importantly, he needs to organize a vigil for the family. Jen volunteers her and Judy's services, and while they begin working on the logistics, Judy tells Jen about Michelle's ex. Jen says they have to break up, of course.
But Judy doesn’t do it right away. Judy and Michelle make out in the bathroom at work when Michelle apologizes about her ex. Apparently, Perez told Michelle that Judy was a riptide, but Michelle is sure she’s just jealous. But just then, Judy breaks up with Michelle, using some very woo-woo language to essentially say "it's not you, it's me.” For once in the history of breakups, this is actually extremely true, but it doesn’t hurt Michelle any less.
Jen forces Judy, who’s not even had a moment to mourn the loss of her relationship, to go to the memorial vigil because it'll be another way to prove to the cops that they're not involved in Steve's disappearance. Apparently Judy has never read a crime novel or watched any crime show in her life and doesn't realize that the perpetrators of crimes frequently pop up at occasions just like this one for reasons just like hers.
The vigil is on the beach — apparently Steve’s favorite place — and the Holy Harmonies perform, because this is a vigil in Laguna Beach and that’s how these things work. As people arrive, Steve’s mother (Frances Conroy) whom Judy says hated her shows up with Ben and is, in fact, an absolute jerk to Judy for seemingly no reason. (Considering buttoned-up Steve was her favorite child, we can probably figure out why she wouldn’t be so keen about Judy and her woo-woo ways.) But because this vigil is just one long Judy torture device, Judy then runs into Chief Hastings (Jere Burns), who asks why she's even there. She says she wants to support the family, and he ominously asks her if that's why she ratted Steve out — to support the family? She then runs into Ben's girlfriend, who turns out to be four months pregnant with Steve's baby. Judy has had enough, so she and Jen try to leave, but Charlie shows up and they get roped in to staying to support Ben, who announces that his family has launched a Steve Wood tip line with a substantial reward.
The hits just keep coming. Perez shows up, too, and informs Jen that she's there because "you'd be surprised at how often the perpetrator shows up to something like this, like moths to a flame." See, Jen? You should really watch some Dateline or something.
Jen walks down the beach for some quiet time, but Ben — who’s been sober for a year — drunkenly runs into her and, when she apologizes, tells her the silver lining of the whole situation has been meeting her. He gives her his jacket and they kiss, and Judy — poor Judy — sees them from across the beach. The final straw for Judy is when Perez tells her she's got her eye on her. Judy has reached her limit and begins crying. She screams at Perez, telling her she's just a good person who's trying to be good.
And because this simple vigil isn’t enough of a shitshow, as a slideshow of photos from Steve's life plays, Charlie sees a pic of Steve standing by his car — the one he found in the storage unit.
The biggest lingering question: Is Charlie going to do something incredibly stupid now that he knows the car was Steve's?
Episode 8, "It Had to Be You"
Jen finds Judy wasted at home — which is not very Judy-like. Jen is sorry that she forced her to do something that turned out to be just as traumatic as Judy said it would be. Another lesson: Listen to people when they try to tell you your boundaries!
Charlie confronts Jen about her having Steve's car, and the flustered women say it was a gift after he screwed her over on the real estate deal, and it was in storage because he didn’t get the title transferred before he disappeared. Charlie wants to go to the cops, but Jen gaslights him again and says they can't because he was driving the car without a license and he'd get in trouble. He somehow accepts that explanation and drops it, and Jen feels terrible for gaslighting her own son that way.
Judy tells Jen she saw her with Ben, and Jen tells her she won't be seeing him again. It's a shame, Judy says, because in the regular world they'd make a really good couple — but they're not in the regular world. Jen and Judy hug, both grieving their former significant others and the new romantic interests they won't allow themselves to have. It's understandable why they want to cut ties with Ben and Michelle, but it's also a real shame that these two women who definitely deserve happiness think that they can't have it.
At the police station, Nick is back on the job and monitoring the Steve Wood tip line. He thinks they should probably be looking into Steve’s ties to the *checks notes * Greek mafia, considering that could be a reason he’s gone missing. Chief Hastings menacingly tells him that he thinks Judy is the culprit and Nick should stop deviating from that theory. That’s not suspicious at all.
Judy, unwilling to accept everything bad that’s come her way, goes to Michelle’s house and drunkenly confesses her love. Michelle tells her to take a beat and figure out what she wants. But, thankfully, they can't deny their attraction and kiss; since Perez is working the night shift they head to Michelle's bedroom.
Things don't go as well for Jen and Ben when Ben shows up on her doorstep the next morning apologizing for being blackout drunk and not remembering what happened the night before. Ben's there because his mom has to sell her house in the wake of losing Steve and she wants Jen to be her real estate broker. Jen tries to decline, but she can't deny the commission on a $15 million mansion. (Again, she is very broke.) At the house, Jen sees a photo of Ben and Steve on the beach as children. Steve's smiling wide, but Ben is wearing a turtleneck and obviously less confident. He confides that he was embarrassed by the scars from his many heart surgeries.
Later, there’s an emergency involving Michelle's mother, so though Michelle hasn’t asked her to, Judy meets her at the hospital. Perez is also there, and things aren't looking good. Michelle's mom is on life support, and it's hitting Perez hard because she's like a surrogate mother. (Finally, we get to Perez as an actual person, not just a cop!) Though Perez is still wary of Judy, Judy offers support and she takes it. The two bond about losing their mothers at a young age, but later Judy calls and asks someone about her mother. It's clear that Judy's mom might not have died during her childhood, but she definitely grew up without her.
Jen and Charlie pull into their driveway to find graffiti on the garage saying "I know what you did." She heads to check the security footage next door, and Jeff answers the door. He and Karen are getting a divorce, he says, while Jen is just trying to get the damn security footage and not his life story. Jen sees what happened, but uses this opportunity to ask him to delete footage from the past week (and thus any trace of Steve Wood) from the security archive. She then rushes home to confront Charlie.
It turns out the vandalism was the work of his girlfriend Parker — revenge since he'd started hanging out with a new girl. "It's not my fault she's crazy," he tells Jen, who immediately retorts, "She's not crazy, you drove her crazy" — another subtle way for Jen to reframe the patriarchal narrative of difficult women. If this show is about anything, it's about female friendship. If it's about anything else, it's about how women have to exist within the patriarchal framework of society, and how we can't ever stop trying to teach men to rethink that narrative.
It turns out the new girl Charlie is seeing is really chill, she doesn't care about Instagram followers, and more importantly, she lost her dad too so they have something deeper in common. All Jen asks is that Charlie be good to her, and apologize to Parker for his behavior.
It’s too late, though, because Parker calls the Steve tip line about the photos she and Charlie took in Steve’s car. Charlie makes a call of his own, though — he goes to clean the garage, sees the gas canister, and realizes his mom probably burned the car. He goes to his backpack, where he kept Steve's bag with a jump drive and a burner phone, and calls the Newport Beach number in it (the rest are Greek): It's Chief Hastings.
Jen answers a knock at the door — It's Ben, telling her that he lied. He remembers kissing her, and he doesn't want her to think he only did it because he was drunk. He's been thinking about it for a while. They kiss on the doorstep.
The biggest lingering question: There are a lot of major hanging threads here! Will Parker's tip be the end of Jen and Judy's lies? Will Steve's phone and files help or hurt the case? Can Ben and Jen actually be together? And WTF is the deal with Judy's mom?
More to come. You can expect the full recap on May 10.