This episode’s set an indeterminate time since the previous, with Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini poolside in Palm Springs, taking it easy. Except they’re on a retreat with their grief group—the one other group members we see in the episode are the leader, Pastor Wayne (Keong Sim) and Telma Hopkins.
Cardellini and Applegate aren’t going to do anything with the grief conference, until Applegate decides she’s going to knock boots with hot guy Steve Howey no matter what it takes, even sitting through a presentation from Sim. And Cardellini goes to a miscarriage group, which confirms her stories about the multiple miscarriages for the first time. There’s a baby’s room at James Marsden’s but… the show still hasn’t explained how the miscarriage flashback fits in with the more consequential flashbacks.
Things take unexpected turns when Howey turns out not to be the stud Applegate’s looking for and Cardellini, who’s not interested in a convention hookup, meets soulful mourner Brandon Scott (after Scott sings the Cars’s Drive at karaoke) and gets romantic, leaving Applegate to fend for herself. And leads to Applegate having a come to Jesus moment, which is not a particularly good come to Jesus moment (and happens offscreen).
Abe Sylvia’s script is… eh. Guess Sylvia’s a better director for the show than writer. Episode director Minkie Spiro brings back the trying way too hard composition, which is a bummer.
Sylvia’s also got a lot of gay jokes. For Applegate. She’s drunk and making a bunch of gay jokes and then saying the equivalent of “not that there’s anything wrong with it.” It just makes Applegate seem like a jerk instead of a cynic.
She does get a good scene with Sim, finally. Who knew Sim would have good scenes.
And Hopkins gets to karaoke. Applegate and Cardellini are both surprised she can sing, which seems weird because I’d think Thelma Hopkins can sing but maybe that’s just because Thelma Hopkins can do anything.
Also, I’m pretty sure if the episode passes Bechdel, it’s on a technicality. Though Applegate having two sons to fret over kind of limits.
And the ending—with Cardellini trying to get new beau Scott (a police detective) to investigate Applegate’s husband’s death seems a little much. “Dead to Me” usually gets away with its little much but this one might be too much little much. It’s going to require one hell of a scene from Cardellini and the writers (and director) someday.