In a somewhat incredible turn, the episode opens with Christina Applegate and investigator—I guess—Brandon Scott going to cop Diana Maria Riva and telling her about the evidence they found. Riva doesn’t seem to care much about the evidence and seems ready to throw it away; it’s incredible Applegate doesn’t ask to speak to her manager.
And unrealistic, frankly.
Also unrealistic is lawyer James Marsden and Linda Cardellini bonding over a new felony for their eventual prosecution. They’re great together—it’s a damn shame Marsden didn’t get a better career (he should’ve said no to X-Men back in the day, though it’s not like the early aughts did much good for a lot of Gen-x actors)—but… they’re sociopaths. Like. Does the show not realize they’re sociopaths? “Dead to Me” doesn’t seem to understand itself… which, yeah, it’s taken a big bite and doesn’t seem to know how to chew through it.
Anyway, the episode is split between Applegate freaking out after seeing pictures of her dead husband—which Riva didn’t want to show her but Scott thought she should see—and her Realtor partner dumping her. Because Jenkins is a prick. Though his excuse is Applegate’s an asshole and has been for years and not just since the husband died.
There’s also a bit in their breakup where Jenkins says it’s okay for old White people to be racist and Applegate disagreeing makes her the bad guy, in case you’re wondering where the show comes down on that one. Also Jenkins says a little prayer before shitting all over Applegate, which seems to be a way of empowering a casually Christian viewership to be un-Christian to one another.
So later on, when Applegate’s having a weird scene with Ed Asner (because they need an exposition dump scene—it’s concerning episode writer Emma Rathbone is also the executive story editor), we find out Applegate’s had “a shitty few years,” which seems to be her saying there’s a reason for the husband stepping out with the teenager.
And then even later she lies to Scott about her husband’s shoes because we’re going to find out he walked out on her the night he got killed, which was implied back in the second or third episode but has been forgotten since. Also forgotten is Jenkins is directing Applegate’s son in church choir, so things might be awkward. Maybe?
Finally, there’s the big cliffhanger with life coming at Cardellini hard and you realize no one thought enough about the ground situation when they wrote the pilot. Shrug emoji.