The Ending Of Dead To Me Season 3 Explained

the ending of dead to me season 3 explained

Netflix’s “Dead to Me” has always felt like two shows in one. Created by Liz Feldman and produced by Adam McKay and Will Ferrell, the series started as a portrait of the unlikely friendship between brittle, Type-A Jen (Christina Applegate) and hippie-dippie Judy (Linda Cardellini), two women with nothing in common but the shared grief of being recently widowed. But before the premiere episode ends, the audience is thrown a curveball: Judy is not a widow, and she and her abusive ex-fiancé Steve Wood (James Marsden) are responsible for the death of Jen’s husband. The perceptive comedy-drama is now also a mystery and at times a grisly crime drama, and through the show’s three-season run those genres did not always sit comfortably together, despite the always excellent work put in by Applegate, Cardellini, and Marsden, who returned after Steve’s death at the end of Season 1 as Steve’s goofball identical twin Ben.

When the third and final season premiered in November 2022, more than two years after Season 2, the mystery elements remained, though the show’s focus was clearly on the relationship between Jen and Judy as both women were dealt major life changes: a terminal cancer diagnosis for Judy and a surprise pregnancy for Jen. For the final episode, Feldman sets nearly every character aside and focuses on these two women, luxuriating one last time in the actors’ ace comic chemistry — with a loose end or two still blowing in the wind like an origami crane. Let’s take a look at the ending of “Dead to Me” Season 3.

Who killed Agent Moranis?

the ending of dead to me season 3 explained

Season 3 introduces Garret Dillahunt as FBI agent Glen Moranis, an apparently dogged and brilliant investigator who takes over the Steve Wood murder case after Steve’s body is found buried in a national park (where Jen and Judy buried him in Season 2). For the most part, he lingers in the background, the other shoe waiting to drop. When Jen thinks he took one of her coffee mugs in order to match her DNA to some that was found on Steve’s body, her first troubling instinct is to kill him by spiking a batch of scones with pain pills. That moment is a false alarm, but in Episode 8, when it turns out that he did get her DNA from a thrown-away water bottle, Jen shows up at his hotel room with a batch of freshly made scones. By the end of the next episode, he’s dead.

Coincidence? In Episode 10, we hear that the FBI has pinned both Steve and Moranis’ death on the Greek mafia, whom we saw lingering around the hotel after Jen left, and from whom Steve had stolen millions of dollars. It certainly seems like Jen committed premeditated murder — her first, as her killing Steve was in self-defense — but it’s not an issue that the show dwells on in its final moments. “At the end of the day this isn’t really, in its heart of hearts, a show about crime and punishment,” Feldman told Vulture after the season premiered. “It’s really a show about grief and friendship, so that always informs the storytelling.”

The Greeks

the ending of dead to me season 3 explained

The Greek mafia — or syndicate, the show clarifies, as “mafia” is something of a loaded term — was established as a threatening presence on the show starting in Season 1, as Steve has stolen over $8 million in cash from the syndicate that was meant for a pair of real estate deals with Jen. Season 3 mentions the syndicate several times as the probable killers of Steve, at least according to Jen, Judy, and Laguna Beach detective Ana Perez (Diana Maria Riva), who for myriad personal and professional reasons is also involved with the case. But the syndicate isn’t just a convenient alibi; two henchmen confront Jen and Judy on the side of the road as they try to escape to Mexico.

News of Judy’s cancer diagnosis softens the henchmen’s resolve, as both of them have family members who have died. The scene is most notable for finally answering a question that might be lingering in the back of viewers’ minds: How exactly did Judy pay for chemotherapy? She was fired from her nursing home job shortly before treatment began, and presumably no longer had insurance. It turns out that her medical costs, which may have been hundreds of thousands of dollars, were covered by the stolen Greek money hidden away inside Judy’s paintings.

Déjà vu

the ending of dead to me season 3 explained

Sitting on the beach, Jen with water and Judy with wine, the two discuss a strange-looking seashell found in the sand between them. If the scene seems familiar, it is a virtual replay of Jen’s vision that begins the season premiere. Jen notices the similarities too, and chalks it up to déjà vu, which Judy defines as “your brain reminding you to remember.” At the end of the episode, déjà vu  strikes again as Jen sits with Ben and their newborn baby, once again mirroring herself and Judy at the beach.

Doubles and reflections have been a common motif throughout the series, but especially in Season 3. Steve and Ben are the most obvious example, as identical twins who are polar opposites in temperament and fate. Jen and Judy are doubles on a reverse path from Steve and Ben, markedly different when they first meet, but eventually their lives are so entwined that the ER doctor in Episode 1 gives Judy’s cancer diagnosis to Jen by mistake. Characters often face themselves in the mirror throughout the series, and in Season 3 both Ben and Jen experience visions of the dead in their reflections — Steve and Jen’s mother who died of cancer, respectively — foreshadowing Judy’s eventual fate.

Los hechos de la vida

the ending of dead to me season 3 explained

Though it shortly becomes clear, at the very start of the series, both Jen and the audience could be forgiven for wondering why Judy essentially forces her way into a friendship. Jen is the kind of person who doesn’t suffer fools lightly even when she’s not reeling from the recent death of her husband — as seen when painfully insecure neighbor Karen (Suzy Nakamura) attempts to bring over a bereavement casserole — but Judy worms past her defenses somehow. One of their first moments of real connection comes when they bond over late-night reruns of the 1980s sitcom “The Facts of Life,” a “Diff’rent Strokes” spin-off featuring the female students at an upscale boarding school.

The show makes sense as a point of connection between the two; Jen and Judy would have been the right age to watch it as kids, but more than that, the show’s focus on adolescence and growing up from a female perspective, in ways both funny and poignant, reflects the more mature aims of “Dead to Me,” albeit with a lot less murder. While in Mexico, Jen and Judy replay their early days together by sitting in bed and watching “The Facts of Life” dubbed into Spanish. “I think it might be even funnier in Spanish,” Jen says. “It definitely is, ” Judy agrees.

The Mustang

the ending of dead to me season 3 explained

Their Mexican getaway is not all beachside cocktails and “Los hechos de la vida” reruns. The villa they are staying in belonged to Steve, but the dead can still sometimes speak. Jen and Judy open up a garage door to find a vintage Ford Mustang sitting inside — the Mustang, the one that Steve was driving, with a pregnant Judy in the front seat and a drunk Ben (as we learned this season) passed out in the back, when they took the corner near Jen’s house too fast and fatally struck Jen’s husband Ted. Both of them thought that the car had been broken down and disposed of after the accident, but apparently at some point before his death Steve had the car repaired and restored.

Judy, aghast at having the past thrown in her face so abruptly, begs Jen to take her revenge on it, handing her a golf club to start banging away. But Jen doesn’t take the club; instead, she takes the car. Without it, she never would have met Judy or Ben, would not be pregnant, and would most likely be divorced from Ted anyway. As odd as it may seem for her to drive home from Mexico in the car that killed her husband, it represents the way she has stepped away from the anger and resentment that marked her for much of the series. It also, with one big exception, puts to bed the mystery side of the series.

Placenta previa

the ending of dead to me season 3 explained

Judy’s cancer battle is marked by Jen steamrolling her wishes to forgo treatment and die naturally; Jen, haunted by memories of her mother’s slow, suffering death, is compelled to give Judy every chance at survival, even if those chances are against her wishes. When Judy tells Jen that she’s not coming back to California, Jen protests, but what causes her to finally respect Judy’s decision is not Judy’s medical emergency, but her own. As Jen daydreams about coming to see Judy every weekend, she realizes that she is bleeding through her pants.

After a trip to the ER (where Judy reveals that she can speak Spanish) — the third such visit for Jen this season — she learns that she has a condition known as placenta previa, where the placenta blocks the cervix, which can cause bleeding; it’s not necessarily a serious condition, but still one that requires observation and care. The experience is a reality check for Jen. She has a life still in California, plus two boys and now a girl on the way. As much as she and Judy lean on each other, it’s clear that life has put them on very different paths now.

The boat

the ending of dead to me season 3 explained

Outside the villa is a boat anchored a few hundred feet off the shore, accessible via a small row boat docked on the beach. Jen’s nausea keeps her from getting on the water, which is another way of saying that it’s not her time yet. When Jen wakes up the morning after the ER visit to find Judy not in bed, she steps outside and sees that the rowboat has been taken. Judy, presumably, is on the boat.

Just with Agent Moranis’ death, the show plays intentionally coy with what exactly happens. It’s clear that Judy is aboard, but whether we are to interpret that as her literal death that very morning is up for debate. In either case, it is understood as a goodbye from Judy, and Jen very much mourns it as a death. Judy leaves a note addressed to Jen, along with the bird-shaped bracelet that she wore for nearly the entire series and once used as a kind of tether to keep her friendship with Jen going during a dark moment in Season 2. If the note says anything other than Jen’s name, we never see it, and we’ll never know.

The cat

the ending of dead to me season 3 explained

Jen doesn’t exactly drive the Mustang back to California alone. She has an unexpected companion: The stray cat that was prowling inside the villa when she and Judy arrived. Jen, as a previous episode established, hates cats. She finds them evil. Judy, on the other hand, always wanted a cat. She even had a cat briefly as a girl, but it ran away while she was trying to decide what to name it, never to be seen again. In typical Judy fashion, she took that as a sign that the cat wasn’t really hers to begin with.

Jen reiterates her fear that the cat will try to kill them when it shows up at the villa, but Judy welcomes it with open arms. By the end of the trip, Sammy the cat (one of the names young Judy was deciding on) is her new companion. There is an element of reincarnation at play here, as cats have had all sorts of spiritual or mystical associations over the centuries, and the moment in the final scene where Sammy is seen pawing at the door to Jen’s guest house suggests that it might be a vessel for Judy’s spirit. More simply, the cat is Judy by virtue of being an annoyance who forces her way into Jen’s life, more or less refuses to leave, and, as a result, becomes like family.

The cranes

the ending of dead to me season 3 explained

Jen makes it back to Laguna Beach just in time for her younger son Henry’s (Luke Roessler) dance troupe performance at a local church. Still reeling from the loss of Jen, she enters the sanctuary to see that it has been decorated with a thousand brightly colored origami cranes — the same cranes that Judy made to pass the time during her chemotherapy treatments. When Ben unexpectedly shows up (Judy sent him an invitation weeks earlier) and asks if Judy is there, Jen looks up at the cranes and confirms that yes, Judy is there.

Beyond their spiritual significance after Judy’s death, the cranes are also a great example of Jen and Judy’s dynamic, both with each other and with other people. Jen agrees to take on the job of folding a thousand squares of paper into little birds as a way to get out of an annoying conversation as soon as possible. Faced with actually following through with a promise she made in haste, Jen tries to make one before Judy, the craftier of the two (in more ways than one), takes over the project and happily finishes it herself. It’s another way the two reflect one another, each of them with complementary strengths to take over for the other when needed.

Good behavior?

the ending of dead to me season 3 explained

About Ben showing up at the performance: Where did he come from? And how? At the end of Episode 7, he’s arrested by Perez and Nick for the hit-and-run accident that put Jen and Judy in the hospital at the start of the season, and since then he has been seen talking to Jen via collect calls from a state correctional facility, though it appears to just be a few weeks (if that) from the night of his arrest to the final episode. And when Jen asks him outright what he’s doing there, he answers that he was released for good behavior.

While California does allow convicts to accrue good behavior credits that go toward reducing their sentences, generally one has to actually be convicted and sentenced in order to be released early, which Ben never was, at least as far as the series showed. If Ben was indeed tried, convicted, and sentenced for his role in the hit-and-run, it happened entirely off-camera and somehow without the involvement of Jen and Judy, the victims. Just like the revelation that the FBI was pinning Moranis and Steve’s deaths on the Greeks, at a certain point, the series lost interest in its crime and mystery elements, preferring instead to focus on Jen and Judy — even if it meant hand-waving away a major Season 3 plot point.

Grief continuum

the ending of dead to me season 3 explained

The series ends where it began, with a grief support group meeting in a public park overlooking a particularly striking stretch of the Pacific Ocean. Jen is once again in attendance, along with Pastor Wayne (Keong Sim), who leads the group; widowed singer Yolanda (Telma Hopkins, best known for her role on “Family Matters”); and perpetual buzzkill Linda (Lily Knight). But the group has a new member: Jen’s newborn daughter Joey. When Linda asks Jen why she didn’t name her daughter after Judy, Jen responds, “Because this isn’t a Hallmark movie,” though Linda then counters with the not-incorrect observation that Joe and Judy are confusingly close to one another.

Pastor Wayne talks about grief not as a feeling to solve or overcome, but as a continuum, something that may ebb and flow in one’s life but never really goes away, much like the memory of those we have lost. In an interview with Deadline, Feldman expressed her desire to return the show to its roots in grief and friendship, and to craft an ending that reflected the audience’s relationships with the characters as much as the characters’ relationships with one another. “It’s a lot of pressure to end a series,” she said, “so I went with the feelings I was hoping to produce in the audience and worked backward from there.”

One more thing

the ending of dead to me season 3 explained

Except that’s not quite the end of the series. It wouldn’t be “Dead to Me” without a last-minute cliffhanger. “I knew I always wanted the show to feel like ‘Dead to Me,'” Feldman told Vulture. “It’s a specific tone and we do like to pull the rug out a lot.” As Ben plays in the pool with Henry and Jen’s older son Charlie (Sam McCarthy) — the same pool where Steve drowned after Jen bashed him on the head with a wooden bird — Jen notices that Sammy the cat is pawing at the pool house where Judy once lived. As Ben sits down next to her, she says that she needs to tell him something. Cut to black, end of series.

Presumably, she is planning to confess her role in Steve’s death, the last piece of the puzzle that Ben does not know about Jen and Judy, but perhaps not. One of the series’ favorite tricks is presenting a moment when a character could (and often should) confess something incriminating, but instead waffles and admits something either less serious or concerning someone else. Chances are slim that we’ll ever know for sure what the next moment would have been; both Feldman and her cast have been tight-lipped about interpreting that final beat, and Feldman has at present little interest in revisiting the characters in a later revival or reboot, though she admits that nothing is impossible: “I wanted it to be an end. [A reboot is] not something I’m planning on, but I’ll just leave it as an ellipsis as well.”

News Related


Israeli aircraft hit Gaza after rocket fire

Israeli aircraft hit Gaza after rocket fire The Israeli military said aircraft struck several military sites in the Gaza Strip hours after Palestinian militants fired a missile into southern Israel ... Read more »

83-year-old employee dies after being shoved during Home Depot theft: Police

83-year-old employee dies after being shoved during Home Depot theft: Police The Oct. 18 incident was captured on surveillance footage. An elderly Home Depot employee who was shoved to the ... Read more »

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb Out of Hospital After Pneumonia Treatment

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb has returned home after being hospitalized for treatment of pneumonia, his office said Saturday. The 54-year-old Holcomb was diagnosed with pneumonia after going to a doctor ... Read more »

Labour’s Angela Rayner shows off moves at Manchester bash for homeless charity

LABOUR’S deputy leader Angela Rayner, 42, shows off her moves at a bash for a homeless charity. She was DJing but enjoyed a bop to N-Trance’s Only Love Can Set ... Read more »

Director Philip Yung On Hong Kong’s Oscar Entry ‘Where The Wind Blows’: “It’s A Memory Of A Former Time” – Contenders International

Mei Ah Entertainment Over the course of 144 minutes, Philip Yung’s true-crime drama Where the Wind Blows covers an awful lot of ground. An epic in the style Sergio Leone’s ... Read more »

Union Gospel Mission serves Christmas meals to Vancouver community members

Volunteers were hard at work Saturday morning at Vancouver’s Union Gospel Mission. The Union Gospel Mission’s annual Christmas meal is once again warming the hearts of people in Vancouver’s Downtown ... Read more »

Montreal toy giveaway brings smiles to underprivileged children

Some underprivileged families in Montreal took part in what may be the only celebration they’ll have this holiday season. The Welcome Hall Mission held its annual “Noël Pour Tous” toy ... Read more »

Thousands of benefits cheats are stealing the identities of dead people to make claims

HUNDREDS of thousands of benefits cheats are stealing identities of the dead to swindle the taxpayer out of millions of pounds. Figures show 225,000 fraudsters stole or forged discount travel ... Read more »

King Charles’ crown taken from Tower of London for resizing ahead of coronation

KING Charles’ coronation crown has been taken from the Tower of London for resizing. The 22-carat, 444-stone St Edward’s Crown was escorted by armed police in a late-night operation. King ... Read more »

Dominic Raab secretly pledges Britain will stay in the ECHR amid migration crisis

DOMINIC Raab has secretly assured Tory wets that Britain will stay in the European Convention on Human Rights. The Deputy PM made the pledge in a series of behind-closed-doors meetings ... Read more »

Govt has just 48 hours to stop train strikes wrecking Christmas amid plans to rip up tax breaks for unions

JUST 48 hours are left to avoid Christmas-wrecking train strikes — as ministers draw up plans to rip up tax breaks for unions. RMT chief Mick “the Grinch” Lynch aims ... Read more »

Devastating consequences of Covid lockdown may have left kids more exposed to deadly Strep A

Deadly knock-on effects of lockdown THE devastating consequences of lockdown become more evident every day. It now appears the Covid clampdown may have left children more exposed to other illnesses, ... Read more »

I worked with the Wuhan lab – I tried to warn them & I KNOW Covid was a lab leak

A SCIENTIST who worked closely with the Wuhan lab has claimed Covid was genetically engineered – and leaked from the facility. Dr Andrew Huff, former vice president of EcoHealth Alliance, ... Read more »

Teenage soldier’s body found in his barracks six days after he was last seen, investigation reveals

THE body of a teenage soldier was found in his barracks SIX days after he was last seen.  The 19-year-old private reported feeling unwell on November 6 and was told ... Read more »

New laws to jail dog-nappers to be delayed and may even be shelved for good

PLANS to jail dog-napping thieves are set to be delayed amid fears they will be shelved for good the Sun on Sunday can reveal. New tough laws that would make ... Read more »

Over-the-top festive lights are a turn-off for househunters, agents warn

OVER-the-top Christmas lights are a turn-off for househunters, estate agents have warned. Anyone hoping to seal a deal over the festive season should switch off the illuminated reindeers and saucy ... Read more »

Twisted social media posts by Zara Aleena’s depraved murderer are still on Facebook & Instagram

SICK social media posts by Zara Aleena’s murderer are still online. They include threats by sadistic Jordan McSweeney, 29, to kill his own dad. Sick social media posts by Zara ... Read more »

Harry and Meghan could have led royals into the future rather than dwelling on the past

IT was supposed to usher in the start of a more modern Royal Family. After making the groundbreaking ­decision to ditch her ladies-in-waiting, ­Queen Consort Camilla hosted a major reception ... Read more »

Quarter of patrol boats trying to curb Channel migrants will be out of action in January and February

A QUARTER of the patrol boats trying to stem the tide of Channel migrants will be out of action in January and February. Border Force chiefs have been told three ... Read more »

Sonny Dykes says TCU belongs in CFP despite OT loss to Kansas State

Sonny Dykes says TCU belongs in CFP despite OT loss to Kansas State ARLINGTON, Texas — Shortly after No. 3 TCU's first loss of the season, a 31-28 overtime defeat ... Read more »

The Ending Of Mom Explained

CBS/Hulu CBS’ “Mom” is a laugh-a-minute sitcom about recovery. While addiction and belly laughs may not seem to go together, “Mom” make this pairing feel utterly natural. The series uses dark ... Read more »

‘Beautiful Beings’ Duo Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson & Sturla Brandth Grøvlen Expand Their Unique Collaboration – Contenders International

Altered Innocence Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson’s coming-of-age drama Beautiful Beings debuted in the Panorama section at the Berlin Film Festival, where it won the Europa Cinemas Label award. The film has also been selected ... Read more »

“The numbers are staggering”: Patient surge at Alberta Children’s Hospital results in halt of respite services

Respite care at the Rotary Flames House in Calgary is being put on hold to help address the surge in patients at the Alberta Children’s Hospital. Alberta Health Services said ... Read more »

Iranian rock climber Elnaz Rekabi’s family home ‘destroyed’: report

The family home of Iranian rock climber Elnaz Rekabi has reportedly been destroyed. AFP via Getty Images The family home of Iranian rock climber Elnaz Rekabi has reportedly been demolished, according to ... Read more »

Lava from Mauna Loa threatens main highway on Hawaii’s Big Island

HILO, Hawaii —  Many people on the Big Island of Hawaii are bracing for major upheaval if lava from Mauna Loa volcano slides across a key highway and blocks the quickest ... Read more »

U.S. may consider ending COVID vaccine mandate for military: White House

President Joe Biden’s administration is mulling a proposal from Republican leader Kevin McCarthy to repeal the U.S. military’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate, the White House said on Saturday. McCarthy, who is vying ... Read more »

Documentary’s Leading Figures Pay Tribute To Julia Reichert, Oscar-Winning Filmmaker Who Lost Battle With Cancer

Julia Reichert with her life and filmmaking partner Steve Bognar at the Traverse City Film Festival, in Traverse City, Mich., August 3, 2019 Courtesy of Matthew Carey The documentary community ... Read more »

Matt Turner points to box execution as cause for USMNT’s loss to Netherlands

The majority of the talking points emanating from the other side of the world painted a rosy picture about progress and optimism of the U.S. men’s national team after its ... Read more »

Clippers’ young unit mounts comeback but Kings pull away for win

The participation of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George in practice Friday wasn’t a precursor to the injured stars’ return, after all. It only continued the pause surrounding their eventual returns, ... Read more »

Taiwan’s ‘Goddamned Asura’ Was Crafted By “Constantly Having This Conversation About Who’s Right And Who’s Wrong”, Duo Says – Contenders International

Content Digital Film Company Lou Yi-an’s Goddamned Asura begins with chilling smartphone footage of an expressionless young man opening fire on a busy night market. In a surprising move, it ... Read more »

NYC pickpockets target holiday crowds — and NYPD targets them; ‘Be aware and always try to hide your stuff’

Pickpockets are taking advantage of unsuspecting people in big holiday season crowds throughout the city, police officials warned Saturday. While New Yorkers and tourists gathered to watch the Rockefeller Center ... Read more »

Saskatchewan family celebrates their 51st straight Agribition in Regina

Christin Dixon (left), Kylie Dixon (second from left), Matthew Charlton (second from right) and Hannah Lees (right) are celebrating their families 51st straight Agribition in Regina. Saturday marks the final ... Read more »

The best time to book Christmas train travel and when to avoid strike days

When it comes to booking train travel, the earlier the better. Many train firms have had their Christmas travel tickets available for a while, so the sooner you book the cheaper it will be. Read more »

Better transit, entertainment crucial for NY when hosting 2026 World Cup: Eric Adams

NYC Mayor Eric Adams and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy celebrate New York and New Jersey being named as co-hosts of the 2026 FIFA World Cup. REUTERS The Big Apple’s ... Read more »

Wildlife officials failed to capture wild turkeys before attack on Sacramento delivery driver

Last winter, a mail carrier was making deliveries in the Arden-Arcade neighborhood of Sacramento when he was attacked by a “particularly aggressive” and “massive” male turkey. The carrier, who was ... Read more »

‘Firefly Lane’: Sarah Chalke On Kate’s Big Season 2A Finale Revelation, Her Rift With Tully, 1980s Hair & Misogyny And Show’s Last Chapter

8 View All Netflix’s Firefly Lane, starring Sarah Chalke and Katherine Heigl, has returned with the first nine episodes of its second and final season. They resolved the two big ... Read more »

Here's Where You Can Cut Down a Christmas Tree in the Chicago Area

It’s that time of year where you may thinking about buying gifts for loved ones, planning your holiday meal and picking out a perfect Christmas tree. For those especially adventurous, ... Read more »

‘Mars One’ Director Gabriel Martins On Portraying The “Tragedy And Comedy” Of Brazil Amid Complex Family Relationships – Contenders International

Array Releasing Brazilian drama Mars One follows the Martins family, optimistic dreamers who are quietly leading their lives on the margins of a major Brazilian city following the disappointing election ... Read more »

Noodle, pug famed on TikTok for ‘bones’ or ‘no bones’ days, dead at 14

Noodle, a slow-moving pug who became famous on TikTok for his “bones” or “no bones” days, has died at age 14. The pug’s owner, Jonathan Graziano, announced Noodle’s death Saturday ... Read more »

Iran begins construction on nuclear power plant, state media reports

Iran on Saturday began construction on a new nuclear power plant in the country’s southwest, Iranian state television announced, amid tensions with the US over sweeping sanctions imposed after Washington ... Read more »
Breaking thailand news, thai news, thailand news Verified News Story Network