For someone so consistently optimistic, Judy Hale is surrounded by a lot of darkness. The new season of Dead to Me finally delved into Judy's past, but viewers might still have some questions about her mother. Spoiler alert: This post will contain spoilers from throughout Dead to Me Season 2. In the new run of episodes, Judy reconnected with her mother, who was in prison, but the exact reason why Judy's mom is in jail on Dead to Me was left unclear. The reunion did reveal a lot about Judy's childhood, though, and it could affect the future of the show.
Judy has spoken about her complicated relationship with her mother a few times on Dead to Me, but Season 2 finally introduced Eleanor Hale to viewers. In conversations with her new love interest Michelle, Judy revealed she was the one who had to take care of her mother as a child due to her mother's drug addiction. Toward the end of the season, Judy got a call about her mom and learned Eleanor was back in jail, so Judy paid her a visit. When Judy asked her mom why she was back in jail, Eleanor dodged the question by saying the system makes it impossible for ex-convicts to ever really be free. Although Judy never discovered the real reason for Eleanor's most recent lock-up, it seems clear the jail time is nothing new.
At first, it seemed like Eleanor may have changed for the better and was ready to be a mother to Judy at long last. She revealed she had sobered up in jail, and wanted to set her life straight. But once Judy brought up the past, it was clear Eleanor was trying to manipulate her daughter. In their conversation, Judy revealed that after years of her mom disappearing and reappearing under the influence, a young Judy testified against Eleanor in court. In an effort to make it up to her mom, when Eleanor asked Judy to hire a lawyer to get her out of jail Judy said yes. However, after a lot of soul-searching and personal growth, Judy realized helping her mom — who was clearly just using her — would be a bad idea.
All that drama aside, Eleanor's arrival in the show was also a fun easter egg for TV fans. Playing Judy's mother wasn't actor Katey Sagal's first time working with a Dead to Me star; she played Peggy Bundy on the sitcom Married... with Children for years, and her daughter was played by none other than Christina Applegate... who now plays Jen on Dead to Me, of course.
The mom-swap moment was definitely a fun wink to fans, but Eleanor's presence could become a threat if Dead to Me continues with a third season. Though it sounds like Judy's mom will have a tough time getting out of jail without her daughter's help, she has more reason than ever to resent her daughter now. Plus, fans learned Judy testified against her mother as a kid... Wouldn't it be the perfect revenge for Eleanor to testify against Judy if she learned about Steve's death?
Netflix has yet to pick up Dead to Me for a third season, but if more of the show is coming, Judy's mom could prove to be a pretty important part of it going forward.