Dead Like Me/Reaping Havoc
Reaping Havoc is the fifth episode of the first season of Dead Like Me. George starts to find a friend in Betty, but the nature of Betty's thrill seeking get the best of her when she makes a life-altering decision that impacts everyone around her. Also, Mason befriends and robs a deceased elderly woman.
Co-Starring: Terence Kelly (Patrick Cassidy), Gary Jones (Chuck), Enid-Raye Adams (Gayle), Frank Cassini (M.J. Bowers), Tom Shorthouse (Elderly Man), Daniel Bacon (Michael), Raugi Yu (Raugi), Crystal Dahl (Crystal), Laura Boddington (Un George), Bo Fred Olsson (Partier), Erica Cerra (M.J. Bowers' Sister)
George is still trying to find her place in the world and feels like if she can't be perfectly happy with either of her jobs, maybe she should make some friends. At first, she briefly considers the possibility of Delores being a friend but this quickly washes away when she's forced to suffer through a scrapbooking club meeting. She fantasizes about showing off a book featuring bone fragments and a testicle dissolved by nuclear waste from her other job and excuses herself from going through with the scrapbooking endeavor.
Although she fails to find any comfort in her day job, George does have a friend in Betty. The two talk about the brother "Millie" has (he's a jet pilot that bombed Baghdad in the Gulf War) and about Betty's compulsion to take a photograph of everyone she reaps, all while the latest victim sits opposite of them and wonders why the two have shown such an interest in him. That is, until he sees himself collapse in the street when the spider venom from earlier in the day kills him. Betty explains that everyone has their place and can be categorized into the different boxes and sacks in her home. She later brings several of these sacks to George's apartment to illustrate the point that people are not unique snowflakes (and also to clear some closet space), a point which George initially resists until work the next day when she realizes that everyone really isn't so special. Even when Delores starts talking about her 1980s coke addiction, George finds the personalities of everyone at Happy Time to be typical. She's "rescued" by Rube and Betty, before the conversation can get any more awkward.
The three go to the park where the Bowers family is having a reunion, but one of them—M.J.—is going to die that day. They spread out and work the crowd, but Rube and Betty find two different risky M.J.s at the same time. One, an old man lighting a stove, and another, a fat kid stuck in the tube slide. But, neither of them are correct and the right Bowers turns out to be a guy who's hit in the head at high speeds by a kayak. Meanwhile, Mason reaps an old jazz singer named Florence and spends his day pilfering her home and forging her signature on social security checks. Despite Mason's ulterior motives, they become friends while waiting for Florence to be ushered into the afterlife. After she finally gets on with it, Mason carts her body out and buries her in the back yard.
Later that evening, George and Betty go to a bar where they reap the soul of P. Cassidy, an Irish man celebrating his birthday that winds up being impaled by a plastic swordfish. They take his soul outside where the Cliffs of Dover appear before him. Betty urges him to take the leap of faith and while he's contemplating his fate, she realizes that she needs to "shake things up a bit." She tells George to take her picture and gives her the ring she's wearing before piggy backing onto Cassidy's afterlife.
To honor Betty, George falls in again with the scrapbooking crowd and presents "Mysterious and Reassuring," a book of pictures from the sacks Betty left in George's care, likely including the picture taken of Betty before her jump. But, the significance is lost on Delores, who tells George that she screwed up by turning a scrapbook into a photo album. Rube, on the other hand, tries to get answers from his supervisor with a post-it note reading, "What happened to her?"
- Chuck: Died at an unknown time when bitten by a poisonous spider. Spiders nested in his closet and one bit him on the back of the neck while he was getting dressed, but he didn't die until he got to the parking lot of Der Waffle Haus. Betty filed him into the "convertible people" sack, because he owned a red convertible.
- Florence: It isn't clear when Florence died, but it seems that she simply collapsed in her home. Given that Rube's reapers deal almost exclusively with suicides and freak accidents, it seems unlikely that she simply had a stroke or heart attack. Florence spends much of her undead time with Mason, telling him about her dogs, how no one will care that she's dead (going as far as to suggest that he let the coyotes eat her) and about old jazz acquaintances from years past.
- M.J. Bowers: Killed at about 12:15 by a high-speed kayak. M.J. Bowers was one of several Bowers at the family reunion, he was nearly hit by a car carrying a kayak, but the car stopped suddenly. While M.J. yelled at the driver, another car slammed into the back of the parked SUV and sent the kayak flying, right into the face of M.J. The force of the kayak seemed to crush his skull immediately.
- Patrick Cassidy: Killed 11:43 after being impaled by a plastic swordfish. It was his birthday when Cassidy decided to get drunk at an Irish pub and leap onto the bar. He danced for a bit after making a big speech, but the vibrations (as well as some help from gravelings) caused a mounted plastic swordfish on the wall to swing loose and impale him while he was dancing. His vision was of the Cliffs of Dover and Betty jumped over them with him.
- Betty Rhomer: Betty died in the 1920s when she, looking for a thrill, jumped off a tall cliff into the water below which probably led to her drowning. She was the final reap of one of Rube's cohorts and met him right after her death. Her career as a reaper finishes with the events of this episode when she leaps into the afterlife with Patrick Cassidy.
- Final Appearance: This episode marks the final appearance of Rebecca Gayheart as Betty Rhomer in the series. Had Fuller continued to work on the series, he would later say that he would have brought her back at the beginning of the second season. However, after cutting ties to the series, it moved on without his vision.
Behind the Scenes
Allusions and References
- Marmaduke: Marmaduke is a cartoon dog which appears in a syndicated comic strip published in newspapers worldwide. Like many syndicated comic strip characters, Marmaduke has occasionally been considered as the subject for one of the massive balloons which act as a centerpiece in the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York. Although there has never been a death from one of these balloons, in 1997 a woman was put into a month long coma she was struck by debris loosened by a Cat in the Hat balloon.
- Betty: There was this travesty with a rogue Marmaduke balloon.
- Norma Rae: When George demands minimum wage pay, at least, Betty comments that she's just like Norma Rae. Rae was the titular character from Norma Rae, a 1979 movie starring Sally Field as a woman who becomes involved in her textile factory's labor union. Though she already had minimum wage, she and the union pushed for better working conditions and eventually won in the face of adversity.
- Betty: Look who's Norma Rae.