‘Not Dead Yet’ Star Gina Rodriguez Unpacks Season 2 Finale Twist, Season 3 Hopes

The actress also tells TheWrap which love triangle she would love to see in the ABC comedy’s next installment

Gina Rodriguez in "Not Dead Yet" (Disney/Temma Hankin)

Note: The following story discusses spoilers for “Not Dead Yet” Season 2 finale.

The “Not Dead Yet” Season 2 finale shook up dynamics between the ABC comedy’s favorite characters with a dramatic twist that left Gina Rodriguez “shook.”

The two-episode finale, which aired Wednesday, followed as Nell (Rodriguez) faced a surprise when her boss Duncan (Brad Garrett) appeared to her as a ghost while facing a health emergency during surgery. While Duncan coached Nell through how to nail an interview as his life hung in the balance, Nell’s unique ability left a lasting impact on Duncan and Lexi’s (Lauren Ash) relationship once he made it through the scare.

“I found out probably about two episodes before — I was absolutely in love with it,” Rodriguez told TheWrap. “It really allowed Duncan to see Lexi in a different light and to really have connective tissue between Lexi and Nell, and to see what Nell does to be still grounded in necessity — it’s so much more than her seeing those that are transitioning (to death), it’s really what she can do with it.”

The finale followed as Nell straddled both Duncan in the spirit world, and cared for Lexi while she prayed for her father’s recovery. After she inspired Lexi to show her father her true self, Lexi decided to buy the newspaper from her father and kicked off a new chapter of friendship between Nell and Lexi.

“That relationship has been such a slow, smooth, beautiful transition,” Rodriguez said of Nell and Lexi’s evolution. “Nell will continuously find herself up against Lexi’s almost lovable narcissism, but it’s done in a way that really creates some beautiful healing for everybody.”

By the end of the Season 2 finale, Duncan pulled through health-wise and shared a touching moment with Lexi, after she told him about her acquisition of the newspaper. By the time Duncan and Nell reconvened following his recovery, Nell checked if he recalled anything about their ghostly conversation, to which Duncan gave Nell a knowing look, leaving off on a cliffhanger of sorts.

“I just pray we get another season to keep playing because it’s set up such a fun obstacle for Nell, especially with the person that may possibly know,” Rodriguez said. “He could be the worst person to know.”

Duncan’s hospitalization also solidified Lexi and Edward (Rick Glassman) as a couple, with Rodriguez noting “they come off as polar opposites but they’re extremely similar in their specificities, in their clarity and their longing for honesty and truth.”

While “Not Dead Yet” has not yet been renewed for a third season by ABC, Rodriguez teased she could foresee a love triangle between Nell, Edward and Lexi in a potential next installment after Edward hinted he had an eye towards Nell in the Season 1 finale.

“They met each other in a space where [Nell] was her most honest, her most raw and she … has never been that real with any man in her life. It’s a freeing space for her,” Rodriguez said. “In my own journey, I found that I fell in love with the person that I could be my complete, whole self with and I find that to be really interesting for Nell.”

The end of the season also saw Nell breaking things off with TJ (Jesse Garcia) after learning he was not interested in having kids while she undergoes freezing her eggs. Rodriguez noted she was happy to see Nell not “morph” for a man again, and further, that their split wasn’t an “exclamation mark.”

“That was her M.O. — to not choose herself in the past — and I found it to be a very quiet, subtle strength,” Rodriguez said.

After launching its first season in February 2023, Rodriguez noted “Not Dead Yet” has held onto the balance of escapism and realness that she first fell in love when she read the pilot’s script in 2022. She said the Season 2 finale episodes marked her favorite installments thus far.

“I was longing to see redemption, forgiveness, heart and spaces of growth [and to see] a character that is flawed and trying her best and unraveling, but working so hard to keep it together, now blossomed into not just her journey, but this beautiful collection of eccentric, specific, unique, amazing characters that all are trying to live life … and be on this journey together,” Rodriguez said. “It just so happens that one of them sees ghosts.”

Beyond Nell’s constant struggle with sassy ghosts, Season 2 dove even deeper into real-life problems faced by the newspaper’s writers and editors, as Nell froze her eggs and Sam (Hannah Simone) kickstarted her single life after her divorce.

“It’s found itself to be this really deliciously surreal, bizarre workplace comedy — actually I don’t think there’s much like it on TV right now,” Rodriguez said. “I really love to escape when I watch television, and I also love to feel and think and reflect, and I feel like our show does that.”

With the show’s fate hanging in the balance, Rodriguez is hoping to continue the sitcom’s heart in a potential future installment.

“I am excited about venturing into more life lessons up and to see what else can happen now that somebody knows about Nell’s secret,” Rodriguez said. “I feel like there’s a lot more funnies and a lot more heartfelt storylines left for us to go, so I’m hoping we get an opportunity to do it.”

The first two seasons of “Not Dead Yet” are available to stream on Hulu.


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