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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The Santa Clarita Diet is unraveling Joel faster than Sheila

Photo: Netflix
Photo: Netflix
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The episode titles for episodes 2 and 3 of Santa Clarita Diet are excellent—going from “We Can’t Kill People!” to “We Can Kill People.” The Hammonds have realized that in order to try to live with Sheila’s new inconvenient appetite, they’re going to have to kill people. But being the good, upstanding citizens that they are, they need a single, no-kids, evil loner.

Basically a “young, single Hitler.”

Of course, finding people that fit your Dexter creed is a lot easier if you work at a police department like Miami’s most charming serial killer did. Joel (Timothy Olyphant) and Sheila (Drew Barrymore) have no such resources at their disposal (yet), so they haphazardly try to find someone worth killing… and may have inadvertently drawn the mafia’s attention.


After a botched attempt at feasting on a drug dealer, Sheila snaps and kills a total jerk whom Joel bumped with his car. After dumping the body in their storage unit freezer, they discover that he’s from Las Vegas, owns a strip club and a “waste management company,” and takes photos of woman from inside toilets (dude). That screams “mafia,” so do not be surprised if some of his cohorts rear their ugly heads. And hey, that just means more mafia guys for Sheila to eat, so that might end up being win-win.

But what’s more interesting than that is Rick, the Santa Monica cop neighbor. They go to him to find out if any criminals live in their neighborhood and, as we suggested in our episode 2 review, it feels like it’s only a matter of time before he becomes an ally and resource. However, after going through all this just to keep Sheila fed, the waning moments of the episode feature Joel looking sickened. Is it because it’s hard to eat shrimp while your wife is slurping down pieces of some guy’s raw arm?

Or is he starting to wonder if this is all worth it? In his earlier conversation with the drug dealer, viewers learn a lot about Joel: prom king who married the prom queen, BMOC in high school who didn’t really know what to do with himself after his glory days were over, fell into being a realtor but has no real passion for it.

Joel is prime for a midlife crisis and either Sheila’s zombie problem will be what actually gives him a new lease on life, or he is going to spiral out of control at this new direction his life has taken. He won’t be alone, as Abby (Liv Hewson) is already spiraling. No, she hasn’t done anything too horrible yet, but smoke bombing a guy’s house after he dumps her friend is pretty out there for a girl who had never even cut school up until two days ago.


Is it possible that Sheila is actually handling the zombie-ness the best out of anyone? It makes sense, since it’s actually happening to her, instead of having to watch it happen to somebody else. But Joel and Abby kind of need to pull it together before Dan (Ricardo Chavira) or anyone else gets too suspicious.

Stray observations

  • This show is doing dark comedy so well. “Toddler hot”? Good god.
  • “I have to kill somebody today so you can eat them, sweetheart. I’m worried about Abby too, but I can’t stop thinking about the murdering and eating thing.”
    “I know we have to kill somebody today, but we have to be parents everyday.”
  • Let’s hope Sarah (Kaylee Bryant) sticks around here and there. Abby’s storyline would be more fun with a trio than just her and Eric (Skyler Gisondo).

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