Not Dead Yet (Season 1 Finale) Episodes 12 & 13 Review, Recap & Ending Explained: ABC’s latest series, Not Dead Yet, offers a refreshing take on the daily struggles of a 30-year-old single person with its witty writing and quick approach.
The show not only addresses personal loss, struggles, and hardships but also tackles the coming-of-age theme by presenting various scenarios that many of us face but are never really taught how to handle. It’s a relatable and honest portrayal of adult life in this fast-paced world we live in.
Not Dead Yet (Season 1) Review:
The creators of Not Dead Yet did an exceptional job of showcasing the struggles that come with being an adult, being clueless about life, having a unique personality, being a single parent, pretending to have it all together to appear strong, and being openly gay or a gay parent in the high-functioning world. The show explored these themes with great depth and insight, making it a refreshing and captivating watch.
The season finale of Not Dead Yet has left me with a bittersweet feeling of sadness and satisfaction. The last two episodes were a beautiful culmination of the show’s overarching theme: learning to embrace your true self and having the confidence to trust your instincts, even when it’s scary. It was a powerful reminder that we all have the potential to achieve great things and that we should never let our past experiences define us or hold us back from pursuing our dreams.
Watching the characters grow and evolve over the course of the season has been a truly inspiring journey. From dealing with personal loss and struggles to navigating the challenges of being an adult in a fast-paced world, the show has tackled a wide range of relatable themes. I found myself relating to the characters and their struggles on a personal level, and their triumphs and setbacks felt like my own.
Now and again, I was reminded of the importance of self-trust and perseverance in the face of adversity. It’s a show that has the power to touch and inspire people from all walks of life, and I’m hopeful that we’ll get to see more of it in the future.
Special shoutout to the cast, led by Gina Rodriguez as Nell, who delivered outstanding performances that truly brought their characters to life. Lauren Ash as Lexi, Hannah Simone as Sam, Rick Glassman as Edward, Angela Elayne Gibbs as Cricket, and Josh Banday as Dennis were all champions in their respective roles.
Let us quickly dive into the brief rundown of the season finale, where we can explore the events of episodes 12 and 13 and discover what choices Nell ultimately makes about her life.
Not Dead Yet (Season 1 Finale), Episodes 12 & 13 Recap:
Episode 12: Not A Fairytale Yet
Nell, Sam, and Edward are parked outside Philip’s bakery shop. Nell looks unhappy and uses binoculars to watch Philip from afar. She reflects on how she left her life and moved to a different country to be with him for five years, even learning things to bring him joy. However, now she’s unsure about her feelings for him.
Sam jumps in and assures Nell that she knows how she feels about Philip, even if it’s anger with a smattering of rage. Edward is uncertain why he’s even there, but Sam reminds him that he’s there to support Nell in her endeavor, whatever it may be. Nell wants Edward to go to the shop and ask Philip about his new life in Pasadena, but Edward feels he may not be the best person for the job as he’s socially awkward and struggles with lying and spying.
Sam suddenly becomes curious about Philip’s life in Pasadena, and Nell reveals that he’s adventurous and unpredictable – however, he was not there for her during the miscarriage when she needed him. As Nell and Sam observe from a distance, they notice that Edward is acting extremely awkwardly in front of Philip.
They quickly realize that he was not the best choice for their reconnaissance mission on their mutual adversary. Philip catches sight of the group watching him from outside the bakery shop. In a panic, Nell commands Sam to step on the gas and make a quick getaway.
As Nell works on her assignment about a dedicated employee who worked at a company for 43 years without taking a single day off, she suddenly receives a text message from Philip. She immediately shows it to her best friend Sam, who is angry despite her calm demeanor.
Denis, who is also present, is confused about the situation until Nell reveals that it’s a message from Philip. The ghost of the old lady Nell is researching advises her to meet with Philip, as he may have something important to tell her. Nell decides to take the ghost’s advice, hoping it will provide her with closure. Sam offers to accompany her for moral support and to glare at him from the safety of the car.
Lexi arrives in the meeting room and suggests to Sam and Denis that they forget about work for a moment and discuss her daughter Kendell’s upcoming birthday party. Rather than a typical princess theme, Kendell has requested a party with a work theme, and Lexi is eager to brainstorm ideas with her friends.
Although Sam’s daughter – Tilly is excited about having a princess-themed birthday party, Lexi proposes dividing the newsroom so that they can have both a princess and a work-themed party simultaneously. Sam isn’t thrilled with the idea, but Lexi dumps the responsibility on her to figure it out on her own. Denis brings up a valid point to Sam, questioning how she will be able to both work on the party themes and chaperone Nell during her meeting with Philip. Sam begins to feel the weight of her responsibilities and the difficult situation she’s found herself in.
Sam reaches out to Edward and asks him to accompany Nell to the meeting with Philip. Edward agrees to the task and joins Nell at the bakery. From the car, Edward keeps a watchful eye on the two as they converse, and relays the scene to Sam over the phone. However, Edward is having trouble reading Nell’s emotions, leaving Sam frustrated with his inability to accurately describe what’s happening.
Nell confronts Philip inside the bakery, asking him why he is in Pasadena. Without any delay, Philip apologizes and explains that during their difficult times, he shut down emotionally because he was scared and didn’t know how to handle his feelings. His lack of communication made Nell feel miserable.
After apologizing to Nell, Philip offers her a freshly baked bambolone, which she accepts. Meanwhile, Edward describes the scene to Sam over the phone. However, at the same time, we see Philip reminding Nell that she owes him an apology for the way she left him abruptly without any explanation.
After Nell eats a piece of the bambolone, she becomes furious and realizes that this was the reason Philip had come to Pasadena. She feels foolish for not realizing it earlier. She storms out of the bakery in anger. Edward asks her how the meeting went and Nell responds, “Just as I expected it to go.”
How did Nell leave Philip?
At the office, Sam is still busy setting up the decorations for the two themed birthday parties. Nell joins her and shares that she left Philip without telling him that she was leaving on the opening night of his restaurant.
Sam is taken aback by Nell’s bold choice and inquires whether she ever contacted Philip after she left. Nell reveals that she never spoke to him until today during their meeting. Sam simply responds with “okay,” causing Nell to question if it is a bad thing.
Sam expresses her opinion that Nell’s decision to leave without any communication was a drastic way to end a five-year relationship just before the wedding. Nell realizes and acknowledges that what she did was not the right way to handle things.
In what way does Nell manage her feelings now that Philip has returned to the town?
At home, Nell is annoyed that Edward bought pastries from the bakery despite knowing what Philip did with her. Edward suggests that she separate her feelings for Philip from his talents as a chef. However, Nell threatens him to eat the pastries in his room or else she will walk on the carpet with her shoes on.
Janice, the ghost of the mail person, tells Nell her story in the hope that it will help her process her feelings towards Philip. Janice confesses that she once stole the boy who went to a dance with her sister and ended up marrying him. Despite having a family and being married to him for 42 years, her sister never forgave her for what she did. Janice would write to her sister every year on her birthday to tell her that she loved and missed her, but never received a reply until the year before she died.
She advises Nell that if she still has something to say to Philip, she should tell him. Not only would it be beneficial for him, but also for herself. Janice suggests that Nell could apologize to Philip for leaving him and getting closure. Although this advice does not initially sit well with Nell, it seems like it might be the only option left for her to deal with her misery.
What happens when Nell goes to Phillip to talk to him?
As Nell gathers the courage to talk to Phillip, she realizes that the bakery is closed and he is nowhere to be seen. Disheartened, she confides in Janice that she may not have a happy ending, just like Janice’s sister. Janice reveals that her sister never forgave her for what she did, and they never had a happy reunion like she had hoped for. Nell questions the point of Janice’s story, to which Janice responds that she did everything she could within her capabilities to make things right. She advises Nell to tell Phillip how she feels someday, somehow, even if it may not be the perfect moment of closure she hopes for. It could be the way her story ends.
What happens at the birthday Princess & Boss Lady theme party?
Tilly and Kendell arrive at the birthday party dressed as a princess and a boss lady, accompanied by their mothers. As more friends arrive, Sam and Lexi encourage the children to embrace the party’s princess and office themes and make themselves comfortable. Denis is designated as the editor-in-chief for children interested in the office theme, and most kids gravitate towards it, leaving Tilly feeling left out.
Later, Editor Denis holds a meeting with the children to explain the daily responsibilities of an editor. However, the children appear bored, prompting Denis to try and lighten the mood with some jokes, which make the girls burst out in laughter. Sensing that the meeting needs more excitement, Denis decides to shift the focus toward some hot office gossip, which sparks the girls’ interest. Soon enough, they begin to share personal stories and juicy gossip, bringing a lively atmosphere to the party.
Nell arrives at the office and sees Tilly alone playing with the photocopy machine while all the other girls want to be boss ladies and have careers. Sam shares that these girls don’t want to wear pretty dresses or eat cupcakes and hang around a castle all day. Nell is surprised by this and tells Sam that her goddaughter should not be denied the perfect birthday. So she goes ahead to fix the day.
Denis quickly rushes to Sam and tells her the office gossip. We learn that all the girls want to be princesses, but since Kendell has a real pony and brings gushers to school and shares with everyone, all the girls are doing what Kendell wants. Sam tells him that his daughter cannot compete with a rich girl, to which Denis shares that Kendell got everyone to be boss ladies because she told everyone that Tilly put poop on her face. Sam gets furious and goes to Lexi for confrontation.
Sam tells Lexi that it’s unfair that she changed the theme of the party at the last moment and that her daughter is bribing everyone not to be princesses when they actually want to be princesses and enjoy the party. She further tells her that she’s not being judgmental about how Lexi is raising her daughter, but it’s not okay to give her everything she wants all the time. It’s not good for her.
Lexi tells Sam that she does spoil her daughter with everything because she wants her to be happy, as she was an unhappy child herself. Lexi felt happy when Kendell told her that on her birthday, she wanted to be like her. It made her feel like she might be doing something right in her life. But she acknowledges that if Kendell is being mean to Tilly and buying her friends, then it means Lexi has failed as a mother.
Sam tells her that she hasn’t failed, it’s just part of being a mother. Sometimes as a mother, women are right, and sometimes they confuse their kids about what an ideal world looks like. Lexi agrees and tells Sam that she’ll speak to her daughter and redirect everyone to the princess-themed party before the children go berserk.
How does Nell fix the birthday party?
In this scene, Nell is dressed as a beautiful princess in a gown and crown. She approaches Tilly and asks if she knows any other princesses to do princess things together. Tilly is thrilled to see her godmother as a princess and asks if she has come with a prince. Nell explains that princesses don’t need princes. Just then, Phillip appears and everyone in the office is stunned by the unexpected turn of events.
Nell asks him what he’s doing there, and he tells her that he had planned to leave town, but that would be him reverting back to his old self – shutting down and ignoring his feelings. So, he came back to her. Nell is happy that he returned, as it gives her the chance to apologize for leaving him without any explanation, which was hurtful. She had thought that leaving would make her feel better, but it made things worse. She apologizes to him and all the little girls gather around them, asking Phillip if he is the real prince.
Phillip talks to the children in a fairytale tone and tells Nell that he has been taking therapy and doing everything possible to get over the heartache, but deep down, he wanted to see her again, which is why he came to town, hoping that things would get better. He confesses that he came for her and if he stays in town for a while, he would like to keep in touch with her.
Nell agrees, even though Sam is not happy about the idea. Suddenly, Kendell exclaims that she wants to be a princess, and Lexi helps all the girls change into princess gowns. The episode ends with Sam, Nell, and Lexi watching the children play with Denis. Sam reminds Nell that before she melts at Phillip’s gesture, she had allowed Edward to seize her passport. Nell responds by telling the women that Denis would make a wonderful father.
Episode 13: Not Just Yet
The season 1 finale episode 13 of “Not Just Dead Yet” opens with the revelation that Phillip has been staying with Nell in her apartment for a few weeks. It seems like they have rekindled their relationship, but Nell is unsure about where things stand between them.
We also learn that Edward likes having Phillip around the house, and he himself has a girlfriend. Phillip asks Nell if she has told Sam about him staying with her, but Edward interrupts and reveals that Nell has been bad-mouthing Phillip for the past six months and that her friends hate her. After this, Edward leaves for work.
Nell confides in Phillip that she hasn’t discussed their situation with anyone because she doesn’t know where their relationship is headed. Phillip understands and tells her that he’s not asking her to uproot her life just Yet. He even suggests that he could take up a chef’s job at a nearby restaurant and live in the town for her. Nell asks for some time to think things over, and Phillip agrees to give her the space she needs.
At the office, Sam and Denis inquire whether Nell is ready to discuss Phillip’s stay at her apartment, but Nell avoids the topic. Lexi joins their conversation, and Denis gets nervous when his phone rings. Lexi commands everyone to remain silent for a moment, but Denis receives an advertisement call instead.
Nell questions what is happening, and Denis reveals that he and Ben have been selected to be foster parents. He adds that since they have decided to adopt, Lexi has been extremely supportive. The couple is thrilled with the news and Denis explains that if the adoption agency needs emergency foster parents for a baby, they will be contacted to provide care for the child. To that, Lexi adds that since the agency usually calls during business hours and offers only a brief window to respond, everyone in the office needs to remain alert to avoid missing a call.
As Nell works, she is frequently disturbed by the ghost of her next assignment, who appears to have severe OCD issues. The ghost continually questions Nell about how she can live with such clutter in her life. She assigns Nell an exercise in which she must close her eyes and imagine her ideal office desk. However, when Nell opens her eyes, all she sees is chaos and clutter on her current desk at the office.
Amidst chaotic rock music playing in the background, Nell swiftly cleans her desk, and the ghost advises her to take a step back and evaluate her life. The ghost suggests that Nell needs to ask herself whether she is in her ideal space, which is a metaphor for figuring out what she wants with Phillip in her life.
Later, we see Nell meeting Cricket and Sam at Cricket’s bar, where she shares her situation with them and seeks their advice. Sam provides her honest opinion, expressing that she doesn’t believe Phillip has changed enough to be good for Nell. Conversely, Cricket remains optimistic and shares her own experience of how people can change. She tells Nell about her husband Monty and how, before ending up together, they were living apart. Cricket feels that Monty did his part in working on himself, but Sam disagrees, saying that despite Phillip going to therapy and making changes, it may not be enough for Nell to commit to a long-term relationship with him.
As Cricket and Sam become more insistent on proving their respective viewpoints, Nell interjects, stating that she feels good about being back in the relationship with Phillip. Cricket encourages her to give it another chance, while Sam urges Nell to make sure she is certain about her feelings before committing. Amidst her friends’ differing opinions, Nell must make a decision about what is best for her.
Feeling confident in her decision, Nell calls Phillip and tells him to take the job. Grace, the OCD-driven ghost, accompanies her and eagerly waits to hear the outcome of the call. After Nell informs Phillip about the job, she realizes that Grace has suddenly disappeared. This strikes her as odd since Nell has not Yet submitted Grace’s obituary, leaving Nell to wonder where she could have gone.
The following day, Nell approaches Denis and requests a new obituary assignment. Denis promptly assigns her an athlete’s obituary, but Nell notices that the ghost is nowhere to be found. When Denis asks if she needs anything else, Nell feels relieved and content. However, her peace is short-lived as Phillip shows up at her office, inviting her to celebrate his new job in town with lunch. Sam also joins them, and despite her happiness for Nell and Phillip, Denis points out that she appears disgruntled. Phillip then offers to cook for everyone and invites them over for dinner so he can get to know them better.
Back at the apartment, Nell’s friends gather for a dinner that Phillip has meticulously prepared. Edward is pleased with how Nell’s demeanor has changed since Phillip’s arrival. They all sit down for dinner, and Nell leads them to the terrace where Phillip unveils his culinary skills. While Sam can appreciate the beauty of the meal, she is still skeptical of Phillip’s effort and is quick to point out any potential flaws.
As the night progresses, Sam asks Phillip about his relationship with his mother, but before Nell can share a funny incident, Phillip hijacks the conversation. Nell realizes that this is a pattern in their relationship, and she starts to question whether she is truly happy with him. At the dinner table, Phillip thanks everyone for coming and expresses his desire to have more moments like this in the future. Sam is impressed by his gesture, but Nell can sense that something is off. Cricket mentions the importance of honesty in her marriage with Monty, and Nell starts to question whether she and Phillip are truly honest with each other. She excuses herself from the table to grab a bottle of wine from downstairs.
Not Dead Yet (Season 1 Finale), Episode 13 Ending, Explained:
What is the confession that Nell makes to Phillip?
Phillip notices that Nell is not feeling well and follows her to check on her. Nell opens up to Phillip, sharing that she was struck by Cricket’s remark on honesty in a relationship. She admits that she has not been entirely truthful with Phillip for a large part of her life and that it is not just about him but that she has not told anyone about what she is about to reveal to him.
After Nell confesses to Phillip that she has been seeing and communicating with dead people, she narrates her experiences of being an obituary writer and how the ghosts have helped her during different moments in her life since returning to Pasadena. Initially, Phillip thinks she is joking, but after realizing the truth, he acknowledges Nell’s writer’s imagination and understands the reality of her experiences.
Although he empathizes with her difficult journey, he assures her that the ghosts are gone now. Nell admits that she feels different without them. Phillip suggests that she can take some time off from work to figure things out and that he will be there to support her. Nell agrees to the proposal. Meanwhile, Denis, who is drunk, receives a call from the adoption agency. Lexi slaps him and urges him to sober up before taking the call.
What does Edward say to Nell regarding her own personality?
After confiding in Phillip, Nell feels remorseful and more isolated. Edward visits her in her room and inquires about her well-being. Nell responds by asking why he is so concerned. Edward then reveals that Nell talks to herself whenever she is distressed and has been doing so since they moved in together. Nell is embarrassed and explains that he must have thought she was weird. However, Edward assures her that he never thought of her as weird and that it may have been her way of coping with her struggles.
Nell feels that Phillip found her story too dark, but Edward advises her not to allow him to change her too much. Although he likes Phillip, he believes that Nell is very different around him. Edward points out all the things that Phillip does that make Nell shrink into a timid person, which is unlike her rowdy self. He reminds her of the advice she once gave him about being with the person you want to be with, rather than being someone you are not. Nell sheds a tear, and Edward offers her a hug, which is out of character for him.
Does Nell break up with Phillip?
As Sam tries to reach Ben on the phone, Denis panics about being shortlisted for fostering two siblings. Meanwhile, Phillip sees Nell on her room’s balcony with a “we need to talk” expression on her face. Nell confesses that even though Phillip wants her to move on from her dark times, she has grown to like the person she has become due to her struggles. She admits that as much as it saddens her, she doesn’t see Phillip as a part of her journey toward exploring her new self.
Does Denis make the decision of fostering two kids at a time?
Next, we see Nell stepping in to help Denis during the chaotic decision-making moment about fostering two siblings. While Sam is panicking and not being helpful, Nell takes charge and guides Denis to imagine his ideal life with his eyes closed. After a frantic moment, Denis relaxes and envisions a beautiful moment with his husband Ben and the two little children who need them at the moment.
After Denis decides to take in the two siblings for fostering, Nell embraces him. While they hug, Grace (the ghost) appears to Nell and compliments her for taking charge and clearing the chaos in her life. As everyone celebrates Denis’s decision, Lexi manages to get in touch with Ben over the phone, while Sam catches up with Nell and inquires about her breakup with Phillip. Nell confesses that she realized they weren’t right for each other and decided to let him go. Sam shows concern for her friend but is also proud of her decision. They hug, and Denis joins in to announce that Ben agreed to foster, making them soon-to-be parents.
Amid the excitement, Nell reflects on the surprises that life can bring and how sometimes we find things we didn’t know we needed, and they become an essential part of our journey. She adds that if we give ourselves over to it, we might never know where it leads us. Meanwhile, Cricket observes the way Edward looks at Nell, and Lexi and Edward engage in a playful argument about their personalities, while Nell sits beside them, visibly tired of their drunken antics. The thirteenth episode of Not Dead Yet Season 1 concludes on this note.
Will there be a Season 2 of Not Dead Yet?
I’m really hoping that there will be a second season of the show because I absolutely loved the first season. As of May 3, 2023, there is no official news from ABC regarding the renewal or cancellation of the TV series. The network is currently in the process of evaluating its programming slate and making decisions about which shows will be picked up for the upcoming 2023-2024 season. Fans of the show will have to patiently wait for an announcement from the network.
However, there was a scene in the season finale that gave me hope for more. Edward was looking at Nell in a different way and Cricket noticed it too. It could be just wishful thinking on my part, but I’m really hoping for more of Nell’s character development in a future season. She’s been making big decisions based on her instincts instead of following the negative patterns of her past, and I can’t wait to see where her journey takes her next.