‘Not Dead Yet’ Episode 3: Recap And Ending, Explained: Why Did Nell Decide To Let Go Of Her High School Bully?

The first two episodes of “Not Dead Yet” established the fact that Nell Stevens can see the ghosts of the people she is about to write obituaries for. She started as a journalist but left her job midway to join her boyfriend in London. When the relationship ended, she initially had no job, but friend Sam managed to get her old job back, though this time she will be writing obituaries rather than covering hard news. Nell is relieved to get back her old job; even though she is not excited about writing obituaries, she takes it up just to stay employed; and soon realizes she has a knack for writing kick-ass write ups on the people who have passed on from this world. Nell takes it up as a challenge from here on.

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Spoilers Ahead


Nell And The Bully

Nell begins her work just like every other day and is looking forward to writing more obituaries. Now that she has moved from an attic room to a desk, Nell is aware that people like her obituaries, especially the families of the people she has to write about. She is faced with countless ghosts she is going to write about; most of them are people from another generation, quite a bit older than she is. This time however her assignment involves writing an obituary of her high school bully who died. The said person was Piper Ashford, who was the same age as Nell. Nell cannot believe someone of her age has passed away. She is confused about whether she should be happy or feel bad about losing someone from her childhood—a person who was barely in her 30s. Piper shows up as usual and starts acting all entitled, which is exactly how Nell expected her to be. Piper Ashford was also a social media influencer who died after accidentally falling off a cliff while taking a selfie. Nell’s one conversation with Piper leads her to conclude that she had not changed a bit from how she was during her school days; calling Nell names that stuck with her throughout her school days. The only solution Nell figures out to get rid of Piper is to write a very short obituary as if she did not even exist.

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She sends her writing to the editor only to be asked by Lexi to write a full front-page obituary for Piper Ashford, who was a known social media influencer. An apt obituary on the newspaper’s website will bring traffic from all the followers Piper had on her Instagram. Nell dreads rewriting the existing one into an elaborate one, but not before Piper starts bothering her about what Nell will be writing for her. Nell’s conflicting thought process is only natural. If Piper’s ghost had not been so self-involved, Nell would have written a perfect obituary for the changed person that she was before her untimely death. But since Piper has not changed a bit, Nell is forced to write for the betterment of her workplace and the person who owns it.

As Sam, Dennis, and Nell talk about their high school days, Nell reveals she wanted it to get over because she was constantly bullied by the person about whom she must write the obituary. On the other hand, Dennis and Sam claim to have had a better high school life, which they did not hate as much as Nell did. Dennis reveals to Sam that he never liked basketball as a game, and he notices a hoop has been placed in the office for people to enjoy playing light basketball during their break time or just to let off some steam. Sam wonders if there is any other way she can help Dennis find closure on his dislike for the most popular game in America. Dennis is frighteningly afraid of the game, which is popularized by the known jocks in the school.

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‘Not Dead Yet’ Episode 3: Ending Explained – Why Did Nell Let Go Of Her High School Bully?

Cricket visits Nell at work and brings along one thing Nell loves, which is a bottle of wine from Cricket’s wine bar. Nells talks about having to write a front-page obituary about her high school bully, who was a mean girl to her, which has put Nell in a bad mood since the news was dropped. Nell is getting all the jitters about how to begin to write good words about a person who has nothing but pure evil about her and has made her life miserable. She simply does not want to relive her high school days when Piper purposely made her life miserable, and she is currently doing the same. Nell cannot inform anyone that she can see ghosts of the said person; she is constantly harassed by Piper, and Nell is not able to keep her far away. Cricket helps find closure when she advises that mean girls themselves are the most insecure people around them, and to feel less insecure; they bully people around them to receive some sort of power validation. They feel good to see they have power over people they think are weaker than them. There is some truth in Cricket’s words. If only Nell could understand her insecurity too led Piper playing her ultimate power game and she is still doing the same to rattle Nell. 

Cricket’s words come across as something she does not relate to, and Piper keeps following her and making her relive the days in high school when Nell embarrassed herself while Piper kept being the mean girl to her during the freshman year speech. Her front-page obituary is proofread by Nell’s roommate Edwards, who believes her obituary is cold and dry, something he could relate to. Nell is finding it hard to write the perfect obituary for Piper because she is unable to put her past behind her and work on her plans. Nell is in for a rude shock when Lexi asks the intern Mason also to write an obituary for Piper, putting Nell in competition with Mason, who is just a newbie. Piper keeps hogging Nell’s time when she is forced to head to Piper’s memorial to receive inspiration.

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Dennis, on the other hand, tells a story of how he was traumatized as a young kid when he tried to play basketball but ended up hurting himself, which not only humiliated him but also made him feel embarrassed in front of his friends at the court, which made him lose interest in basketball. Sam makes sure to help Dennis get over his fear by asking him to practice in his office by fixing a hoop on the door. Thankfully, Dennis is finally able to make a basket. Sam comes across as a lovely friend who wants to help Dennis conquer his fear, which might help him on his path to becoming an actor. On the other hand, Cricket joins Nell at the memorial and wonders why no one is willing to speak about Piper on the stage. Nell realizes the people who showed up at her memorial are her followers and people who knew Piper never really showed up to talk about her passing. Nell feels bad and takes the stage to talk about Piper, fully aware of the past they share. Nell talks about the insecurity which people have in them brings out the worst in them or the good in them; in most cases it is always the worst in people. Piper probably didn’t have someone to tell her she was good enough, which led to her becoming an insecure person who bullied people. But we can only hope that Piper has found a voice in death, and now she is free from the varied insecurities that bothered her till the last day of her life on earth. Piper is moved by Nell’s words, and she is thankful that she has not publicly shamed her for being mean to Nell in school. This closure helps Nell write an obituary for Piper, which gets chosen over Mason’s obituary. Mason is a young boy who has a lot left to gain in terms of experience to be able to grab hold of front-page headline news.

Nell’s letting go of her past, in this case with her bully Piper, is her way of acknowledging the fact that what happened in the past is a result of insecurities they grew up on, and though Piper had not changed, Nell could be the better person here and take the high road. Dennis, too, learns to conquer his fear instead of letting it plague him for the rest of his life from here on.


What To Expect From Episode 4 Of ‘Not Dead Yet’?

In episode four of “Not Dead Yet,” we will probably see which ghost will now bother Nell further. It is interesting to notice ghosts of various races, religions, and identities find a calling when it comes to writing an obituary for them. Nells’ breakup with her boyfriend is also not discussed in detail; probably, this season will bring up this subject at some point.


Final Thoughts

“Not Dead Yet” Episode 3 lacked the humor it required to talk about a woman who was despicable in high school and during her adult life. Piper does not understand the privileged background from which she comes. All her interactions would depend on those who liked to see Piper’s beauty. The episode did focus on the insecurities that cause people to engage in bullying. Writers Dean and Todd Holland do not explore much when it comes to humor and building up on Nell’s characters and her relationship with her friends and colleagues. Looking to see more of that in the fourth episode.

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Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan is a cinema enthusiast, and a part time film blogger. An ex public relations executive, films has been a major part of her life since the day she watched The Godfather – Part 1. If you ask her, cinema is reality. Cinema is an escape route. Cinema is time traveling. Cinema is entertainment. Smriti enjoys reading about cinema, she loves to know about cinema and finding out trivia of films and television shows, and from time to time indulges in fan theories.

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