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Headscratchers: Dead Like Me
  • Do the Gravelings work "with" other departments? Like in the jurisdiction of the plague guys, do (did) they or some sort of "plaguelings" make lethal contagion happen?
    • Probably. It's not really working with the Reapers though; more like the Reaper departments are set up to counter Graveling activity.
    • If they were trying to "counter" it, why wouldn't they be stopping deaths?
      • "Counter" was a poor choice of words on the part of the previous troper. What s/he intended to say is that if gravelings are specialized, Reapers are in the same way and probably because of it.
  • What happens if a reaper soulpops a human who isn't going to die for a while, like a week, or a couple of years, or sixty years?
    • We see this in one episode where Roxy is gives someone a parking ticket and he begins to hassle her. She's had enough for the day and pulls his soul out to yell at him. She then finds him making a shrine to her and believing that she is some kind of god. Basically, messing with souls before you should is a big no no! Rube wasn't happy.
      • It's also worth pointing out that she stuck him back in his body before he started building the shrine.
      • Exactly. As far as it can be seen, he changed like that because he had an out-of-body experience, not because he was soulpopped. Remember, all it took was a Groin Attack to bring him back to his old, Jerkass self. Usually the reapers just disconnect the soul but leave it in the body, she actually pulled his soul out before putting it back, which would surely cause some epiphany or trauma.
      • Soul-popping "dislodges" the soul from the body and makes it so the person's death is painless and doesn't leave soul-scars. Once the soul is popped, it's preserved in that form forever. A person who walks around with a popped soul wouldn't be able to feel pain, or grow, or change in any significant spiritual way.
  • Were we actually supposed to be impressed with George when she told that guy that a crab wasn't an animal? Her sarcastic "Okay, a warm-blooded, furry crab..." line only made things worse, since that scene's written like it's to show off how much smarter she is than him, but in reality it just shows that she (and the writers) fail biology forever.
    • For a long time, animal was synonymous with mammal. My grandparents always thought of it that way. The scene would've worked better about fifty years ago, sure, but it's not like it's totally unreasonable.
    • I just thought that she was trying to be a jerk, actual fact be damned.
    • Same here. She was just trying to derail the exercise with a technicality (real or imagined).
    • Best to keep in mind that George is still a teenage grumpy dead Jerk Ass who's only recently started taken steps into niceness.
  • In the pilot, what sort of firefighter slams repeatedly on a stuck revolving door instead of looking to see what is stopping it from moving?
  • What was Crystal's deal? Was she actually a reaper too? She certainly seemed to know that something was going on. The waitress in Der Waffle Haus also seemed in on it all.
    • I always thought they were in on it, but not reapers themselves. Remember, if they were reapers they'd appear differently to the outside world—although, seeing as the show is from George's point of view, there's no evidence that's not the case.
    • Actually, in one of the episodes in the second season it is revealed that Crystal used to be special forces operative in Southeast Asia before she joined Happy Time. This is mostly played as a joke, but it does explain her behavior a bit. She knows more that she lets on but she seems comfortable in her role as a silent observer.
  • Okay, the Gravelings get the day off. Accidents stop happening. Makes sense, at least to a degree—people can't make their own mistakes? In any case, the reapers take the day off. Now, here's the thing: even assuming the Gravelings cause every stupid deadly incident, Rube's division is still "External Influences", which also deals with murders and suicides. So, if the reapers take the day off...that would mean that anyone who is killed or commits suicide within the area is trapped within their own bodies, subjected to experiencing their own autopsies, the whole drill, because the reapers don't take their souls for that one day. Does that bug anyone else? The montage of near-death experiences seems to say that death just doesn't happen, which doesn't make sense: the Gravelings cause accidents, but have nothing to do with murders and suicides. So the Gravelings taking the day off shouldn't change anything there. Moreover, the idea that someone can't slip on an ice cube and hit their head and die (or something) without a Graveling positioning the ice cube first seems pretty stupid.
    • It seemed to me that you just can't die without a Graveling. I mean, there's always one there, even if it's a murder/suicide and they don't have to actually do anything. So, Gravelings take a day off, nobody dies from External Influence on that day. Even if they really should die, they somehow survive, at least until the clock hits midnight and the Gravelings go back to work.
      • Pretty much hit the nail on the head. Jump off a building? You'd just land in such a way that doesn't kill you. Try to shoot yourself in the head? Gun jams. The show seems to imply that a lot of people just escape death.
    • Gravelings arrange the accidents ("drop the pianos"), sure. But humans can kill one another (or themselves) just fine without their help. But if there's a day where, by pure coincidence, nobody is murdered, commits suicide, or dies in an accident—in the Seattle area, at least, then by definition the Gravelings, like the Reapers, will have the day off.
      • This. Don't forget that the Celestial Bureaucracy (and, by extension, Rube) knows about all the scheduled deaths in advance, so if there would ever come such a day during which no "External Influences" deaths would happen (either by coincidence or direct influence), it would only make sense that the Reapers would get a day off.
    • There are no murders or suicides reaped in the series, the closest was the accidental overdose of the old rocker that Mason was a fan of. I think murders/suicides are a separate department because they are not accidental.
      • The first episode explicitly states that murders and suicides fall under "external influence." And we do see a couple of murders (Mason with the two crackheads in tow in the pilot; George's rockstar reap in Season 2), and though we're never actually shown a suicide (James the speed dater comes close), the Reapers have discussed them from time to time.
      • don't forget the gay couple in Season 1 also.
      • As well as the guy who jumped slipped off the roof of the speed-dating place. And what about that poor mistress who got murdered? Accidents may be the most common, but there's been no shortage of murders and suicides. And it's explicitly stated that the Club takes care of those. So unless Gravelings do just have to be around when someone dies, my point stands. (The coincidence thing makes no sense. People are shown to be surviving fatal accidents on the Gravelings' day off. Not to mention that, again, those accidents still should've been fatal even if the Gravelings didn't cause them.)
      • In "In Escrow", the same episode where Mason reaps the old rockstar guy, at the end, there's a guy who shoots twelve people and himself. Also, Roxy was murdered, and Mason sort of committed suicide. (I'm not far enough in the series to know how Rube died.)
  • The Reapers look different than when they were alive to living people. This is how they can operate in their home towns without freaking out people they once knew. This allows George to interact with her family in Season 1 without them recognizing her. This idea is a recurring theme throughout the show. In Season 2 Rube goes to look up some information on his family, and the archivist who is helping him accidentally finds an old wanted poster with Rube's face on it. He comments how the man in the picture looks exactly like Rube. This doesn't seem right because Rube would look differently to him on account of being a Reaper. The archivist kid should not be able to recognize him from the picture.
    • Current Fanon says that the different appearance would be unnecessary after eighty-some-odd years of death, and therefore everyone sees Rube as he is.
    • My personal fanon has it that the different appearance only actually appears to those who would recognize them, and all of the contradictions that might create are resolved by magic.
      • I thought maybe the above, plus they're similar enough that someone who sees them one way would describe them in the same general terms as someone who sees them the other way. You have to ignore the fact that Millie and un-Mason's hair colours are different from George and Mason's for that to work, but whatever. And in the event that two people who see a reaper differently have to paint them or describe them to a police sketch artist, well yeah...magic.
  • Pet Reapers - what is the deal with them? Does it mean that all living things have Reapers? Or only human pets do (supposedly so that they can join their masters in the afterlife)?
    • I assumed, at the very least, that all animals had reapers. We just never saw any wild animal reapers (who would actually have to be pretty badass if dealing with bears & such).
    • Here's another interesting question: So we can assume that animals have souls if they can be reaped. So can an animal become a reaper itself? Like, is that what the entire "Wildlife" division of reapers is made of? And is that why bats always fly into peoples hair in the movies? They're actually reapers claiming their soul before they get axe-murdered?
    • For that matter, what's Charlie's deal? Why does a human reap animals? If animals can't be reapers, how does Charlie get his Lights? If they can, why is Charlie the pet reaper?
      • He gets his lights when he reaps enough animals.
      • Maybe Charlie used to be an animal, but was given human form when he became a reaper?
    • I would assume that a human does pets, because that's less out of place. For example, if a dog came up and touched your guinea pig in, say, a vet office, then it'd be pretty weird, right? But if a kid asks to pet it, then it's normal.
    • They call him the pet reaper. Maybe he only reaps pets, and does it so that people can be with their pets after they move on.
    • I think Pet Reapers are children who died and became reapers. Doing a normal reaper's job would be too traumatic, so they reap pets instead.
    • Would an animal really understand what was going on enough to reap another animal? and most animals don't have names, so how do people in the wild animal division find the right ones? there's also the fridge horror of how much time pet reapers spend in sewers trying to find dead fish when they can't get the the pet in time. (they're seeing a dirty kid, at worst that's a call to social services)
    • Who reaped the bear at the gas station?
      • All of the animals reaped in the show were pets. The bunny in the vet clinic where Murray went, the komodo dragon at the school, and of course JD. These animals were loved by their owners, so it may be that love itself imbues an entity with a soul and therefore deserving of a peaceful transition to the afterlife. The bear was a wild animal on display as a roadside attraction, not a beloved pet, hence no reap.
  • When Mason kills Ray, his soul becomes a Graveling. Does this mean all Gravelings are souls of people who died ahead of the schedule? Later Ray-the-Graveling causes an unscheduled death to happen on Dasie's watch. I was pretty sure that extra death will also spawn a Graveling but that didn't happen - so probably only souls murdered by Reapers turn into Gravelings. Finally George is able to reap Ray, upon which he turns to dust. Does it mean Ray's soul was annihilated and denied afterlife? Also, could George possibly reap other Gravelings? Or was she only able to do it to Ray because he was created unnaturally? I'm guessing some of these questions would be answered if the show was not canceled.
    • I sort of thought that Ray's murder (and un-scheduled death) creating the graveling, and this is basically how Gravelings happen (So the very first Graveling would be Abel, heh). I also thought that maybe part of the rule on Reaping was sort of like serving someone papers - you have to have a name for it to work properly. So Georgie can reap the graveling Ray because she knows who it is, but all those other Gravelings are now unknown and can't be reaped. If the show had gone further, that's the way I'd have taken it.
    • I think that there was something uniquely wrong with the Ray-Graveling. I don't think Gravelings were ever human, and that this is a case of Came Back Wrong.
      • It's possible that Gravelings are what happens to souls that rot in their bodies. Rube says in the pilot, after George tells him the little girl could have another eighty years, that those are eighty years she doesn't want. Souls go bad when they're trapped inside a body— maybe Gravelings are people who don't get an appointment? Ray was always going to be a Graveling, Mason just happened to be the one to free him from the meat bag.
    • WMG combined with a 'scratcher from up the page: If a Reaper causes a soul to depart the body (like what would happen if someone is killed by a reaper or reaped too long before their scheduled death) and doesn't put it back, they "corrupt" and become a graveling.
  • Un-Mason looks at least forty, doesn't he? He's got grey hair. So why is it that Mason talks about answering a casting call which asked for a twenty-something guy?
    • Forty? He looks almost too young to be 30.
      • Un-Mason. You know, what he looks like to mortals. Plain old ordinary Mason, of course, appears to be in his twenties. However, when we were shown what he looks like to mortals, that person had greyish hair. As it's certainly not a casting call for the purposes of Reaper advertisements made with special Reaper cameras that would show what Reapers look like to Reapers, and thus should-still-get-carded ordinary Mason as played by Callum Blue, but rather a mortal advertisement for someone who will look like a twentysomething to mortals, why the hell does Mason think he's qualified for that when he looks grey-haired and middle-aged to mortals?... oh, all right, my eyes are playing tricks on me, here's a screencap. House much? Anyway, not so much with the grey hair, but he does appear to be in his thirties, and distinctly older than normal Mason. But it definitely makes it more of a case of Mason being a bit of a dingbat than flat-out Too Dumb to Live and forgetting his own Mr. Exposition spiel.
      • Someone told me that the person doing it in the second season didn't like the "Un"-characters, and so they dropped them. Not sure how reliable it is, but that could explain it.
      • That would explain why the guy helping Rube find his family's records said that the sketch of Rube on the Wanted poster looked just like him. They had to have either dropped the idea or forgotten about it.
      • To Mason, Mason looks like himself. It can be difficult to remember that you don't look like you. To me it would only be a problem if Mason actually GOT the modeling job.
      • I'd have thought the others would have pointed out to him that Un-Mason looks older, but maybe, given few opportunities to see Un-Mason, they've never noticed. Alternately, it could be that they've given up on correcting the stupid things Mason says unless they're particularly egregious.
  • If a person didn't get Soulpopped until just after they died (see: Roxy's piano mark in the first episode), and they were the last person to fill their Reaper's quota, would they keep their injuries after becoming undead and changing their appearance (for keeping injuries, see: activist who was mauled by the bear), would they heal it as soon as they were undead instead of just dead, would their changing appearance make it go away (if only to non-Reaper observers), or would they keep it even with their new appearance? Might Roxy even be sabotaging her chances at getting her Lights, if there is a safety mechanism that means you can't replace your Reaper unless you were soulpopped before death, to avoid such a conundrum?
  • We know there are consequences. We've seen them happen! Roxy has seen them happen, and cussed out the powers that be when they tried to drop a sign on her for breaking them! George is incapable of trying to relate to her family that she is her, because she'll lose her memories of it as she tries. Why do none of these consequences occur in The Movie? The only consequence was the fat guy getting killed later anyway. Did Rube actually make the rules, instead of just relating them to the others from previous reapers that figured things out or whoever was in charge upstairs?
    • I never took it that Georgia would actually lose her memories, though I've seen it taken that way by lots of people. I just thought she was too nervous to speak to Joy, and the talk about her memories was figurative. But YMMV.
      • I thought that losing her memories was part of being a grim reaper, since (in the series) the first thing Rube asks Georgia when she tells him about that is if she lost any memories. Personally, I think The Movie just drops that thing from the canon so the movie can happen.
      • I took that as a metaphor on Rube's part, not an actual part of the mythology.
      • My interpretation was that, yes, trying to share a memory with a surviving friend or relative meant you lost the memory. The more you try, the more you lose. Cruel, but effective.
  • I only just realized what bugged me about the scene, but why could Mason and Daisy clearly see Ray's graveling, like George can, without following it out of the corners of their eyes? Could they even see it, or was I imagining things?
    • It may be that it takes practice to notice the visuals clues that indicate the presence of a Graveling. George, as a brand new reaper, doesn't quite have it, but as she gets more experienced she's able to view them with no problems.
    • It seems like (possibly in discontinuity from the pilot) you won't find a Graveling by looking for it, but once you've spotted them, you can watch them normally.
  • How does one become a Pet Reaper? Normal, people reapers just replace the reaper before them that's filled their quota, but since pet reapers are reaping animals, how do they get replaced?
    • I think that what happens is that all child Reapers end up getting automatically transferred to the Animals division instead of whatever division the Reaper that popped their soul was from.
      • Whether or not it is an automatic transfer, it is most definitely a transfer. Charlie claims he was killed in a car accident, which would normally peg him as an External Influences reaper. It would be similar to Penny, the nurse reaper who works Natural Causes but originally worked with Rube in External Influences.
  • Ok, in The Movie, what exactly was Cameron's big, evil plan? There seemed to be a major lack of explanation for what was going on.
    • Use reaper powers for fun and profit. Rinse and repeat. That was evil enough right there when you consider even minor inattentiveness on the part of a reaper can cause horrible things to happen to the people who aren't properly reaped. Now, how to use reaper powers for fun and profit? ... I have no idea.
  • Also pertaining to the movie, why didn't they trying try soulpopping Cameron? George did it to Ray's graveling form and destroyed it, why not try it on a reaper?
    • I'm guessing soulpopping a reaper doesn't negate their regeneration, so his soul could just keep migrating back to his body.
  • When Betty was originally reaped, she recognized Rube as being the friend of the guy who groped/popped her (who wasn't there because he had gotten his lights). But she'd only seen him as a living person and now was seeing him as a dead person, so how does she recognize him? Does Rube not look different to the living?
    • It could be that, since she was destined to become a reaper anyway, she could see Rube for what he looked like, even when she was alive.
    • Or because she was close to death; Rube's daughter Rosie seemed to recognize him in her final moments.
  • Roxy not helping Mason at the rock concert. She's going to let someone be killed violently, autopsied and buried with their soul still in them just because she's pissed at Mason? Sure, the chick turned out to be a murderer, but Roxy didn't know that!
    • Mason's been in the reaper business longer than she has, he should be able to do this stuff by himself by now, even if he can't, he should. Plus, she's pissed off at him and has a gun.
  • Why do the Gravelings look so malevolent, and why are they shown as being antagonistic to the Reapers? Aren't they all on the same team? Don't they serve a vital function? I know, I know, books and covers and all that, but unless anvils are being dropped, demonic appearance is almost always shorthand for "evil," at least as far as TV is concerned.
    • The Gravelings are just douchebags. It's that simple. They probably would still kill people even if it wasn't their job.
    • Consider how the Ray Graveling came to be. If Gravelings are the transformed souls of people killed by Grim Reapers, it seems reasonable they'd hold a grudge. They might have a job to do, but that doesn't mean they have to like their co-workers for having put them into that position. Also possible they weren't very nice people even when they were alive.
    • This troper's initial theory was that gravelings were demoted reapers. Screw up enough times and you lose your reaper stripes. If they're already screw-ups or they don't follow orders or whatever, and then you turn them into ugly little gremlins, they're gonna be pretty pissed off. Of course, you'd still have to keep them doing their jobs, so maybe they'd have to threaten them with a further demotion cleaning toilets in hell or something. Obviously Ray doesn't fit into that theory, unless he was secretly a reaper...?
  • Why does removing the soul actually mean? The person is still conscious after they do it, and their ghost selves only appear after they've died. So what is a "Soul" in the DLM Universe?
    • I kind of saw it this way. The soul being "popped" doesn't take into effect until the person actually dies. So the soul leaves once the person dies, but it can't leave without getting popped.
      • I think this is exactly what happens. When "The Kid" asks Daisy if he's dead, she says "No, but you're down for the count." Since she popped his soul, the killing blow forced his soul out of his body, even though his body may not have been fully dead (although there would probably be no higher brain function).
  • Does Mason have a last name? Actually, is "Mason" his first or his last name? I can't help thinking that he's probably forgot the other one.
    • He does, but it's the same as Ned's.
    • "Mason" is his last name. In the episode where he challenges Ray to a boxing match, he tries to psych himself up by "announcing" himself under his breath as "Ken Mason." So, Kenneth Mason it is.
      • Netflix's subtitles say it was "Kid Mason." Just throwing it out there.
  • If you're soulpopped after you die, you retain your injuries. So why does the piano lady in the pilot not come out looking all broken and smashed?
    • I'd say chalk it up to being something they added in after the pilot got passed, since that particular rule didn't get mentioned until a few episodes later.
  • Why would the world knowing about Reapers be a problem? Rube implies that terrible things would happen if the world suddenly became aware of life after death. Except that most people on Earth already believe that! Sure there's no consensus on the details, but most people do believe that the soul lives on after the body dies. So how would having proof of this belief change anything?
    • People do believe in souls and life after death, sure, but imagine if you knew that there were people who knew when you were going to die and it was their job to show up and collect your soul. How would you feel about leaving your house or interacting with anyone, ever? You'd freak out, and that would be bad for you in the long run anyway. So it's just for everyone's sakes. The Reapers' job is made easier, and people don't have to be tortured by their soul not getting collected.
  • Why do the other reapers get so irritated with George for resisting in the duties she has been assigned? From the first reap she shows that she will try to avoid doing what has to be done, she doesn't want to bring anyone toward death, and will try to find ways out of it. Why don't they realize that this will be a persistent problem? Surely there have been Reapers in the past with similar attitudes. Yet any time she fails to do the reap, they get all angry at her for whatever new consequences are being shown. They could have saved a lot of trouble by sitting her down at the beginning and explaining why it is important that she does the reap, what happens in the various scenarios where a reap doesn't occur, and the experience of the souls that are left inside the bodies for whatever reason. Instead they just tell her, "you have to do it, it's your job". Like she's just supposed to assume that a little girl's soul will rot inside her if it's not pulled on time, or that a soul can be trapped inside the body after death, or that interfering with a human's appointment can result in dozens of others dying. It really bothers me that they act like George is just a selfish moron when not once have they told her what will happen, something that should be standard procedure since this is all supernatural activity that humans are kept in the dark about.
  • When George gets the VIPR (Very Important Person Reap) of the rock star, Mason loses his shit. He goes on and on about how he wants to reap a rock star, but just an episode or two prior, he reaped one of his musical heroes, albeit one who was not at the top of his game any more. If it had been written as Mason just being selfish, it could have been funny, but it comes across too much as Canon Discontinuity by not recalling previous events. "I want another" instead of "I have never had one" would have worked.
    • It wasn't so much wanting to reap a rock star as wanting to get a VIPR. And remember, the episode with the down-and-out guitarist was pretty tragic for Mason, I doubt he counted it.
    • He also mentioned he reaped Brian Jones. You could say he was lying, but that would only be speculation.
  • The movie raises even more questions about the already headscratchy idea that reapers have to touch a person to remove their soul as well as what kind of physical punishment reapers can shake off because they're undead. The movie tells us that a reaper can be burned to "death", but think about it. Kane was in one of the towers on 9/11. Either one reaper had to go through the buildings and the surrounding area and one by one establish the identity of every victim and then touch them, or dozens or hundreds of reapers were given a few names each. Then there's the issue of what happens to a reaper directly exposed to the blast. If it was one reaper, it's a good thing Kane was his last reap. If not, the world is going to be short a bunch of reapers while the ones who weren't in the eye of the blast will miraculously heal. Your scalp gets bloody from scratching when you realise that this is what must happen whenever there's a terrorist attack, mass murder, war or whatever. And what about people who die without having been near another person in years? What about people who die climbing Mount Everest?
    • The answer has been shown in series somewhat, there's the bus full of a sport team / Fans that Roxie and Mason go through highfiving and cheering with before they hop out the back. it's plausible that in Kane's case teams of reapers came through the building before hand (a tour group? business men? smokers similar to the mass shooting episode.) keep in mind the towers were a busy spot before the attack happened. for plot convienience the reapers could have come through an hour or so before... otherwise MST3K Mantra time?
    • It's established in one of the episodes that Reapers do get temporarily transferred to other regions or departments when a mass casualty event is about to occur. One episode has George left to work the team's cases solo while they're reassigned to help deal with an impending plane crash. War reaping is probably the biggest, most heavily-staffed department there is.

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