Spoilers ahead for Santa Clarita Diet Season 2. Now that Santa Clarita Diet Season 2 has hit Netflix, fans already have so many questions about exactly how the virus works that turned Sheila (and now, we know, a few others) into a zombie. Yeah, it started with the clams, but there's obviously more to it than that. Question number one: What's the red ball in Santa Clarita Diet? And what does it have to do with the undead?
Unfortunately, this is a question fans have had since the end of Season 1, and Season 2 hasn't given us too many answers. Obviously, the red ball came out of Sheila when she threw up in the first episode, so it has to be important where this illness is concerned. And now, it continues to play a role in this season, too, even if it's not quite clear yet what it could mean.
Now, though, we do know a few details that can help solve the mystery. The red ball is the common thread that connects the undead — everyone who's been infected has coughed up their own. There's something about it that has to directly connected to this virus causing people to die and come back to life, but what is it?
We also know that the red ball may or may not be alive. Although Sheila's ball hasn't changed since she's kept it in the freezer all this time, that's not the case if you leave it out and exposed to room temperature air. Both Ramona and Ed Thune's red balls grew spider-like legs and are able to move around, like Ramona's did in the cage and Ed's did in his house. It's definitely not an inanimate object — it truly seems like it's alive.
It's hard to tell exactly what it is, or what allows it to grow and continue thriving outside of the body once a zombie vomits it out. For it to live independently of its host's body, you'd almost assume that it also doesn't need any people or care to continue existing. It may have come directly from the clams, or it may be something that forms when eating the clams creates the right circumstances for it to grow. And now that we know it grows legs, what else can it do? After all, it's only been a few weeks since Sheila first contracted the virus, so these red balls haven't been around long enough for viewers to truly know what they're capable of.
It's also interesting to think about what it could mean for Sheila that she chose to keep her red ball in the cold, keeping it from growing legs like Ramona's and Ed's did. Is that going to save her, or is that going to be something she ends up regretting?
There's also a chance it could be an organ that develops when someone is infected with the virus, or it could be a part of her that she's lost that causes her to crave human flesh and lose all her inhibitions. What would happen if Sheila decided to swallow the ball again? Would it go back to wherever it came from and cure her? It's a disgusting thought, but it could work. And at this point, it seems like the Hammonds are up for trying anything to keep all of this under control.
The only way we'll get the real answer to the deal with the red ball is in future episodes (as long as Netflix renews the show for a third season, of course). But figuring out exactly what the red ball is and why every single zombie has one could be the key to figuring out how to reverse the disease. And if not, well, it does make a kind of cute pet.