Spoilers ahead for Santa Clarita Diet Season 3. As shown in the official trailer, Joel maybe-becoming a zombie in Santa Clarita Diet is a core part of Season 3. This may be a show about zombies and eating people, but it's also at its core about relationships. So it was only a matter of time before Sheila asked Joel to become undead and spend eternity with her.
"When you say 'I do' to someone it says forever, eternity ... But what if eternity was stretched out far longer, then what is that discussion?" Drew Barrymore, who plays Sheila, said in an interview with Good Morning America. Season 3 seeks to answer that very question.
When Sheila first asks Joel to become undead with her, it's at a salad restaurant right after she realizes that — barring a stake through her brain — she's going to live forever. And she'd like to do so with Joel. "Will you take this woman to be your wife for the next thousand years or so?" she asks.
Joel is extremely hesitant. For one, he'd have to give up regular food (which he really loves, as evidenced by his salad piled high with cheese and bacon). Secondly, Joel has always been squeamish about the flesh-eating, man-killing parts of Sheila's life as a zombie. He helps her kill humans to eat because he loves her, but you can tell he's grossed out by all of it — and Sheila notices. "So my world disgusts you?" she asks at one point in Season 3. Joel, ever the jokester, deflects the question. "Can we acknowledge it's weird?" he laughs.
Joel is obviously uncomfortable with the idea of being bitten by Sheila, and the fact that she keeps pressuring him to make up his mind isn't helping him decide any faster. "I don't know how I'd live without you," she guilts him in one episode. Joel answers, "It's not that I don't want to be with you, it's about what I might become. Once I make that decision, I can never go back." Joel knows that becoming undead can completely change your personality, and he is afraid of what he might be like once his "id" is unleashed. Sheila went from a meek housewife to a sex-crazed power player overnight. What would happen to overthinking, nervous Joel?
It's interesting, too, that Sheila thinks they need to make that decision now. She may technically be immortal, but the threat of death is looming all the time. So many people want her dead, and she comes close to getting spiked through the head nearly every episode. She may not actually live long enough for Joel to need to become a zombie at all. But, rational thinking aside, Joel eventually comes to a decision by the finale.
After a brush with death (again) Joel and Sheila reverse their positions on the matter. For her part, Sheila has decided she actually doesn't want or need Joel to be undead with her. "The end will always come horribly for the undead. We don't get to die peacefully in our sleep or surrounded by loved ones," she tells him. "For us, the end will always be violent, merciless ... I don't want that for you. I want you to live a normal life and die in my arms."
But Joel's changed his mind by then too. "Becoming undead does scare me, but when I thought I was going to die, what scared me most was that I'd never see you again," he says. "We can wait until Abby goes to college or whatever, but after today I never want to live or die without you ... Sheila Hammond will you take this man to be your husband for the next thousand years or so?"
It would have been super romantic if what came next wasn't Sheila's Mr. Ball Legs climbing into Joel's ear and killing him. She then had to bite him to bring him back to life — so Joel's undead life is going to begin a little sooner than he thought. But Joel had assured Sheila moments before, "I love you. That's all that matters ... as long as we're together, I can handle whatever comes my way." Now he gets to put that promise to the test.
And he'll likely come through, because this couple is built to last, according what show creator Victor Fresco told Entertainment Weekly. "Sheila and Joel’s relationship is strong at the core," Fresco said when the show first came out. "If there’s enough love at the core of a relationship, it can survive anything."
They've already dealt with Sheila becoming undead; Joel's zombification should be easy to navigate at this point. So as long as they have each other, they can handle anything this crazy Santa Clarita Diet world throws at them.