Netflix’s After Life: why this supporting character is so important right now

Posted by for Life

Here’s why Ashley Jensen’s character, Emma, might be the most important character in Netflix’s After Life. *Spoilers ahead*

After Life is the Marmite Netflix series that is nearly as divisive as its creator, Ricky Gervais. The black comedy follows the story of Tony (Gervais) who is grieving after the death of his wife Lisa. At first, he copes by being cruel to others and self-destructive. But he very slowly begins to find hope again as the series continues. Many fans consider it a surprisingly heart-warming exploration of grief and loss, while other people – including the critics – just don’t find it very funny.

If you’re in the former camp, you’ve probably already binged the second series, which dropped last month. The theme of death is a particularly poignant and potentially difficult watch during this time. But it does also offer plenty of comfort with characters who show unexpected acts kindness, empathy, support, friendship and laughter. It proves there is always hope to be found.

One supporting character whose role is particularly poignant right now is Emma (Ashley Jensen). 

Afterlife on Netflix
Afterlife: Ashley Jenseon plays nursing home carer Emma.

Emma is the carer who looks after Tony’s dad in a nursing home. Andy goes to visit his dad every day and starts to form a friendship with Emma. When Tony’s father dies in the second series, Emma is the one who calls him to share the sad news. When Tony arrives at the nursing home to say goodbye, she holds his hand, talks him through what happens next, and sits with him while they laugh and smile about what kind of lovely man his father was.

At a time when care homes are in everybody’s thoughts, it’s a reminder of the carers who are looking after the most vulnerable people in this pandemic. While people can’t visit elderly relatives because of coronavirus, these are the key workers who are doing everything they can to keep them safe. That is what they’ve always done, after all.

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Images: Netflix

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Hollie Richardson

Hollie is a digital writer at Stylist.co.uk, mainly covering the daily news on women’s issues, politics, celebrities and entertainment. She also keeps an ear out for the best podcast episodes to share with readers. Oh, and don’t even get her started on Outlander…