Viewers no longer have to wait.
In a unexpected twist, it was a sitcom that delivered one of the most buzzed-about deaths of the season, with Kevin Can Wait finally revealing how Donna (Erinn Hayes) died in the season two premiere on Monday night. Except JK, the show never revealed how the Gable family matriarch passed away. For real.
Instead, the season two premiered picked up “over a year” after the death of Donna, with Kevin running the household, sporting a beard that made him look like “Pavorotti.” As for how it was revealed to viewers that Donna had died, Kevin grew upset when he received another postcard from his wife’s gym saying they missed her. “So do I,” he said…before asking his daughter not to throw out the coupon for the free kung fu lesson.
That was it.
Oh, and there was a mention of Donna toward the end of the episode, just before Kendra’s wedding to Chale, who will be deported if they don’t get hitched. “We’re just missing one thing,” Kevin said, with I know. I wish Mom was here, too.” Kevin then said, “She’d be very proud of you.”
There to support Kevin and Kendra throughout the episode, including helping Kendra with her wedding planning? Leah Remini‘s Vanessa, with James’ former King of Queens‘ co-star joining the show as a series regular.
Kevin James‘ CBS sitcom made headlines over the summer when it was revealed Erinn Hayes would be written off the show, and it made headlines again when the network revealed Hayes’ Donna, Kevin’s wife on the show, would not just be exiting the show, but the character would be killed off.
Executive producer Rob Long told TV Line ahead of the premiere that Donna’s death would drive Kevin’s storyline in a major way in the new season. “The goal was to give Kevin’s character a real drive and a real predicament [involving] how a family comes back together [after tragedy],” Long said. “Also, out of respect for the character of Donna—and certainly the way that Erinn Hayes portrayed her—it seemed like the only right and fair way to treat her character.”
While Hayes has yet to sound off on Donna’s demise, after news of her exit broke, she tweeted, “True, I’ve been let go from the show. Very sad, I had a great experience season 1. Thank you for all the support from our wonderful fans.”
What did you think of Kevin Can Wait‘s premiere? Were you surprised by how quickly the show moved on? Sound off in the comments!
Kevin Can Wait airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on CBS.