Nope, you weren't going crazy this season of The Conners: Beverly was truly MIA until the most recent episode. Her absence was so notable, people truly wondered if either Beverly died off-screen somehow, or if something had happened to the actress who plays her, Estelle Parsons. Her "disappearance" actually has everything to do with COVID-19 safety restrictions and not Beverly the character.
Did Beverly die on 'The Connors'?
Fans were maybe especially nervous about Beverly, since Estelle Parsons is 93 years old. To see a character's abrupt disappearance from a show can be worrisome, but her absence can easily be explained: Due to her age group, she wasn't on the set of The Connors because of COVID-19 safety restrictions.
According to TVLine, "Given that [at the time] 92-year-old Estelle Parsons falls into a COVID high-risk group, don’t expect to see emotional terrorist Beverly pop in anytime soon." Showrunner Bruce Helford stated, “We’re worried about putting her on an airplane or having her exposed to anything. We hope to have her toward the end of the season.” Which is precisely what happened. She very briefly reappeared in the episode, "Jeopardé, Sobrieté, and Infidelité," which aired May 12.
Estelle is also listed as a "guest" in the episode, and her presence didn't really help move the needle, as the episode was more about Darlene's decision about Hawaii, and an awkwardly intense conversation with Barb.
While The Connors has been renewed for Season 4, per Deadline, we actually don't know if Estelle will be returning as Beverly. It's been confirmed that the main cast members, Sara Gilbert, John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf and Lecy Goranson, will be returning. But there's no confirmation on Estelle's status. And that points to a good question: Does The Connors need Beverly? We've lasted this long without her, and the Season 3 finale of the show airs tonight. How essential is this character?
CinemaBlend made a good point, claiming that maybe too much of a rude, negative parent is played out:
"So much of the 'just like my family' charm of Roseanne and The Conners has relied on sarcastic quips, in-family insults and general insolence, but I think the somewhat limited use of Estelle Parsons as Beverly Harris has proven that at this point in time, watching a rude and sh**ty mother be rude and sh**ty just isn't all that fun anymore. And while it'll technically never get old watching a pro like Candice Bergan rule the roost with iron-thumb efficiency, it's not very enjoyable to see her bitchily Barb-splaining Ben's selfish actions and defending them as being selfless."
It's possible Season 4 of The Conners will pivot away from the toxic dynamic between parent and child. Or would it really be The Conners without the family dysfunction?
Watch the Season 3 finale of The Connors tonight at 9 p.m. EST on ABC.