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TV-Series Review: The End of the F***ing World Season 2 (2019)

added 10 jun 2020
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The End of the F***ing World Season 2 (2019)

Brought down a peg

(this review contains spoilers)

We pick up a couple of years after where season 1 left off. Alyssa has moved to Wales and is marrying her new boyfriend Todd. James spent a long while in hospital recovering from the gunshot wound he sustained at the end of season 1 and is now stalking Alyssa. A new character, Bonnie, is plotting to kill them both as revenge for James' murder of her lover - the famous philosopher from season 1.

I found this season much less exciting than season 1, for 3 closely related reasons:

  1. Adult responsibilities. In season 1 James and Alyssa were not yet adults, but in season 2 they are. I was expecting that as adults their lives would be more exciting - after all they should now be free to go wherever they like, live with whoever they want, and generally pursue their dreams. But it turns out that adulthood also comes with new responsibilities, and completely ditching these seems to be too costly for them. One of the best things about season 1 was that they were kids playing at adulthood - they got all the benefits of being adults, but none of the costs. Stealing a car was fun and illegal - now they could go wherever they liked - but as kids they were given leniency when they were caught. They also had no jobs to be fired from if they did not show up. In season 2 most of that youthful abandon is gone - replaced with lots of sighing and going to work.

  2. Their slightly downcast attitude. In season 1 James and Alyssa clearly felt empowered, but in season 2 their mood is subdued. They have been caught and punished for the crimes they committed in season 1; and while they do try to emerge defiant from this process, it is clear that their spirits have been somewhat dampened. This comes across partly from their body language and partly from things they say during the flashback voiceovers in episode 2. James describes his physical rehabilitation in hospital by saying, "I felt like I was being punished. And maybe I deserved it." And Alyssa, who is always quick to describe anything she finds even mildly distasteful as "SHIT!" merely comments that her community service "wasn't as bad as going back to school."

  3. From predators to prey. In season 1 they were masters of their own destiny - roaming the country, breaking into houses and stealing whatever they wanted. Not only is there none of this behaviour in season 2, but now they are being actively hunted by Bonnie who intends to murder them both.

In summary, the relationship our protagonists had with power in season 1 has been inverted in season 2, and it's just not so much fun to watch.

added 10 jun 2020
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