Season 2, Like Its Characters: A bloody good mess
“The End of the F***ing World” took the world by storm when its first season hit Netflix in early 2018. The second season premiered on the streaming site on Nov. 5 and fans will be delighted to see what happens next with Alyssa and James after the events of the first season.
Forewarning, reading past this point will contain spoilers for both the first and second seasons of this show.
The first season of “The End of the F***ing World” ended on a huge cliffhanger which, honestly, would have been a great ending to the show. The chemistry between Jessica Barden and Alex Lawther on screen as Alyssa and James, respectively, was part of the reason why the show blew up in the first place. When the first season ends with James running away from the police in an effort to protect Alyssa, the screen cuts to black and a gunshot rings out. This vague ending left viewers wondering whether or not James was killed and what happened to Alyssa as a result.
While the first season had Alyssa and James running away from their physical problems, like their family or the police, the second season has them running away from their own mental trauma.
Taking place two years after the events of the first season, Alyssa is struggling with processing what happened in the first season after nearly being raped by the sadistic professor Clive Koch and the fact that James nearly died and disappeared for two years. James, on the other hand, is dealing with the consequences of his near-death experience and his blooming feelings for Alyssa.
And then there is Bonnie (Naomi Ackie), a strange and troubled woman who’s determined to kill Alyssa and, by proxy, James. The first episode jumps right in to her dark backstory and reveals her motives. It turns out she was enamored with the professor that Alyssa and James killed in self-defense. Surprisingly enough, Bonnie spends most of Season 2 in the back of the car with our protagonists, armed with a gun and a pocket knife. This character, who struggles with the concept of love and mental stability, constantly creates tension in the show’s most awkward moments, which leaves viewers wondering when she’ll strike.
It’s hard not to empathize with these characters who, like many of us, are simply struggling to understand their own trauma and cope with it.
Every actor and actress’ performance fits well within the boundaries of their character. Alyssa and James’ constant bickering manages to bring out the best and worst in each other, which only serves to strengthen their relationship and humanize the two characters who so frequently deny themselves their feelings. Alyssa remains abrasive, and James continues to be reserved, but the two finally learn to open up to each other. Meanwhile, Bonnie leaves viewers genuinely uncomfortable and unsure about what her next move will be.
Season 2 of “The End of the F***ing World” is great. It guides you through a hollow and depressing plot with its excellent writing that builds upon the story. The show’s dark humor continues to characterize every episode. Throughout Season 2, you’re left wondering whether or not our protagonists will turn out okay. As previously stated, “The End of the F***ing World” never needed a second season. But, viewers will find that it’s just as good of a watch as the first one.
The show doesn’t leave viewers with the tragic ending we anticipated from Season 1, it instead ends Season 2 on a quaint high note. James and Alyssa manage to find closure with some of the issues that have been plaguing them throughout Season 2, and this serves as a way for them to finally gain their footing and, finally, move on for the better.