After season one of the British dark-comedy series about two violent, messed-up teenagers, it was hard imagining a reason for a second season. While this season keeps you hooked, it doesn’t quite match up to the brilliance of the first.
Directors: Lucy Forbes, Destiny Ekaragha
Writers: Charles Forsman (comic book), Charlie Covell
Cast: Alex Lawther, Jessica Barden, Naomi Ackie, Gemma Whelan, Alexandria Riley, Steve Oram, Christine Bottomley, Barry Ward, Jonathan Aris, Josh Dylan
Streaming on: Netflix
A new teenage badass enters the fray.
The previous season ended in mystery. James (Alex Lawther) was shot on the beach but we weren’t shown whether he died or survived. This season begins with the character of Bonnie (Naomi Ackie), who like Alyssa (Jessica Barden) and James has been scarred by the trauma of a difficult childhood. Bonnie, who suffers low esteem, becomes one of the victims of Clive Koch, the predatory professor with a track record of using women for sexual gratification. Koch had earlier attempted to rape Alyssa. James, coming to his girlfriend’s defence, had stabbed the guy. Bonnie, however, doesn’t believe Koch is a villain and falls in love with him. When she learns about the death of her beloved professor, she decides to kill Alyssa, who she holds responsible.
The mystery of James is unraveled.
Alyssa has changed address and now works at a cafe with her aunt. There she meets Todd and the two decide to get hitched. The audience is kept in the dark for an episode and a half about what happened to James. It turns out that he’s alive. James finds Alyssa and, in dramatic fashion, the two take off on a road trip on the day of her wedding.
Naomi Ackie makes a chilling killer.
Ackie is terrific as the steely-eyed killer Bonnie, who meticulously plans her murders and makes the lovers’ lives hell. They’re unaware of her intentions till she shows up at Alyssa’s workplace late at night with a gun. The three make quite a company when they’re thrown together – Bonnie, the careful killer; James, loving yet psychopathic; and Alyssa, the lost soul.
Season two was a bit of a stretch.
It’s easy to binge-watch this show. The episodes are short at less than 30 minutes and the writing is sharp. Despite this, there’s not enough meat to warrant an entire season. The show is a love story of its time, a story that suggests that no matter how messed up you are, there’s someone for you. Season one, which was hugely entertaining and touching, established this and there was no real need to stretch James and Alyssa’s romance across another set of eight episodes.