Our lamentful arts editor reviews End of the F***ing World Season 2
By Katelynn Browne
I first began “The End of the F***ing World” in late March of 2018 when I had the worst cold of my life. (I was sick for all of that spring/Easter break combo which sucked). I was immediately hooked, and watched pretty much all of it in one sitting since I had nothing better to do. And then the show ended on a huge cliffhanger. At first, I was enraged at the seemingly abrupt end, but as I sat with it a bit longer, I realized that this was a great ending to a great show. So, when season 2 was randomly dropped on Netflix a few weeks ago, I was unsure of what to expect. I often feel Netflix will overextend a show’s life to capitalize on viewership rather than ensure a quality show. (For example, I think Stranger Things should probably have ended at season 2). And, with low expectation, I dove into the second season. And again, I was immediately hooked.
The show opens with a new character, Bonnie, detailing her hyper-controlled upbringing by her abusive mother. This leaves Bonnie, unbeknownst to her, craving genuine affection and approval from another person, and thus vulnerable to manipulation from Dr. Clive Koch, the serial killer that James and Alyssa murdered in Season 1. Bonnie and Dr. Koch pursue a relationship, one Bonnie believes to be monogamous. She later discovers another girl from her college at Dr. Koch’s home and believes him to be cheating on her until he explains that the girl was plotting to ruin his career with rape allegations. This causes Bonnie to kill the girl, for which she goes to prison. In prison, she discovers that Dr. Koch has been murdered by James and Alyssa, and she plots her revenge on the two.
Bonnie’s revenge ultimately drives Alyssa and James back together, who were formerly separated due to the beach incident (and Alyssa’s mom making James break up with Alyssa), after 2 years. While James seems to be kinder (no longer numb), Alyssa battles the traumatic effects of her near rape and witnessing the murder of Dr. Koch. This causes her to jump into marrying her boyfriend in an attempt to feel something. Ultimately, she realizes that she is unable of loving someone in the way that they deserve.
Season 2 approaches people processing and dealing with trauma in an interesting way, specifically with Alyssa and Bonnie. Alyssa internalizes her trauma, seemingly feels empty and can’t understand why. Bonnie, on the other hand, externalizes her trauma by seeking her revenge. She first tries to kill others, and after attempts to kill herself because she feels she can’t live a life with so much pain. However, Alyssa and James explain to her that it’s possible and worth it, despite it being hard. Even James deals with trauma in an interesting way—he clings to his through the physical manifestation of his father’s ashes.
The heavy stuff aside, season 2 has its humorous moments and all-in-all proved to be an excellent addition to the first season. It answered all of the questions we were left with at the end of season 1, without creating any new cliffhangers or strong need for another season. The ending felt neat and tidy, and the show feels complete. And I’m quite happy with it as it is. I don’t feel there will be another season, but knowing Netflix, who’s to say. I highly recommend the entire show.
Image Source: HollywoodReporter.com