When I heard that The End of the F***ing World was coming back for a second season, my first thought was… why? How?
The first season ended with James and Alyssa being apprehended by the law and James being shot down as he ran away, absolving Alyssa of any crimes. It was a dark comedy and ended on the darkest note possible.
And now… it’s back?
Some time has passed since James and Alyssa went on a trip together and accidentally committed a little murder. James, as it turns out, wasn’t killed when he was shot but spent months in a hospital recovering from his bullet wound. Alyssa’s mother talks him into breaking up with Alyssa in a rather mean letter and, just when it looks like James is about to move on with his life, his father suddenly dies of a heart attack and it’s grief that, emotionally, he just can’t process.
Alyssa, in the meantime, has moved on. Her and her mother have moved out and work in a diner in the countryside and Alyssa meets a cute boy and decides to get married, only… it’s a life change that she is emotionally unprepared for.
Also meanwhile, the devoted lover of the rapey professor that James and Alyssa killed in the first season gets out of prison and decides that she’s going to murder them both back to teach them a proper lesson.
Season Two of The End of the F***ing World is every bit as dark and as awkward as the first, though things seem a bit toned down this time around. James and Alyssa, in many ways, have both lost their humanity in their attempts to move on from their adventure and Alyssa copes by being mean and James copes by trying to use both Alyssa and his father’s urn as a crutch.
In some very clever ways, the antagonist, Bonnie, has lost her humanity as well due to a lack of love in her upbringing and losing the only person she perceived that cared about her. Although nuttier than squirrel poo, she is a very sympathetic villain and, as the series reaches its climax, you really see her as more of a victim as anything else.
The entire series can be seen as an examination of the need for genuine love in one’s life. James was fine, but the moment he lost the love of his father, he fell apart. Alyssa is cold and pushes everyone away, and Bonnie with her horrid upbringing and manipulated affair with the professor is awash in toxic emotions.
While I wouldn’t call this series laugh-out-loud, it is definitely more along the lines of a silly-awkward drama. The character speak as people their age would, feelings and words arranged in incomplete sentences and one-word replies. There is a lot of staring and a lot of awkward silences. It’s very… I don’t know… real?
I read that this is the definitive end of the series and, honestly, I’m glad that it did have a second season even if I did initially find a second season not only unneeded, but baffling. I like that these two got a epilogue and managed to regress and grow again, I like that they’re dealing with the consequences and aftermath of the first season, and I like how the conflict was dealt with and resolved.
It’s a hard show to like, I won’t lie and it’s not going to be for everyone, but if you like dark, awkward comedies… give this one a look.