Coming off a season one cliffhanger that has had fans on the edge of their seats for two years, The End of the F***ing World has returned with its signature characters and soundtrack, as well as its witty writing and editing style. Due to the miniseries-esque nature of the first season, as well as the full development of its source material, many fans were skeptical that a season two would ever come.
The new season occurs two years after the events of season one and showcases all that has been happening in the lives of the characters since we last saw them. Alyssa has moved away and gotten engaged, while James has recovered from his injuries and lost his father. Joining the group this season, we are also introduced to Bonnie, an ex-convict with a vendetta against the two main characters.
This season, while still employing the same style and themes of the first, has branched off a great deal from the original tone. Season two has opted for a much slower pace, trading in rapid plot points and high action for emphasized emotion and character arcs. While some have argued this new pace is boring, it feels like the show has finally honed in on what made it so great in the first place: its characters and their interactions.
This emphasis on characters can be seen in the introduction and development of Bonnie (Naomi Ackie). Her acting specifically stood out as one of the stronger performances of the season, as she portrays a character who is manipulative, damaged and genuinely scary in many scenes. Bonnie’s character, in general, is another strong point for the season, as the first episode is completely dedicated to her backstory, while not dwelling on it to the point that you lose interest. Her character also serves as a major source of tension in the season, as often the audience is aware of what she is plotting while the main characters aren’t, similar to James’ role in the first season.
Another notable part of season two is the development of James’ and Alyssa’s relationship. After the events of the last two years, the two have almost completely switched sides—James now has more emotions than he knows what to do with, and Alyssa is sad and devoid of feelings. Watching the dynamic switch completely makes the investment in the characters more real, and creates an environment where you only wish the main characters can find a way to be happy together. The comedy also lands well as it did in the last season, and the spinning of the typical story of “tragic young lovers” makes the story more compelling and striking.
However, this season does have some problems with pacing, as the episodes take place over a span of three days, with episodes like Bonnie’s introduction moving very quickly, and the rest of the season moving slowly. However, this aspect is more forgivable as the length of the whole season is about the same as the length of a film. This season also encounters some trouble with its plot, as often it feels like the characters are running in circles. There is only one villain in the series who is the cause of most of the conflict, which makes the episodes feel a bit re-hashed. This is also due to the on-again-off-again nature of James and Alyssa’s relationship, which feels tired by the middle of the season.
As of now, Netflix and the creators of the show have not released any news regarding a potential third season. While season two did end on a final note, there is still much to be explored about these characters and their lives, and it would be interesting to watch them grow more. However, if season two is revealed to be the official end, the show left off on a great note.