The world is ending. Again.
Season 2 kicks off with new character Bonnie (Naomi Ackie) whose abusive childhood at the hands of her controlling mother resulted in antisocial personality disorder and unhealthy attachments. Bonnie was in love with Dr. Clive Koch (Jonathan Aris), who tried to rape Alyssa (Jessica Barden), causing James (Alex Lawther) to accidentally kill him.
Two years after the events of season 1, Alyssa lives in the countryside with her now-divorced mother Gwen (Christine Bottomley) in Gwen’s half-sister Leigh’s (Alexandria Riley) house and works in Leigh’s diner. James remained in the hospital recovering from the gunshot wound and Gwen convinced him to write a letter telling Alyssa he didn’t want to see her again.
The letter prompted Alyssa to agree to move away to the countryside. Now bored with her life, the rebellious and cynical Alyssa decides to marry her well-meaning-but-dimwitted boyfriend Todd (Josh Dylan), which pleases Gwen. Gwen utilizes her divorce money to pay for a lavish wedding.
Bonnie is released from prison after serving time for killing a woman who was going to expose Clive. She tracks down Alyssa and James seeking revenge for what she thinks is Clive’s cruel murder. Posing as a hitchhiker, James and Alyssa pick Bonnie up, going on a ride that entails more murders and ridiculousness.
The show is definitely good with such quirky, cynical characters who can’t seem to follow through with logical antics in illogical situations. Both Alyssa and James have actual, very logical thoughts, though they somehow end up doing the exact opposite. A lot of the situations they get themselves in could be avoided if they followed logic such as calling the police when they got bullets in the mail and not picking up a hitchhiker.
The addition of Bonnie’s character replaced the psychopathic James from season 1. Season 2 James, in turn, is a different character – he is emotional, has more facial expressions than a meme, is completely against murder and is in love with Alyssa. Unknown to everyone, Alyssa is still trying to cope with the attempted rape at the hands of Clive.
Alyssa running around in a wedding dress, James living in his car and carrying around his father’s ashes, whose death was too sudden and unexplained, could not make up for the uninteresting narrative. The story for season 2, despite dealing with serious issues, was simply not good.
Barden and Lawther are incredibly talented actors, and they have insane on-camera chemistry, and the writing is continuously well done. However, season 2 is lackluster compared to season 1 – the wow factor is amiss because we already expect the ensuing mayhem. The running gags were fun, but I enjoyed season 1 more than season 2.