The End of the F***ing World came as a pleasant surprise back in 2017. Starring Alex Lawther and Jessica Barden, season one flipped romantic norms on their heads and told the honest and surprising tale of two lost teenagers. The first season wrapped up so well that even though we rated the series highly, we were skeptical about whether a second season would add anything to the already polished series.
Fortunately, our doubts were all proved wrong in the well-rounded second season of the Netflix show. The second season retains all of the charm of the first and explores new depths of love, loss, and the delicate nature of trauma.
In episode one, we are introduced to a new character. We quickly learn that Bonnie grew up in a household where she was punished for her shortcomings. As a result, she grew up believing that not only is punishment warranted, but it’s an essential part of love. As a maladjusted young adult, Bonnie is then groomed by one of the philosophy professors at the university. This professor is the same creep that Alyssa and James murdered in season one.
At this point, we have no idea whether Alex Lawther will be returning. The last time we saw his character, he was running from a firing gun. In episode two, it is revealed that he does, in fact, survive. In spite of his miraculous recovery, we discover he has broken all contact with Alyssa, who is engaged to be married. As the series unfolds, the unusual couple is reunited after they both receive a bullet with their names on. This bullet was delivered by Bonnie, who ends up in the back of James’ car when Alyssa insists on helping out what she perceives to be an innocent, lonely hitchhiker.
Season two has its fair share of exciting and tense moments. When Alyssa is alone in the diner with Bonnie, Barden’s anguished performance had us on the edge of our seats. As with season one, however, it is not the drama that makes The End of the F***ing World so remarkable. It’s the tender and powerful way Jonathan Entwistle shines a light on the most devastating human emotions while applying a sensitive touch of optimism.
By the end of the season, we are thus reminded that though charming, it is not the youthful adventure that captures us. It’s the surprising relatability of two broken teens who are doing what they can to make sense of the daunting and unpredictable world that we live in. A shy and whispered “I love you” is the slither of happiness that Alyssa and James are able to find in all their pain.