‘The End of the F***ing World’ returns to Netflix

By Esther Morales
Staff Writer

Alyssa struggles to find herself after last year’s events (YouTube).

Fans of the hit Netflix UK original series, “The End of the F***ing World,” were finally able to get their fix when the second season dropped on Nov. 5 after a highly anticipated two-year wait.

“The End of the F***ing World” is a dark British comedy based on the comic of the same name by Charles Forsman. 

The story follows the lives of two troubled teens, which provides audiences the opportunity to fall in love with the characters James (Alex Lawther), a self-proclaimed psychopath, and Alyssa (Jessica Barden), an angsty teen with a problematic life at home.

At the beginning of their story in season one, James was dead-set on killing Alyssa, unbeknownst to her, but as time goes on, he develops romantic feelings for her while getting caught up in wild and dangerous scenarios.

Season 2 starts by introducing the story’s new antagonist. Bonnie (Naomi Ackie), a woman recently released from prison, is on a mission to avenge the death of her lover, professor Clive Koch (Jonathan Aris). 

Bonnie’s goal is fueled by her hatred for Alyssa and James, as she believes that they need to be punished for their crimes. 

The new season was definitely worth the wait and lives up to the success and buzz of the first. I came back for the dark comedy, but I stayed for the drama and character development.       

The show has a slowly-built suspense and eerie overlay to the plotline following James, Alyssa and Bonnie, which had me unable to take my eyes off the screen and kept me binging through the night.

There was something endearing about the new way that James deeply cares for Alyssa, despite his inability to express his true feelings. This season puts humanity back into James that he thought he lost and shows a sweet, young man striving to be more vulnerable.   

The show perfects the portrayal of the character’s emotional dilemmas through their use of inner monologues paired with James and Alyssa’s tendencies to almost always speak in short, sharp and blatant statements, masking what they really mean.

Throughout the eight episodes, a new side to Alyssa is gradually revealed. Coming as more of a shock to James rather than the viewers, we see that Alyssa is still dealing with the aftermath of an assault and trying to move away from her past in whatever way will occupy her. 

This season heavily relies on Alyssa’s life, and Barden does the hard-headed character justice in her performance by enabling audiences to sympathize with the thick-skinned girl who isn’t always unbothered by things as she claims to be. 

I thought it was fitting for there to be a less comedic undertone this season. The show took a bit more serious approach when dealing with heavier topics, such as death, sexual assault and mental illness.

Ackie is able to give the brooding Bonnie the spotlight this season amongst the other characters. Her portrayal of Bonnie makes for a highly convincing naive, grieving, mentally ill woman. 

Despite Bonnie’s actions, I still felt sympathy towards her character and found it difficult to villainize her because of her complex backstory. Introducing her was a clever way to connect the plot of the previous season. 

The new season still leaves us with some unanswered questions about what lies ahead for James and Alyssa, but there is hope that the dynamic pair will return for a third season sooner than later. 

If you’re looking for a show to binge and emotionally invest in, don’t worry, it’s not the end of the world. It’s “The End of the F***ing World,” which checks all the boxes and fails to disappoint. 

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