At the end of Season One of The End of the F***ing World, young James (Alex Lawther), a budding psychopath, has run away with his first girlfriend Alyssa (Jessica Barden) to find a safe haven with her father The police have been pursuing this couple for killing Professor Clive Koch (Jonathan Aris) who got off on torturing young women and videotaping the results. In the season closer, the police have surrounded them and James appears to get mortally wounded as he tries to avoid arrest.
Season Two actually starts two years earlier and introduces us to Bonnie (Naomi Ackie). Bonnie is a troubled young woman who tanks her final exams and ends up working at the university and begins to audit Koch’s class. She later gets invited to the Professor’s house for “a drink” and begins to “enjoy” regular sex with him. However, when she knocks off another one of his new “conquests,” Bonnie gets sent to prison. After two years spent in stir, Bonnie gets an inside word that Alyssa was responsible for Koch’s death and after getting released from jail, she goes on the hunt to avenge her lover’s death. Alyssa’s mother Gwen (Christine Bottomley) has moved in with her sister Leigh (Alexandria Riley). Alyssa starts working at Leigh’s restaurant and meets Todd (Josh Dylan), a handsome but unambitious young man. On Alyssa’s wedding day, a recovered James reappears in her life, carrying an urn containing the ashes of his recently deceased father. It is clear that Alyssa’s marriage was a mistake and, still wearing her wedding dress, she decides to run off with James.
The remaining episodes track the rather random travels of James and Alyssa that eventually lead them to a “chance” roadside meeting with a hitch-hiking Bonnie. When they arrive at a lonely bed and breakfast, the story takes another turn for the worse when Bonnie kills the innkeeper and it looks like Alyssa and James might become her next victims.
The End of the F***ing World Season two continues to pour out large quantities of adolescent angst and present the vagaries of the journeys that young people take when their futures seem uncertain. Throughout this dark comedy, there are periodic asides by Alyssa and James that give viewers their personal takes on what is happening and what remains in store.
Unlike a lot of teenage love/hate stories, The End of the F***ing World benefits from a well-crafted script that delivers a narrative as seen through the eyes of young people who must make their own way in a world that might well be incomprehensible to their elders. Thankfully, Barden’s portrayal of a wise-beyond-her-years young woman and Lawther’s naïve and damaged young man develop even better chemistry between them and make this a very watch-worthy series. Writers Charlie Covell and Jonathan Entwistle leave little doubt that these youngsters are far better and more complex human beings than their forebears. As enjoyable as Seaons One was, Season Two takes us even deeper into the complex world that the new generation inhabits and how they achieve their own creative solutions to life’s many mysteries. Delivered in millennial-friendly 20- to 24-minute segments, this show is highly recommended. Perhaps, Netflix will continue the adventures of James and Alyssa in a third season.
The End of the F***ing World Season One is streaming now in its entirety on Netflix
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