Season 2: The dark comedy continues with well observed characters in an engaging mystery
When the first season ended, I wondered how it could continue the story considering we had just seen our characters murder someone - and a pretty blameless someone at that. It felt like it would not be able to do much with this, and that it would affect how engaged we are with the characters. Within a short time I understood what I had not appreciated, which is tat the show is not driven by events but by the characters being accurate captures of the worst of modern life. Self-obsessed, entitled, unable to process and take responsibility for things of their own making. I say "modern life" because I do not think it is fair to put that at the door of a generation, but of course growing up with phones, social media, image bombardment and other things does make it harder compared to when I was the same age.
This aspect of the show remains its backbone although this means there is risk of it feeling like repetition. In this way, the shift in content helps it, because it doesn't retread the first season's story in any way, but yet remains true to what it does well. The narcissism and other terrible flaws of the characters are key to all the developments and twists, and it is a pleasure to watch how well observed the characters are, even when they are played to extremes at times. The plot itself allows for a satisfying web closing in on the characters, with twists and turns which stem from that character backbone. Design and cool points remain in place throughout, as it was with the first season.
Shawkat remains terrific in her performance; so much nuance and detail in her performance. The others do well with their broader characters, but Shawkat manages to capture the same generational flaws within her performance, but still produce a very human performance that we can go along with even if she is fundamentally as terrible as the rest of them. The second season ends with a similar "where do they go from here?" moment as the first season, but this time I have no doubt they can continue it and continue to plough the character furrow for full effect.
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