Binge Break: The most underrated show of the 2010s just released a must-see season


Kayli Reese, Managing News Editor

Near the beginning of season two of The End of the F***ing World, Alyssa (Jessica Barden), one of the main characters, explains the events of the previous season to her new boyfriend. After hearing all about the murder, sexual assault, and dozens of other felonies and misdemeanors, the boyfriend stares at Alyssa for a moment before asking if she likes chicken fajitas.

This sort of dry, random, dark humor is part of what makes the series good, but moments such as the scene that follows — where Alyssa talks about how happy she is in a voiceover while she’s actually on the verge of tears, wearing a wedding dress and an unconvincing smile — is what makes the series phenomenal.

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The first season of TEOTFW followed the wild adventures of Alyssa and James (played by the highly underrated, impeccable Alex Lawther. Seriously, this was almost a column about how soothing his voice is). The story starts with James deciding he’d like to kill Alyssa, but it takes a hilarious and heartbreaking journey that results in the pair falling in love, culminating in an open ending that left fans in a lurch for two years.

Season two, which came out on Netflix Nov. 5, shows the aftermath of the big adventure, two years later. Alyssa and James are both haunted by a murder that took place in season one and are struggling to fit back into place in their lives. They still go on an adventure, but this time as unwilling participants.

The unique aspect of this show is that, while the action takes place on screen, voiceovers give the audience insight into Alyssa and James’ thoughts as the events unfold. This way of telling the story adds a layer of truth; while the characters may say one thing out loud to one another, their real fears and feelings come through in their thoughts.

The music of the show also adds to the overall tone, as the pieces are old songs with cheery tunes and deep lyrics, often pairing with whatever event is taking place on screen. This works best when the music is trying to say something about the relationship between Alyssa and James, since the two characters so often find their feelings for one another difficult to articulate.

But oh goodness, is the relationship between Alyssa and James the best thing I think I’ve seen on television in a good long while. I almost felt the need to look away from the screen, because the looks James and Alyssa give each other are that tender and personal.

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James, a man of few words, often just says “okay,” but he does it in such a loaded, “I-love-you-Alyssa-and-want-to-take-care-of-you-always” way that brings so much depth to the story. Alyssa, despite her tough and loud demeanor, is so hesitant and scared James won’t feel the same way about her that she can’t say everything she feels.

However, Alyssa has taken a step out of herself this season. She’s seen a lot of violence and pain since the events of season one, and she’s lost her spark, the sense of self she once had. James, in turn, is in pain because she is. They do a beautiful dance around each other, trying to reach out to one another but not wanting anything between them to break.

TEOTFW also has a tight plot and highly amusing side characters that add to a brilliant show (I personally adore James’ dad). But it’s these main characters and all that they are to each other that makes this show one of the absolute best.