The End of the F *** ing World was the perfect road movie about teenage anguish narrated in series format

Complete with two perplexed protagonists in conflict with a hostile adult world and destined, of course, to end in tragedy. From diner to diner, from gas station to gas station, James and Alyssa lived a love story that was one final hope being dashed and thrown in the gutter. In the original comic and in the first season of the series, the end of the story was poetically perfect. (From now on, only season two spoilers). It was “an ideal ending,” as James himself admits when he explains to Alyssa what happened to him after being shot dead. Because, indeed, James had been resurrected so the couple’s story could continue. And yes, I say resurrected because in a story with a nihilistic tone like this, to believe that what we saw was an open end and that it could be that James was alive was to be overly optimistic or openly naive. James was killed, and that was one of the story’s successes.

Reversing and resuscitating James is a decision that must have compelling reasons, like any attempt to extend a story that has already had a coherent conclusion. Screenwriter Charlie Covell and the author of the original comic Charles Forsman, who collaborated on this continuation, chose to explore the consequences of what they did. It is an idea similar to that of the second season of Big Little Lies, where after a finale complete with life-changing moment for protagonists of great impact, screenwriters decide to continue the story by analyzing the traumatic fallout from the moment itself. Thus, the second season of The End of the F *** ing World follows the same path, introducing us to an Alyssa that cannot help reliving what happened and a James who wants to see Alyssa again because he has joined her through that experience. If the first season was an escape, we could say that the second season is a return home (metaphorical, at least), a return to normal.

While this idea is interesting, the problem is that it is much less fun. Alyssa and James are no longer those rebel characters with whom we got into the car on the way to self-destruction. They are a shadow of themselves and spend more time arguing than generating attractive chemistry for audiences. The incorporation of Bonnie, which brings its own traumas and only serves to reiterate issues that the series had already touched, doesn’t help. The series constantly underlines the emotional states of the characters with flashbacks and a successful (although excessive) use of musical themes, leaving little space for us to think or feel for ourselves. In comparison, the first season was much more spontaneous and natural, a genuinely erratic story despite its linear structure. The second season leads the three characters to catharsis and the predictable happy ending in which a couple of misguided people find peace with each other, inserting a loop that history really didn’t need.


Toni de la Torre. Critic of television series. He works in El Món de Rac 1, El Tiempo, Qué hacemos, Ahora Crecimientos, Sàpiens and Web Crític. He has written several pounds on television series. Professor at the school to Showrunners BCN and likes to lecture on series. Highlights the Premi Bloc de Catalunya, 2014.