This article contains spoilers
In many television series, it can easily be said that the themes of love, loss and torment are incredibly prevalent, awarding many shows a spot in the great pantheon of televised acclaim. However, the most successful shows utilize these themes while simultaneously bringing forth a new layer.
“The End of the F***ing World” is a series which deals with these things in a less than delicate manner, presenting a crude and semi-unusual drama that will leave viewers satisfied and mildly disturbed. The aesthetic of the show is reminiscent of the work of director Wes Anderson, whose films are best known for the rude humor and 1960s-esque country music that accompaies the seemingly dark backdrops provided.
The story itself follows two individuals, Alyssa (Jessica Barden) and James (Alex Lawther of “Black Mirror” fame). The show first opens on James, a teen who quickly concedes that he has come to the conclusion that he might be a psychopath. He and Alyssa’s first encounter takes place soon after this sort of montage.
She greets him in a churlish manner which betrays her as being an obviously troubled character. James quickly admits he’d like to kill something larger – something human. He believes Alyssa to be the ideal target and pretends to fall in love with her in order to execute his plan. After a series of unfortunate events, the two take off on a “road-trip,” stealing James’ father’s car in the process.
The show is really a crude portrayal of the human condition in its most honest and disturbed form, which would cause most viewers to feel intrigued. Character development is a very large part of this, specifically in the allegedly unfeeling James. While he grows closer to Alyssa, he begins to develop a sense of feeling that will prove to make for an interesting progression of premise.
As for Alyssa, she is the thwarted innocence within the show, consistently trying to believe that her father is the man she always believed him to be. Inevitably each character undergoes some form of transformation, including the two officers, DC Teri Derago (Wunmi Mosaku) and DC Eunice Noon (Gemma Whelan), who have some sort of romantic attraction, however unspoken it is.
The plotline isn’t lacking in originality either. Throughout the entirety of the show it’s nearly impossible to predict what will happen. The perspective through which the show is presented is rather interesting as well. The show shifts between the thoughts of both James and Alyssa while still presenting issues through a third party perspective.
The score of the show is also fitting of the piece. It seems almost like a darker version of Anderson’s “Moonrise Kingdom,” and the music reflects that feeling of youth lost and maturity gained. They make heavy use of folk music which is an interesting, but welcome decision.
The acting of both Barden and Lawther is exceptional in the sense that they both give their characters so much depth with simple actions and the sporadic dialogue that they hold with each other and themselves. To their credit, they both depict the abnormal characters with the proper clunkiness and lack of social courtesy.
Overall, “The End of the F***ing World” is a phenomenal show which could be considered a strange cross between “The Seven Psychopaths” and “Moonrise Kingdom.” With its brutal humor and unpredictable plotline, it certainly stands as a memorable show.
- Great character development
- A score which melded cohesively with the plot line
- Originality of storytelling
- Some plotlines (i.e. the underlying romantic feelings between the two police officers) don’t get a lot of explanation due to time constraints
Photo courtesy of Netflix