The End of the F***ing World is undoubtedly Netflix’s first big hit of the year, and one of the few which may not be overhyped.
Two 17-year-olds, James and Alyssa, aren’t that happy with their lives. For James, with him having a very limited range of emotion, and a growing enjoyment of killing animals, he fancies himself a psychopath. Alyssa, on the other hand, is just tired of all the fake people in her life, who pretend to be normal. This includes her mother who only gives a damn about her new kids and husband, someone who says and perhaps even does as he pleases to her, and her mother says nothing.
But, upon noticing James is different, Alyssa decides to start a thing with him and he sees her as his first possible first human victim. However, considering her charm and how well they get along, could he be convinced that perhaps she shouldn’t be his first victim but first girlfriend? You gotta continue on to see.
Coping The Best Way You Can
Unhealthy ways of coping are throughout the entire cast. James coped with his mother’s death by basically shutting himself off from emotions for so long, he forgot what it meant to feel anything besides physical pain. For Alyssa, her being so antagonistic towards people was simply to get a reaction. She wanted someone to engage with her, see her, show her some sort of passion that even if it meant pissing you off, it was better than being forgotten.
And it even extends to the parents, and maybe the sole positive thing I can say about them. For Phil, James’ dad, you recognize that as much as he can be a bit much, it is because his son is all he had. And with him going from happy go lucky to quiet and sad, similar to his mom perhaps, you can see he tries to connect with him in a way maybe he didn’t with James’ mom Vanessa. Maybe by trying to spend more time than give distance, he can keep him from, ultimately, leaving Phil alone.
Which is what everyone in the show, I think, fears – Loneliness. I mean, how else can you explain what everyone seems to be seeking or running from? Even when you bring up Gwen and Leslie. Gwen, after being abandoned by Leslie, latched onto Tony and lets him do as he pleases just so she doesn’t end up alone. Then with Leslie, as much as he seems to be a commitment-phobe, he can’t deal with life without being with someone. Even if he is of absolutely no good to them and the relationship is completely beneficial in a one-sided way.
Alyssa and James’ Character Development
One of the strangely beautiful things to watch is how, as Alyssa and James learn to trust one another, show the kind of affection the other person needs, as well as dependability, they grow as people. With James, it is basically night and day. He goes from this weird kid who kills animals in episode 1, and wanting to move onto humans too, by episode 7, being unable to do a mercy killing of the dog Leslie, ran over. On top of that, you realize him being closed off to emotions stems from his mother’s death and his father not providing him what he needed to handle that. Well, alongside him blaming his father for what he did or did not do for his mother.
Thus causing the kind of trust issues where James found it best to just recede into himself. But then came the issue of how to get out? The pain was scarred over so how to move on? Well, with Phil’s aggressive nature in terms of sports, maybe hunting, so began the idea of killing animals and that evolved to killing people. Trying to feel and experience pain vicariously, I guess is how you can reason it.
Yet, then Alyssa sort of filled that gap Vanessa left and more. She paid attention to him, sought his time and seemed willing to do what he wanted and followed him. That is, in comparison to Phil who likely didn’t invest too much in James’ interest, if James even made his interest public to his father, besides wanting a machete. But, back to Alyssa, on top of showing him attention, she showed him physical and emotional affection. Which, yes, originally James was just going through the motions about, but then she helped him build trust. He realizes what he thinks is going through the motions is really how he feels and that is why, by episode 3, fairly early on in a half hour series, he realizes he trusts her and could maybe genuinely be falling for her.
I mean, you are getting a guy who barely has expressed himself in maybe a decade to dance. Something he saw as so uncomfortable yet you melted the ice and made him feel safe again. A feeling probably long since foreign thanks to his mom snatching most of what made him happy away.
But, mind you, this isn’t all about James’ evolution. For quite a bit of the show, if not the entire show, Alyssa seems like the star. After all, end game is her getting to her dad’s house. However, arguably Alyssa’s transformation isn’t as dramatic as James yet still quite the highlight.
Mostly because, while James’ journey deals with learning how to trust and love another human being, Alyssa’s deals with not only being chosen but feeling that any connection she has with you is reciprocated. To say the least, her issues stem from the weaknesses of her parents. Like her dad, she can be flighty and like her mom, there is this desire to pretend everything is fine when really it isn’t.
Hence why, early on, she addresses either in her head or to James about him seemingly just going along with whatever she wants. That isn’t what she needs. She needs to see initiative, for someone to show the energy she is putting into her relationship with them, she’ll get something back out of it. Hell, even though she doesn’t need it, because she can defend herself, she wants someone to occasionally stick up for her since for her entire life, that has been a battle she has faced alone.
I mean, granted, their love story starts off twisted and has a few eyebrow-raising turns, but how they both, not just James, grow as people thanks to communicating their needs and adapting, is so beautiful.
On The Fence
The Parents and Adults In General
You know how in most shows the kids are underdeveloped and seemingly just there to show their parents, at one time or another, had sex? Yeah, that gets sort of flipped here. The adults, while you can recognize Gwen and Phil are dealing with their own kind of trauma, which never got resolved, leaving you wishing for more. This also includes Eunice and Teri who clearly have a complicated relationship, which may involve a hookup. Then, and in Teri’s sexuality was either unknown to Eunice or Teri recently realized she could have feelings for women, there comes quite a few question.
But, in general, there is just a desire to know these people more especially in terms of how that led to them being the type of parents they became or the type of cops they are. Yet, one could only hope a second season could give us such.
Overall: Postive (Watch This) – Recommended
Honestly, I couldn’t think of a better show to start off the new year. It feels like a mental and emotional cleanse of 2017 and kind of revitalized my desire to continue this website. For in a sea of seeing the same storyline with different faces, then comes shows like The End of the F***ing World which sends a nice little jolt to you.
But what I enjoyed the most, and I think others will as well, which is why this is being recommended, is that this is a show which is more about developing its characters vs. them all reacting to some shocking, tentpole moment. So, with that, you are more so connecting with the people than an event. You’re more invested in how the people will evolve than how they will react to some situation and figure out a way to survive it.
And with that, like myself, I think you’ll find yourself deeply invested and hoping for a second season.
Nomination: Best Actor – Jessica Barden and Alex Lawther | Winning: Depends On The Competition
Unfortunately, there isn’t any real prestigious teen or young adult awards show. Pretty much there is the Teen Choice Awards, American Choice Awards, MTV Awards, and then a huge chasm between those and the Emmys, Golden Globes, BAFTAs, and Oscars. Now, as shown, The Golden Globes doesn’t mind tipping a hat to the youth with Katherine Langford being nominated for 13 Reasons Why. However, and I say this with all due respect, I would have expected AmyBeth McNulty to be nominated before Langford for her work in Anne.
But, focusing on The End of the F***ing World, considering how the world loves a good complicated protagonist with depth, there is hope for some major awards recognition. Especially as Netflix continues to lobby and push the standard bearers from their comfort zones.
Make it all about the trial. You can bring back Clive’s mother and have her be the sort of catalyst for how the adults deal with their own upbringing which made them the people they are. Tony’s dad being trash or something, Gwen’s parents neglectful, Phil seeking the well-adjusted home he had but failing, that kind of stuff. Of course with Alyssa and James trying to figure out how they should testify and him not wanting her to end up in jail for something he did and her feeling mixed emotions about his sacrifice. Especially in terms of him not really fighting to be free so they can be together outside of a prison facility.
Then with Eunice and Teri, Teri doing a sort of “I told you so” and us looking into who Eunice is that really made her think to approach the kids like that. Much less, what made Teri such a butt head. On top of looking into the complications of her sexuality and whether simply Eunice didn’t knew and that was a mistake, or Teri just recently came to terms or an understanding of her sexuality.
Pretty much, make this about maybe James going to jail and Alyssa trying to figure out if she can wait for him or not. Especially since she still loves James, he’ll always be in her heart, but waiting years for him she questions if she can do. Especially since she wants to make out, have sex, and explore what it means to be in a relationship with someone you can touch. Yet, still, she finds herself dealing with the guilt of him being in there because of her, and they both are dealing with their abandonment issues. Her in terms of promising not to leave him and him hoping, like his mother, she doesn’t leave him when things get hard.
I don’t even know what to do with the adults after season two.
Season 4 – Final Season
Season 3 definitely would have to end on a cliffhanger leaving us unsure if James may be willing to deal with life without Alyssa. She was the first and perhaps only person to get him and she became an infrequent visitor. And I think this should be a bit of a heavy James season since I just can’t see this show not mostly being about Alyssa. But for the final one, it is about James fearing and anticipating freedom and to include Alyssa’s actress, him imagining the life she has as he and his dad prepare for the one James will be restricted to.
In my mind, she has long stopped visiting, at this point is in college or just on her own, and he sends letters which don’t get any reply. Hence him imagining her life. Yet, despite all we’ve seen, the final episode begins with her meeting him at the gates with her car and then spending a day together. One in which, even if she has a new boyfriend and all that, she recommits to James that like she said years ago, she isn’t going to abandon him again.
Has Another Season Been Confirmed?: IT HAS! (Source: Indiewire)
|The End of the F***ing World will be the beginning of an odd, maybe end up deadly, love affair between you and the characters Alyssa and James.|
|As Alyssa starts to push James for more intimacy, it seems he is slowly questioning not just how but if he can kill her.|
|With Alyssa making James feel things, he reaches a crossroad: Continue to explore what it is like to feel emotions again or kill the catalyst?|
|It’s the day after the events of the last episode, and it seemingly has changed James and Alyssa’s relationship for the worse.|
|The mystery which is how James’ mother died is addressed, as well as the police’s investigation continuing – leading them to James and Alyssa’s parents.|
|With a murder already behind them, what’s a stolen car and robbed store but child’s play?|
|How can a man abandon his daughter for 10 years? Well, we don’t necessarily get an outright answer but do get to observe Alyssa’s father Leslie and figure out for ourselves.|
|It seemingly is the end of the line but don’t tell Alyssa that – no matter who you are.|