Weekly Review: Between (season 2)

In the town of Pretty Lake, there’s been a viral outbreak, leading to the deaths of every person over the age of 21. In the weeks since, the children left behind have been forced to fend for themselves in a town short on food, medical supplies, and adult guidance.

I covered season one of Between last year, and the format of those reviews is slightly different. During the first season, Between was released to Netflix on a week-by-week basis, similar to shows regularly broadcasted on television. Because of this, I reviewed each episode individually.

I wasn’t a very big fan of the first season. I’m actually not even sure if I continued reviewing every episode all the way through to the end. I remember wondering whether or not the show would be better received in the traditional binge format that has become so synonymous with Netflix. This year I got my answer.

Between has had two very short seasons at this point, sitting at 6 episodes each for a total of 12 episodes. It definitely is better watched as a binge rather than on a weekly basis.

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The reason for this is probably that Between has a very slow burn. It’s one of those shows where the build up is often longer than the reward, and I personally never feel satisfied. I find the show very aggravating to be completely honest. The way the characters behave toward each other, the situations that the show puts them in, the actions and reactions all leave me frustrated.

Overall, I will say that season two of Between is much better than season one. The acting was much less hollow, and it felt like the characters were finally being portrayed as human rather than the stock character feeling that I got from season one. There are still a lot of situations that frustrate me within the show, so that didn’t improve much. That aspect probably comes down to the fact that the main characters are “kids,” and the show definitely presents them as such, unchecked emotions and all.

The main character in Between is undoubtedly Jennette McCurdy, known for her role on iCarly. McCurdy plays the character Wiley, pregnant through the majority of season one and a new mother in season 2. I would have to say this character improved the most through the two seasons. Wiley’s actions are much easier to understand going into the second season, despite a few bumps along the way. Even though Wiley is the main character, her pregnancy and thus her newborn son seem more like a plot device than a distinct part of the story. I’ve seen a lot of complaints about how the show handles the newborn scenario, so I will put that out there.

Other than McCurdy, it’s really hard to point out any other good performances. We have Jesse Carere, seen in The Stanford Prison Experiment and Skins, playing Adam, a character that should be incredibly interesting, but I can’t help but feel that the portrayal is really stiff. Adam is probably one of the characters that aggravates me the most. There is Ryan Allen, notable for Get Rich or Die Tryin’, playing Gord, one of the oldest surviving people in Pretty Lake and the moral compass. Justin Kelly, Degrassi, plays Chuck, the town rich kid who takes on the role of mayor and law enforcement. Kyle Mac, from the 2013 remake of Carrie and another Netflix series Hemlock Grove, plays Ronnie, a member of the town’s lower class, constantly causing trouble.

Between has a lot of different characters, and they all bring their own individual type of drama to the table. It seems they can never work together, despite facing the same terrible odds. Their spats with one another are probably the most annoying part for me.

Season two of Between attempts to focus more on the people who started the virus, hope for an eventual cure for the people in Pretty Lake, and what the true meaning of the virus really is. All of these points brought a level of intrigue to the show that wasn’t really there before. What really is the purpose of a virus that kills a person as soon as they turn 22? This season of Between gives you an answer.

Toward the end of the season, the characters find themselves in a brand new situation. The show glosses over this area, and I feel that was a missed opportunity. Rather than showing what happens during this six month period, it’s skipped with a title on the screen. The finale ends at this point, six months later, and leads to what will eventually be the plot of the third season, if it’s renewed again. As I write this I’m currently unsure of its renewal status.

Despite the fact that I will admit the show is improving, I still wouldn’t outright recommend it. There’s just something about it that doesn’t sit well with me. It’s melodrama through and through, and even though the plot has a lot of potential, I feel that it’s not really hitting its marks.

The first two seasons are available to watch on Netflix with no waiting, so if the plot intrigues you, give it a shot!


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