A superior follow-up in almost every way, The Order season 2 boasts the wit and charm of its predecessor with imagination to spare.
This review of The Order Season 2 is spoiler-free. You can check out our thoughts on the previous season by clicking these words.
At first glance, Netflix’s The Order was standard teen-drama claptrap full of all the usual bells and whistles; good-looking leads, secret societies, college campus politics, magic, murder, and mayhem. In many ways, it was exactly that, but in several more in was quite a pleasant surprise, full of interesting world-building and smart, funny writing. I’m pleased to report that its second season, which debuted today, June 18, recognizes exactly what worked about the first outing and dials it all up a notch. This ten-episode follow-up leans into its humor, self-awareness and strong character dynamics, while also contorting its own mythology and genre in some fun and unexpected ways.
For those who’ve forgotten, the point of The Order was this: Jack Morton (Jake Manley) enrolled in the exclusive Belgrave University after being trained and incensed for years by his grandfather Pete (Matt Frewer), with the intention of finding and killing his biological father Edward Coventry (Max Martini), who was responsible for the death of his mother. Belgrave, it turns out, hides an ancient secret society of magicians known as the Hermetic Order of the Blue Rose, and Edward was the order’s Grand Magus, with designs of remaking the world in his image with the help of a mystical tome known as the vade maecum.
To make matters even more complicated – and the show quite a bit better – Jack was, quite early in the first season, initiated into a rival secret society: The Knights of Saint Christopher, sworn enemies of evil magic who also happen to be werewolves with sentient hides. Jack, being the protagonist, was bound to a particularly ancient and powerful hide which made him the de facto leader in quite a complicated ordeal to thwart Edward’s scheme, which involved trapping his father in the vade maecum with the help of a golem and the sacrificial slaughter of a first-born son. Another thing worth mentioning about this show is that it’s weird.
But it also ended with a great last-minute twist, in which the Knights, victorious, had all their memories wiped by the remaining members of the Order on the instruction of the new Grand Magus, Vera Stone (Katharine Isabelle). This led to Jack, Randall Carpio (Adam DiMarco), Hamish Duke (Thomas Elms) and Lilith Bathory (Devery Jacobs) all being mind-wiped, which is where The Order season 2 picks up, with each of them under the watchful eye of a “monitor” whose job is to keep them safely oblivious.
Naturally, this all goes wrong very quickly, and by the end of the first episode, the Knights have been initiated into the Order, with their memories fully restored by Jack’s first-season love interest, Alyssa Drake (Sarah Grey). From there they plan revenge from within the Order itself, which is a pretty dynamite second-season setup, if you ask me, especially since it’s complicated by the murderous machinations of a rogue magic practitioner with a penchant for broiling students and turning them into statues.
What makes The Order season 2 a superior follow-up is how obviously it recognizes which aspects of the show work best; it’s rife with knowing humor, fun character pairings, and imaginative twists on its established mythology. It’s enthusiastically pulling from a deep well of fantasy ideas but presenting them with a wink and a smile and, often, in a slightly new way. It might be very much a genre show pitched at quite a specific demographic, but its imagination, charm, and easy confidence make it broadly appealing. I wouldn’t recommend starting here, but I’d say it’s probably a good excuse to start from the beginning if you didn’t last year.
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Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.