Alyssa attempts to find some normalcy, but it’s easier said than done given how her past seems very eager to catch up with her.
This recap of The End of the F***ing World season 2, episode 2 contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
You can check out our thoughts on the previous season by clicking these ones.
With James’s fate still left deliberately uncertain, we rejoin Alyssa, who informs us — in much the same tone as we got used to in the first season — that she got community service for what she did. Despite that, though, everything has changed, and Alyssa thinks her mother was probably more affected by what happened than she was. She started talking about herself in the third person and lost it a bit, so they took the twins and left that house, that school, that town. They go instead to stay with her mum’s sister, Leigh (Alexandria Riley), and as of this episode, they’ve been there for over a year. Despite all this, Alyssa claims she’s okay. She doesn’t really feel anything anymore, and that, at least according to her, is like a superpower.
Alyssa works for Leigh, as a diner waitress, which she obviously sees as an irony given how she treated members of that profession in the first season. At work, she meets Todd, a dopey conspiracy theorist who is “kind of like a dog — in a good way.” They start a relationship, and Alyssa tells him about everything. His response: “Do you like chicken fajitas.” Alyssa thinks he gets it. I’m not so sure.
Still, when she asks him if he wants to get married, he says, “F*ck it, why not?” Alyssa’s mother is incredibly happy about this; Alyssa considers it one of the most renegade things you can do these days, so at least she’s trying.
There’s a sense that all this can’t last, that Alyssa’s happiness is being feigned, and it’s more or less confirmed when a bullet inscribed with “Alysa” arrives in the post. The misspelling makes it less threatening, apparently. She hears customers inquiring about the service as her being asked if she’s thought about killing herself, which is also a bit of a clue about her mental state. The paranoia begins to develop. Alyssa doesn’t know if she’s being watched or not but suspects she might be. As it turns out, she’s right. In the suspicious car outside the diner is none other than James.
So, it turns out he survived, and we jump into his perspective for the second half of the episode. His perfect, fitting end to a doomed love story didn’t quite pan out. He survived and found himself hospitalized under 24-hour police surveillance, inquiring all the while about Alyssa’s whereabouts. James’s dad isn’t dealing with the situation well. Despite the doctor’s insistence that he’s lucky, he doesn’t feel it.
Alyssa’s mum visits him in hospital, blaming him for everything and telling him to break up with her since he’s ruined her life. She suggests he writes her a letter, and while he doesn’t want to, he does anyway. Young love at its finest. In a montage, we see a wheelchair-bound James dealing with his grief while his voiceover tells us he never saw Alyssa again. He did learn to walk again, though, and he didn’t go to prison after all — the murder was taped, and verified his claims of defending someone else. He got a suspended sentence for various other misdemeanors, but at least his dad started to open up about his feelings.
Then again, the excitement of spending more time with James killed his dad stone dead of a heart attack. He never went back inside the family house, just took to carrying the urn full of his dad’s ashes around like a baby and living out of his car. Nonetheless, he gets a bullet in the mail, just like Alyssa did. This is what spurs him on to get back in touch with her. We see him track her down and spot her with Todd through the diner window. We see her rapidly approaching the car he’s been spying from and see him reverse straight into an embankment — the same scene we saw earlier but from his perspective. Alyssa herself sums it up better than I ever could: “For f*ck’s sake.”
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