Nanno is back, and still has vengeance on her mind in another clutch of unusual, effective episodes based on real-life events.
This review of Girl From Nowhere season 2 is spoiler-free.
Netflix’s Thai anthology series Girl From Nowhere is popular, and it’s easy to see why. The premise, which finds a girl named Nanno (Chicha Amatayakul) enroll in various schools in order to enact revenge on problematic students and teachers, provides a template for virtually limitless stories, and the show’s basis in real-life events gives it a grounded quality despite Nanno’s obvious otherworldliness and the somewhat fantastical methods of payback she sometimes employs. Another eight episodes dropped today, and so Nanno, back by popular demand, has more wrongs to right on various school campuses — watching her do so is as enjoyable as ever.
Girl From Nowhere Season 2, like the first season, lives and dies on the strength of Nanno as a character. She remains an excellent creation, brilliantly embodied by Amatayakul as a malleable entity who can switch from quiet and unassuming to sexually provocative to outright terrifying at a moment’s notice. Her chameleonic nature means she has no arc, really, but is instead a conduit through which other stories can be told. The show’s mission statement is really about putting power back into the hands of victims, and Nanno is the means by which that is achieved; she’s the idealized avenger of every high-school student wronged by predatory males, social dynamics, corruption, or any of countless other things that afflict boys and girls — though particularly girls — of that age.
It isn’t just the performance, though, but the show’s writing and tone that elevate Nanno. She’s always in control of every situation, always one step ahead of her adversaries, and because the audience can trust that, there’s tremendous catharsis in every development. The show rarely, if ever, plays with expectations in that way — it wants its audience to know that every awful person is going to learn a lesson and receive their comeuppance. This gives Nanno tremendous power as a character, both in the fiction and in a meta sense. She is as much a symbol for victims as she is for the audience; a comforting reminder that sometimes debts have to be paid in full.
Girl From Nowhere Season 2 is also unafraid to mix up the tone of its episodes — while the premiere is typically downbeat and at times horrifying, the second episode is an uplifting and optimistic portrayal of love in all its forms. Both Nanno and the underlying premise are tremendously well-suited to an anthological format, and the show is very good at really leaning into every tone it settles on. When it wants to be light and hopeful it is; when it wants to be frightening and disturbing, it’s that too. There was obviously enough goodwill around the first season to get a follow-up greenlit, but one has to hope that even in light of that success the show gets the attention it deserves from Netflix’s vast global userbase.