“Who We Really Are” proved a respectable finale, tying up as much as possible while also leaving some threads for a third season to tug on if The A List proves surprisingly popular.
This recap of The A List season 2, episode 8, “Who We Really Are”, contains spoilers. It also contains an open discussion of the A List Season 2 ending. You can check out our spoiler-free season review by clicking these words.
You know, if there was any show I truly expected to end on the typical Netflix cliffhanger, it was this one. So, in a way, I respect the fact that “Who We Really Are” made an effort to provide as much closure and explanation as possible. There are still some plot threads left dangling for a potential third season, even though it’s hard to argue the show deserves one, but credit where it’s due – you can hardly say this didn’t feel like an ending of a kind.
Probably fittingly, Midge and Amber begin the finale facing off; the theme of revenge has never been far from the season’s surface. Mia finds herself in the room where Midge hid out during the whole body-swap debacle, and this is where Midge intends to keep Mia, though Amber saves her from that fate. We learn a bit more about the crystal being the source of animosine and Amber’s powers; its destruction forms an objective tied into Midge’s destruction. This is deceptively simple high stakes plotting for such a gratingly complex series.
Figuring out how to cause the necessary destruction takes a while, and weaves in and out of some lore and character drama. What’s the significance of the barrier around the Institute? What are the utilities of animosine as a bio-weapon, and what shady higher authority is asking that question? What does the symbol on Luka’s arm mean, and how does it relate to Amber’s claim that he now belongs to the island? Can Mia talk Midge around?
These are all relatively compelling questions, though admittedly asked too close together, a problem the entire season has had with its plotting. Stabbing the animosine seems to dispel the ghosts and get rid of Midge, and in many ways close off the island’s potential as a storytelling vehicle and lore dispenser. The kids all making it out safely and being checked up on six weeks later on the mainland feels like as neat and tidy an ending as the show could muster, and the animosine winking back to life at the very end is the inevitable third season tee-up if the show somehow becomes super popular.
As I said at the top, some respect is due here. The A List season 2, episode 8 represents a clear improvement over the first season, with more confident – if admittedly more bonkers – storytelling, better acting, a snappier pace, and a more definitive conclusion. Plenty of questions still remain, but that’s par for the course – the show’s writers probably don’t have all the answers at this point, so the audience can hardly expect to. I haven’t been keen on this show, admittedly, but I’m willing to give it a pat on the back for doing everything it could to make the most of being saved.