Love 101 Season 2 delivers more of the same with a slightly different vibe, but it digging deeper into its themes makes for a stronger overall outing.
This review of Love 101 season 2 is spoiler-free.
Despite some real-life controversy surrounding the first season, Netflix’s Turkish original teen drama Love 101 obviously garnered enough interest for a second season – and it’s just as well, really, since events weren’t exactly neatly resolved in the original outing. With a relationship’s illegitimate underpinnings exposed and a group of rebellious kids at the mercy of a dictatorial principal, there was plenty more drama to unpack, and if nothing else, this eight-part second season lives up to the standards set by the first. In some ways, thanks mostly to a slightly different vibe and a better examination of its themes, it even surpasses its predecessor, though not in a considerable way.
Things were left, you’ll recall, with Burcu and Kemal having discovered that their true love was staged by Sinan, Eda, Kerem, and Osman, while the kids had refused to abandon their anti-establishment principles. But here that puts them at the mercy of Necdet, a tyrant who threatens the oblivious Isik with expulsion if the others do anything out of line. Isik, though, takes matters into her own hands, getting herself expelled and thus freeing the others from Necdet’s tyrannical influence, but leaving them with the tricky task of dealing with Necdet and getting Isik reinstated, which will require the help of the privileged musical prodigy Elif.
Things unfold from there mostly how you’d expect, with a few surprises here and there, but that’s mostly what fans of this show will be tuning in for anyway. These characters are layered enough that their personal subplots don’t feel overly cliché, and their dynamics are fresh-feeling; the balance, too, between the kids and adults, including their parents, the school faculty, and Burcu and Kemal, gives plenty of balance to the drama. With the overall objective different now, Love 101 Season 2 has a more distinct tone, a cause for everyone to rally around that gives them a shared goal but also exposes plenty of problems for everyone.
This, really, is closure for those who enjoyed the first season but weren’t satisfied by its ending. It isn’t perfect – even in the ways it improves on the original, it doesn’t to such an extent that it feels like a much better show. But it does feel like a very capable one, with a good eye and ear for teenage feelings and attitudes, some welcome cultural specificity, and some good ideas. It’s a bit long, with every episode exceeding 50 minutes, but fans won’t mind. That’s ultimately who this continuation is for anyway.