Two Summers feels surface-level, rather than peeling away at the characters to bring the unspoken truth.
This review of the Netflix series Two Summers season 1 does not contain spoilers.
The rife rape culture amongst young men has been well-documented, and how it can fester within friendship groups rather than strangers. It adds weight to the troubling relationships between humans — the undesirable want to be silent rather than unveil the truth. Netflix’s Two Summers is a fictional foretelling of this scenario; a group of friends has been reminded of what happened on vacation thirty years ago.
The story begins aggressively; Peter receives a video of him and his male friends raping a woman from thirty years ago at an alcohol-fuelled party. The men decided to delete the tape, but three decades later, the video has somehow resurfaced. The video comes with a threat; pay the sender a significant amount of bitcoin, or it will be made public. The video comes at an opportune time; Peter is about to enjoy a vacation with the same group of friends from thirty years ago, including the woman who was raped. Apparently, she does not remember that heinous event.
And so predictably, Two Summers floats between two timelines, the present, and the past, showing the younger and older selves of the characters. The past can catch up to you, and the Netflix series presents the idea well.
Two Summers brings a sobering theme; the men in this series are ordinary men. Getting this idea in a narrative form reminds the audience that sexual assault does not necessarily come from the expected but instead the unexpected. Presenting such a routine and normal storyline spreads this message powerfully.
Unfortunately, the Netflix series spends too much time watching the guilty men whispering together as they discuss the threat of the video while contextualizing the past. The series would have been served better with fewer contextual flashbacks and preying on their guilt. The characters feel more comfortable attempting to shoe away from the past, rather than show remorse for their actions, especially in the first half of the season.
There isn’t a set way of articulating this story, but Two Summers feels surface-level, rather than peeling away at the characters to bring the unspoken truth. The series tends to move through the motions of what happened rather than digging deeper into the issues surrounding rape culture. There are many stories out there that present the problem better, getting into the real route of the issue.
That’s not to say that Two Summers isn’t worth the investment. It’s certainly an entertaining 6-chapters. It just needs more than a group of panicky men and to focus on the problem in itself.
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