One of Netflix’s better, though admittedly low-key originals loses some of its unique horror by going a little too over-the-top.
This review of Good Morning, Veronica Season 2 is spoiler-free. You can check out our thoughts on the previous season by clicking these words.
Good Morning, Veronica, a bleak Brazilian Netflix original from a couple of years ago, was a surprise in some ways. While it masqueraded as your usual crime thriller, with a sad-sack protagonist with a troubled past investigating seemingly parallel cases that eventually became interlinked, it was sneakily an incredibly taut and believable exploration of the violence – particularly perpetrated in the home – that men commit against women. Its mundane, everyday horrors were plentiful and more powerful than its genre staples, and the advice to seek help if you’re in similar circumstances, which popped up at the end of every episode, felt more and more relevant as the season went on.
But what also happened as the season went on is the plot became more and more mired in a grander conspiracy, a fairly obligatory-feeling mafia plot that eventually overwhelmed it, and it’s within this plot that the second season of the show, which has six episodes rather than the previous eight, perhaps mercifully, picks things up. Veronica, our intrepid former police clerk, is deeply embedded in an organized crime investigation, motivated by revenge and morphing in real-time into a rather bland ass-kicking get-s**t-done action heroine.
To its credit, Good Morning, Veronica Season 2 does continue to dabble in themes of manipulation and abuse, though admittedly of a glossier, more sensationalized variety focusing primarily on a villain that is much more arch and made-for-TV than the terrifyingly ordinary-looking Claudio in the first season. This might a constitute a spoiler, but the photogenic evangelist with a seemingly perfect family is not a good guy – I know, who’d have thought it?
While Veronica’s backstory formed a rather tantalizing supplementary mystery in the first season, it was really the peril that Janete found herself in that kept viewers invested; more to the point, it was also what kept Veronica, damaged as she was, tethered to the case. Without that very human centre, the show lacks something this time around, having abandoned the horror of plausibility in favour of a shallower, less believable story that raises the stakes in all the wrong ways.
Bigger isn’t necessarily better, after all, and while there are fewer episodes than before, there’s a sense of scale to the plot in Season 2 that doesn’t suit it; it never manages to build the kind of white-knuckle tension that the first outing could deliver with regularity in simple dinner table scenes. It can still do dark and creepy developments with the best of them, but since they’re not anchored by that sense of real-world peril, it’s much harder to care.
There’s a real case to be made that Netflix simply shouldn’t have bothered with this continuation. The first season had such a solid, low-key reputation that it seems a shame to sully that with a much more outlandish and over-the-top continuation that really loses a lot of what made the first season semi-special. I can’t help but imagine fans will be disappointed with the outcome, even if there’s still a halfway decent mystery to drag viewers through to the end.