The new season of One of Us is Lying is a neatly wrapped mystery box. Each reveal makes sense within the narrative, and none of it feels like a forced afterthought.
This review of the Peacock series One of Us Is Lying season 2 does not contain spoilers.
Based on a namesake young adults murder mystery novel by Karen M. McManus, the first season of One of Us Is Lying was a nice little murder mystery series that first premiered on Peacock in October 2021. The eight-episode series focused on four students who may or may not have been wrongfully accused of murdering their Gossip Girl wannabe peer, Simon (Mark McKenna). Developed for television by Erica Saleh, the show’s initial popularity led to it being renewed for a second season, which was a relief, considering how the first installment ended in a heart-stopping cliffhanger. What really happened to Jake? Who is Simon Says? What other secrets are the Murder club hiding? You’re in for a wild ride.
The second season starts exactly where the first one left off (check out our ending explained of One of Us Is Lying season 1): Addy (Annalisa Cochrane), Cooper (Chibuikem Uche), Bronwyn (Marianly Tejada), Nate (Cooper van Grootel) and Janae (Jessica McLeod) receive a text from the mysterious Simon Says with instructions to do exactly what they say, or else. At first, the Murder Club members are unsure whether Simon Says knows anything at all about that fateful Halloween night, but soon learn their mysterious foe is not bluffing. All hopes of going back to their normal lives are now gone and the group has to, yet again, work together so they can stay alive and out of prison.
Aside from the main mystery, the series continues to naturally insert relevant issues contemporary teens face. Topics related to gender identity and sexuality are tackled with the sensitivity they deserve without taking away from the main narrative. It was refreshing seeing a character’s journey towards accepting their identity treated as one part of who they are as a well-rounded individual, rather than making it their main personality trait.
All original cast members reprise their roles and they do a fantastic job playing the Murder Club. Marianly Tejada and Cooper van Grootel have undeniable chemistry, while Annalisa Cochrane, Jessica McLeod and Chibuikem Uche remain as convincing in their roles as they were in the first installment. Melissa Collazo stands out in her role as Maeve, the unofficial member of the Murder Club, as does Karim Diane as Kris, Cooper’s on-and-off secret but not-so-secret love interest.
Despite his dearly departed status, Jake (played brilliantly by Barrett Carnahan) remains an ominous presence in the lives of his classmates, particularly Addy’s. And new characters like Jake’s brother, Cole (Joe Witkowski), and Nate’s new tutor, Fiona (Doralynn Mui), make for a perfect addition to our dysfunctional group of probably murderous high school students. If you enjoyed Sara Thompson’s portrayal of Vanessa, Addy’s frenemy, last season, get ready to see a whole new side of her this year.
It was a pleasant surprise to see some depth added to the supporting characters, particularly the adults in the series. It’s all too common for teen shows to reduce the parents to one-dimensional caricatures. That’s not the case in One of Us is Lying. However, some characters that were important to the first season’s story, were written off without explanation, specifically Cooper’s little brother, Lucas (Miles J. Harvey).
While all episodes are solid, the fifth and sixth are the season stand-outs. The finale is a spectacular piece of television, and Simon Says’s true identity was nothing short of shocking. The villain’s motives are even more interesting than the reveal itself, while the resolution to the mystery is not just surprising, but cleverly thought out. It’s a satisfying end to a compelling season. The show also managed to leave enough questions unanswered to warrant a third installment.
One of Us is Lying season 2 is a neatly wrapped mystery box. Each reveal makes sense within the narrative, and none of it feels like a forced afterthought. Each episode brings a new valuable piece to the ongoing puzzle, and the series manages to tell a story that’s neither rushed nor dragged out. The young actors were brilliant in their respective roles, and the character development made natural sense.
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