Carnival Row Season 2 Review – a spectacular final season

February 16, 2023 (Last updated: 2 weeks ago)
Lori C. 0
Amazon Prime, Streaming Service, TV Reviews
View all


Season 1 was good; Season 2 is spectacular. There’s drama, compelling character arcs, unexpected twists in the narrative, and heartbreaking deaths. It tells a gripping and relevant story, and each episode is well-crafted visual art.


We review the Prime Video series Carnival Row Season 2, which does not contain spoilers or any major plot points.

It’s been a minute since Prime Video released the first season of the neo-noir fantasy show starring Orlando Bloom and Cara Delevingne, Carnival Row, back in 2019. Created by René Echevarria and Travis Beacham, the series was renewed initially before it even premiered, but the pandemic delayed the second installment.

Unlike the first season, which came out as a neatly packaged binge-able affair, season 2 will be released in weekly installments of two episodes, it’s a bit longer than the first, and it’s, sadly, also the series finale—having waited for 3.5 years to see the show’s continuation only to learn that its ending feels bittersweet.

Carnival Row Season 2 Review and Plot Summary

Season 2 starts mere weeks after the events of the first, with Carnival Row still under the harsh lockdown imposed by The Republic of Burgue’s new chancellor, Jonah Breakspear (Arty Froushan).

The ghetto is surrounded by armed guards and covered in barbed-wire fencing to stop the Fae-folk from flying, which leads to a deadly epidemic among them. Vignette (Delevingne) is still working with the group of Black Ravens led by Dhalia (Chloe Pirrie), who are trying to bring relief to the afflicted. At the same time, Philo (Bloom) is drawn back to his former role within the Constabulary when a series of brutal murders threaten the tiny fraction of peace left on the row.

The two start the season as a couple, but their differing views and the growing tension between humans and Fae-folk threatens their relationship. Now jobless, the former Pix courtesan Tourmaline (Karla Crome) learns that she’s inherited terrifying powers from the Haruspex (witch), Aoife (Alice Krige)

In The Burgue parliament, Jonah struggles to hold onto his newfound power in the face of economic collapse caused by his ghetto. As the critch can no longer leave the Row, the city’s factories are missing out on cheap labor. The new chancellor also has to deal with his ally/sister/lover/opponent Sophie’s ever-increasing use of mind games. Poor Runyon Millworthy (Simon McBurney), who went from street performer to special advisor to the chancellor, must find a way to reconcile his love for the Fae folk locked inside the Row and his loyalty to Jonah. 

The interspecies love story between the faun Agreus (David Gyasi) and the heiress Imogen (Tamzin Merchant) ended last season with the two sailing off just before the enforcement of the ghetto to escape her jealous brother, Ezra (Andrew Gower). Unfortunately, the honeymoon doesn’t last long. They soon find themselves captured in Ragusa, where a revolutionary group called the New Dawn has taken over and implemented a new way of life. 

Season 1 of Carnival Row was a cornucopia of mythology, character-driven drama, social commentary, sex, and gore. This season is more similar, minus the sex but with amped-up violence and even higher stakes. The show doesn’t shy away from showing the darkest parts of its universe and introduces a terrifying new creature that’s sure to fuel my nightmares for months to come. In addition to stunning imagery and special effects, the show is still very much character driven. 

One element that stands out in Carnival Row is impeccable world-building. And Season 2 introduces new and exciting pieces to the puzzle. We get to explore new territories, meet new types of Fae-folk, and better understand how the world is run. On the downside, the abundance of information feels overcrowded. A lot is happening; it’s a fast-paced series that demands the viewer’s complete and undivided attention.

Is Carnival Row season 2 good?

Carnival Row is one of those rare series that delivers a satisfying finale. It doesn’t come across as rushed, and the thought the writers and producers put into the narrative elevates the final product. Season 1 was good; Season 2 is spectacular. There’s drama, compelling character arcs, unexpected twists in the narrative, and heartbreaking deaths. It tells a gripping and relevant story, and each episode is well-crafted visual art.

What did you think of Carnival Row season 2? Comment below.

More Stories

Find where to watch this and more with our Discovery Tool

Explore Now
View all

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.