When series two of Stranger Things came to an end, we were left with a void in our lives. That is until Netflix released its brand new original series, The End of the F***ing World.
Warning: Contains spoilers
The eight-part black comedy, which aired on Channel 4 last October, follows the lives of two 17-year-old teenagers Alyssa and James, who embark on an adventure to escape their miserable lives and track down Alyssa’s estranged father who left her when she was a child.
But there’s one problem, James is pretty sure he’s a psychopath. He once put his hand inside a toaster so that he could just feel something, and keeps count of every animal he’s killed. So when he steal’s his Dad’s car and escapes with the abruptly blunt Alyssa, he see’s it as a chance to carry out his very first murder.
The pair strike up an unlikely romance, but their journey takes a dark turn when James murders Dr. Clive Koch, who arrives home to find a sleeping Alyssa in his bed and proceeds to attack her. It’s at this very moment, that James slips out from under the bed and kills Koch with a hunting knife that his Dad brought him for his 13th birthday.
Of course, the title alone is a fair warning that this show isn’t going to be all fun and games, and much like Netflix’s 13 Reason’s Why, it tackles difficult issues such as suicide, rape, sexual assault and murder. Yet there’s something about TEOTFW that makes it so easy to watch.
It’s a clever balance of being both beautifully shot and darkly funny; so funny in fact, that sometimes it becomes increasingly hard to remember the context of what you’re watching. Don’t be fooled by its rather morbid plot twist, for it’s the rollercoaster storyline that makes this binge-worthy show impossible to stop watching.
I’m not ashamed to say that I sat and binge-watched the entire series in one evening, which is easily done when each episode is 20-minutes apiece. Also, I love a road trip as much as anyone, so chuck a little bit of adventure and dark humour in there and I’m sold. That being said, with every episode I sat praying that James (Alex Lawther) didn’t carry out his planned murder on Alyssa (Jessica Barden).
It’s strange to think that you find yourself rooting for self-diagnosed psychopath James, but when you discover the depth of trauma within his childhood after learning that his Mum committed suicide right before his eyes whilst he innocently fed the ducks, you can’t help but feel drawn to his charming personality, or that ache in your heart when Alyssa leaves him behind.
Alyssa to has ways of pulling at your heartstrings. For starters, her parents – or hideously creepy stepfather if we’re being specific here – are those characters that just fill you with hate from the moment you first meet them.
Not to mention the anger you feel when her father runs over a puppy and calls the police to hand them in; admittedly that subsides a little when Alyssa decides she’s had enough of his nonsense and stabs him in the leg. It’s sad to learn that it’s their traumatising pasts that bring this duo together, but it’s their pain that forges one of the most convincing on-screen relationships.
Before you know it you find yourself dying inside at their relationship, wondering if the show was given its title because quite frankly, that’s what you feel like after watching it. From James finding the flowers in Koch’s home to give to Alyssa, to the amazing dance scene and the hilariously brilliant moment where the pair meet petrol station worker, Frodo, who tries to join them on the adventure after too deciding he’s had enough of his own life. I mean, it’s gutting when they leave him behind, but you can’t deny that watching Frodo chugging back milk was a highlight on its own.
Sure, the ending left you both shook and wondering a number of things: is James dead? Will Koch’s Mum ever admit to burning all of the photos of his victims? What happens to Alyssa? But after the success of series one, we can only hope that Netflix and Channel 4 bring this incredible show back for a second season.