The End of the F***ing World (Episode 8)

Series 1, Episode 8
Date of release: October 24, 2017 (All 4)

Damn, now I really want to see more of the show. Preferably more than just the second season that was also the final one. And the ending is pretty obviously the ending of a television drama, and not the final scene of what was probably a movie once, making me rethink my original theory that THE END OF THE F***ING WORLD was conceived as a film first and then transformed into a television series, although maybe there were still five, ten minutes to the story which were cut for the sake of it being a TV show. But the way it was edited during the final moments made this very obviously not a film that has been turned into a show. By the way, I kind of hated how this episode ended. You already have a show with a minimum amount of episodes and the minimum amount of running time per episode, and while I kind of understand that you had to end the story on a cliffhanger, because there wasn’t much time to expand the story, it’s still an evil thing to essentially end a quick television movie on a cliffhanger. For heaven’s sake, that should be considered a crime, punishable by expulsion of the movie and TV business. There really wasn’t a need to end the show in a depiction of James running away and Alyssa in the hands of Teri, who expectedly didn’t care much about what was happening here (although how could she? She saw her partner on the ground, so she had reason to believe that the kids were evil).

The inspector found the scene of the future crime.

I was a bit surprised however by how quickly Alyssa turned her love for her father into hatred for the guy. After the previous episode I was really expecting her to love the hell out of Leslie, to always be his little girl, and be manipulated by his words, but I guess the show needed to end, Alyssa needed to be with James again, and the premise of Alyssa hating all of her parental figures needed to be the premise of this episode. I actually didn’t mind, but Charlie Covell didn’t even play with the idea of Alyssa being fooled and manipulated by her father, all while James had to be of sound mind and soul to show his girlfriend the truth (what a change in character compared to the first episode!). Granted, that’s what he did when he put the guilt of the murder all on him on the phone, and as he continued to make sure that Alyssa won’t be in any legal trouble when this is over, but I was hoping for a bit more of an emotional connection during these 20 minutes, and not a focus on Alyssa pushing her words and the knife into her father and realizing she was never loved by her parents and other family members. There definitely is an emotional connection here, but it seemed underdeveloped.

Also, the climax turned out to be pretty generic. Alyssa has always been the risky teen of the two, so her decision to run off with James was not only logical, but also predictable. But it was James who surprised me in this episode with his development. In the premiere, he was a British Dylann Roof, six episodes later he cried over smashing a rock on a dog’s head, and now he wanted to save Alyssa by confessing to his crimes and his crimes only (which were all of them). If that isn’t maturity, then I don’t know what is. Although maybe James is being manipulated by Alyssa, considering all he was doing for her in this episode was directed by his love and affection for her. By the way, James was an awesome guy when he didn’t lambast Alyssa for not wanting to have sex on the beach. He was respectful. Men, that’s how you do it! James wins this round of being an awesome dude.

The knife in the leg means “Fuck you, Dad!”

Well, there isn’t really much else to say about this episode. As always, barely anything else happened, the story was focused on one or two things, and it turned out the way it turned out. But at the end of the day, the world still needs Thelma and Louise, preferable killing off all the rapists and bad men out there, becoming heroes in the civilized world of victims. THE END OF THE F***ING WORLD didn’t become that show (there needs to be a show about that, preferably not a THELMA & LOUISE adaptation), but there is an opportunity for another writer to take on that idea. Or do I have to do everything by myself?

The End of the F***ing World (Episode 7)

Series 1, Episode 7
Date of release: October 24, 2017 (All 4)

If Leslie actually thinks about selling out his daughter and her boyfriend to the police, just to cash in a rewards cheque, there might be another murder on the table — the murder of Leslie by the hands of Alyssa, although I can’t quite imagine right now that the show and its characters would even go this far. While the kids have come to realize that they have turned their backs on the law and are pretty much on the run, they shouldn’t be lusting for murder at this point. All James wants is to be with Alyssa and lead a normal life, after he came to realize that he isn’t a psychopath (perfectly depicted in that scene where he could not kill the injured dog). All Alyssa wants is a nice life with her dad, maybe with James in it as her boyfriend. James has already thought about just leaving, which means he already detached himself from this possibly dangerous situation, just to save his own skin, but Alyssa could lose absolutely everything here. And that means she should be anything but predictable in the season finale, which should promise to be an exciting one. One can only hope that Eunice is quicker and saves the kids before it’s too late…

Knives out with your bellies out.

This episode was very good, although it was noticeable how it advanced towards the finale without letting too much happen. All that needed to happen was Alyssa making contact with her father, while the inspectors get closer and closer to the kids. It’s almost like one or two specific things needed to happen in each episode to move forward the story, and looking at the running time of the entire season, making it a two-and-half-hour long feature film, it’s a kind of movie in which not much happens. Then again, almost nothing happened in 2016’s AMERICAN HONEY with the same running time, and I found that movie quite fascinating. Anyhow, I liked the story and how it involved Leslie, who suddenly became something of a dangerous character for James and Alyssa to hang with. In a very natural way, Alyssa was head over heels for her father, and in an obvious manner, she wouldn’t listen to any potential reason from the boy who has an objective mind about the situation. That could lead to some interesting and tragic drama in the finale, since Alyssa’s heart needs to get broken to realize the fraud her father really is, and to make sure that she and James continue to be together. After all, this is still a love story, and not even Leslie should be standing in their way.

For the girl, this is happiness.

Meanwhile, I was also fascinated by the conflict between Eunice and Teri. Granted, Teri’s no-shits-given attitude towards the kids is a little too much (and you could maybe compare her behavior with those of American police officers who regularly kill African-Americans), but it did help to make Eunice a more sympathetic character, and maybe even the lifesaver in the next episode. She cares about the kids, because maybe she still has some moral left in her mind and soul. She doesn’t want this situation to end in a bloodbath and with kids in prison getting the bad treatment, because maybe she came to realize the households the kids have been in, and that they never knew any better. Eunice could become the heroic character in the finale, and when she declined to share a room with Teri, I was almost celebrating. This woman has a grip on her story. Also, this story pretty much turned Teri into something of a villain here. If she doesn’t care what happens to the kids, would she easily draw her pistol, pull the trigger, and kill them? As an audience member I don’t want to see James and Alyssa dead, which essentially makes Teri a threat to their lives, ergo she is the antagonist.

The End of the F***ing World (Episode 6)

Series 1, Episode 6
Date of release: October 24, 2017 (All 4)

The detective inspectors got some answers, Alyssa and James have been turned into full-on criminals now, and their parents have come to realize they either won’t ever see their kids again, or they will, but only with metal bars between them. I was glad about the fact that Eunice and Teri learned about Clive’s evil hobby and that they considered manslaughter charges for the teens, which might make things a little more easier when the police catches up James and Alyssa. Which hopefully happens quickly, otherwise Alyssa and James are irredeemable, considering all the other little and medium-sized crimes they have committed up to this point, and probably will commit during the next two episodes. This becoming the THELMA AND LOUISE-type story though makes my heart a little happy, despite the fact that Alyssa and James only killed one rapist and locked one annoying woman in the washroom. Maybe another evil entity in England should get the boost to Hell through James and Alyssa’s criminal and murderous activities, and maybe I get the show I wished for after all — two killers cruising through the country, offing bad people (mostly rapists, because that would make things easier), falling in love with each other, getting chased by the police, and the drama and thriller aspect climbs and climbs until the inevitable climax of the storyline. There is still a chance for THE END OF THE F***ING WORLD to get there, but the question is when — during the season finale or in the second season?

The message is sent — will the evil boss receive?

This episode felt more like a road trip like any other. This time around, the two teens were driving, and sometimes they were looking out the window of their stolen car, admiring the cheap British view. What a shame they still didn’t talk a lot to and about each other, although I still understand that neither James nor Alyssa are chatty kitties, so there won’t be a lot of talk between them. The story even dropped the sexual tension between Alyssa and James, which became super obvious when Alyssa was mostly interested in looking out the window and having a nap instead of … I don’t know, giving James roadhead. It might be just a little bit weird that it’s all about the journey for the two teens now, when they started off their adventure by stripping half naked and having some intimate moments in closed quarters. I guess that is part of Alyssa’s character arc — giving sex to the men in front of her to get around a problem is probably a tactic she employed quite easily (even to her stepfather?), but now that she doesn’t have to, and she sees something more in James than just another male person who can be “paid off” in sexual favors, she gets a chance to live her own life, without the fear of having to sell herself to get what she wants. Yeah, that seems like the most obvious character development, so I’ll take it.

It has become noticeable though that James hasn’t gotten through much of development since Clive got a piece of James’ knife in his neck. The one thing he realized (that he is not a psychopath) was obviously the only thing unresolved about his character, and now the only thing he does is assisting Alyssa in living her version of a mindless life, and driving her to her father. In a way, he is there for her all the way and he kind of stopped living for himself, whether he actually has fun being with Alyssa on the road, or craves his own little adventure of sorts.

Cool people drive in ugly old cars.

By the way, I was happy that Frodo didn’t become part of the road trip. I was highly amused by his no-shits-given attitude, as he was … smashing the gas station, but I probably would have done the same like James and Alyssa: run away from him, and quickly so. This guy really wasn’t interested in any of the bullshit from his boss-mother any longer. Probably because his parents gave him a crap name, and he was working a crap job with a crap boss. I’m surprised he didn’t turn into a psychopath himself and became James’ best friend from here on.

The End of the F***ing World (Episode 5)

Series 1, Episode 5
Date of release: October 24, 2017 (All 4)

This episode was almost too sweet. James and Alyssa hated each other for leaving one another, then they missed each other like they were a couple in love but not together, and then they found each other again, as if this entire thing is really just one big love story with two weird characters. And in the meantime those two characters are getting embroiled in a murder mystery (for the investigating detectives at least), with the police getting closer to them. Eunice and Teri don’t even suspect James and Alyssa in the murder right now, and considering there are only three episodes left in the season, it begs the question what needs to happen for the inspectors to catch up to the teenagers and if there is time for more character moments for James and Alyssa. Three episodes and a very clear-cut story and imagination of where everything is going — it’s almost like James and Alyssa’s adventure was planned to the tee from the beginning, although for some reason this episode could be seen as a filler, or at least as a pause in James and Alyssa’s journey, so that Eunice and Teri get some time to find out some things about the kids they hope aren’t the suspects.

Someone is very friendly towards a thief.

I liked the idea of James and Alyssa being separated for almost the entire episode. While Alyssa was dealing with the bigger problem of being a young woman and a thief, both characters had the chance to deal with their inner conflicts on their own, and I liked those conflicts. While I have no idea why James was sitting in a police precinct building and suddenly was forced to deal with his reporting of a murder, I liked that he was dealing with his mother’s suicide, even if he didn’t come out of it with a morale. It was expected that something like this happened in his back story, but I do believe that the depiction of the suicide wasn’t quite necessary in the narrative (then again, it says “show, don’t tell,” so I guess the episode did things the right way). All the show needed to do was what it already did, as James was talking to the detective. That his mother killed herself is enough information to accept James’s weird and probably psychotic behavior. After all, suicides tend to do that to t(w)een witnesses in stories like these.

Meanwhile, I loved the story of Alyssa, the thief, doing something good and being awarded for her deed. First of all, I was a bit surprised that she cared enough about returning the 5-year-old girl back to her father, and secondly, I was surprised that she stood there, arms reached out and ready to be “arrested” by the security guy of that crappy store that can’t even check when a little girl runs off, let alone has signals at the door that actually signal someone is coming in or out. That the security guy would show clemency to Alyssa was sweet though. He kind of knew that something awful must have happened to the girl sitting in front of him, and he knew that putting her into police contact might not be the right thing to do for her right now. I’m glad to see that there are people out there who show compassion. Although in reality, Alyssa got that compassion because she returned the little girl, she got that compassion of being told to get out of here and never steal again, because she took on a plot device that allowed this development.

For some, this is the greatest love story of all.

And finally, the thing between Eunice and Teri. I would laugh when it turns out at the end their conflict isn’t at all about their possible sexual encounter, which may have just been a kiss on the lips for all the writers care. I still find those two characters extremely interesting though, and it was lovely to see they got that moment during lunch time, as well as Teri’s weird face when she told Alyssa’s mother that Alyssa isn’t a murder suspect yet. That was almost an evil face Teri produced here, and one I almost laughed about.

By the way, can you even get a fingerprint from a murder weapon that has been in water for more than 24 hours? To end that episode with this scene is pretty neat, but I’m not sure about the scientific reasoning behind it. Then again, the knife could simply have an engraving that connects it to James. Which would make James super stupid, because he left the murder weapon with his name on it at the crime scene. He almost deserves to be captured by the police just for this. But then again, this might be the plot device that propels the story forward by a mile.

The End of the F***ing World (Episode 4)

Series 1, Episode 4
Date of release: October 24, 2017 (All 4)

This happened to be an interesting episode. A lot of things that I predicted would happen after the end of the previous episode did in fact happen and that made me very happy for a change — predictability was served, but the way it was served made for a more intriguing character study in the long run. Not only did James become an actual, emotional human being with this episode (realizing he is not a psychopath, realizing he just wants to be with Alyssa, realizing he has done something wrong), but he also started to look less like Dylann Roof with his cheap new haircut, so there is a stark and wonderful development right here. Also, Alyssa is kind of becoming the truly bad figure in this different love story, considering she doesn’t really know what to do, how to deal with the emotion she is having after Clive’s death, or how to behave and what to think while hanging around with weird and mysterious James. It’s almost like there could be material for conflict between the two — the road trip could stop here, and Alyssa and James could be standing against each other, and all this over a sort of misunderstanding. He wants to lighten up the load of his mind and accept punishment for the evil thing he has done, and she just wants to move on, forget that things happened (and she really wants to forget that image of Clive and his stabbed neck), and get to her father. Alyssa can’t think of James as the good guy, because he murdered someone, yet she doesn’t realize he also saved her life. Meanwhile, James grows out of his shell and decides to take action on his own, after being mostly passive through the previous three episodes (minus punching the crap out of his dad). In a way, Alyssa became the passive character by not doing anything about what just happened (hell, even her new haircut was styled by James, according to her voiceover), and James became the active character. That’s quite a change from two episodes ago.

New look, same attraction.

I did love the notion of Clive’s murder becoming the focal point of James and Alyssa’s story though. First of all, applause for the two detectives — oh wait, this is England, there they are called inspectors — I immediately started liking Eunice and Teri, and there is some chemistry and weirdness in their partnership that warrants its own television show. Hey, if someone ever plans to revive a show like NIKKI & NORA, which didn’t even make it past the pilot stage on UPN back in the middle fo the first decade of the millennium (I never liked the short-lived web series that followed out of the positive word of mouth of the pilot — it looked cheap and it never seemed to focus what it wanted to be), here are two characters you can take immediately, because they have been established already. I can only hope that Teri and Eunice will be recurring characters for the rest of the season. After all, Bonnie and Clyde-kinda characters need cops who chase them, and I still want THE END OF THE F***ING WORLD to be the Bonnie and Clyde-drama I was hoping for it to be after the previous episode. Which means Alyssa and James have to find each other quickly again and do something else that’s dark and messed up. Maybe kill another rapist and serial killer that gets them celebrated in the public?

The inspectors are coming to catch you.

By the way, I was so pissed that Clive’s mother burned the polaroids. When Teri and Eunice found Clive without the pictures surrounding him, I already suspected that mommy wasn’t too happy about her son’s legacy, but when her burning the pictures was depicted, I wanted to put my arms through the screen and hit Clive’s mother for doing this. Dammit, James and Alyssa could have been something like heroes in the world of the mistreated and abused — the teenage couple who roams through England, constantly comes across evil people, kills them, saves lives in the process, all while being ferociously hunted by the police. I don’t think that THE END OF THE F***ING WORLD will become exactly that, but hell, that certainly is quite the idea for another TV drama. I already feel sorry for what’s about to happen to James and Alyssa, even after Clive totally deserved to be murdered.

The End of the F***ing World (Episode 3)

Series 1, Episode 3
Date of release: October 24, 2017 (All 4)

James finally killed a person, so he will learn what it feels like to be a murderer in the next episode. That could lead him away from wanting to kill Alyssa, making it a little easier to fall in love with the girl, now that he actually saved a life and most likely realized he is not a psychopath after all. Maybe he is just an idiot who doesn’t know a lot and doesn’t think about consequences, but seemingly not a psychopath. This could actually turn out to be an important episode for James. He started seeing something different in Alyssa than his first (or after he killed the owner of the house, second) victim, and this could pretty much reboot his character and turn him towards the good side, maybe even starting to become more… mainstream. And as long as he manages to get his hair cut and look a little less like Dylann Roof, that would be even more splendid.

Two teenagers are having fun dancing.

There isn’t much to say about this episode, since James prepared himself to become the lifesaver, and Alyssa went through thoughts of needing to have sex during this episode, although it was unclear whether she just wanted to have sex or if she felt like she had to have sex, as it’s part of any 17-year-old girl’s life, according to the world views of men. I have no idea why either she or James could have put the picture of the owner somewhere else, so that the image wouldn’t creep up on James while he is getting blown, but for some reason Alyssa took it personal. The character must be so disturbed in her mind that she can’t even figure out a request (of putting the framed picture somewhere else, or to make life even easier, just face down) and instead storms off to look for a new boyfriend of the night. After all the psychology lessons I took via scripted TV drama, I’m starting to wonder though if Alyssa is in fact a virgin and maybe was (sexually) abused in her childhood, meaning she is a virgin when it comes to consented sex, but broken and abused when it comes to her childhood innocence. There must be something of a reason why she just wants to bone it off with someone, forcing herself to fall in love with James (even trying to make him jealous by taking Topher home) — yeah, she didn’t need to be raped by her stepfather for that to be her dramatic character arc, but there had to be some physical or emotional abuse in her past, and not just the power and dominance that comes from her stepfather, as depicted during the previous episode’s phone call, which would logically and understandably make her a bit of a crazy person.

In death, you lie in your heart-shaped pool of blood.

The episode had a WTF moment though, when James found the pictures and video of all the abused and raped (and maybe murdered?) girls and women. Suddenly I don’t wonder any longer why the owner wasn’t interested in protecting his house and didn’t even seem too shocked that a girl was sleeping in his bed. That guy’s mind must have immediately wandered from stranger to next victim in a split second, which makes him evil as hell. I celebrated James for killing him off the way he did. For a moment it reminded me of HARD CANDY — the polaroids and video James found couldn’t have been the only memorabilia of the guy’s victims. The house was huge, it’s imaginable there was an entire room of memorabilia like that, and knowing the French movie MARTYRS, there might have even been a victim in the house, maybe still alive, waiting for rescue or death. All the stuff I have watched, and all of it coming straight into my head while watching this episode. I’m almost as traumatized as James and Alyssa most likely won’t be after this incident. It’s probable they will define themselves as Bonnie and Clyde-type characters after this episode, which means THE END OF THE F***ING WORLD finally found something of a direction after three episodes. Which is cool.

Also, notice how Topher was so not into feminism, when he bitch-called Alyssa, and said to her that because she didn’t want sex, it’s unfair to him and himself only. That should have warranted a kick in the balls. It’s probably a good thing that Alyssa doesn’t seem to be the violent type.

The End of the F***ing World (Episode 2)

Series 1, Episode 2
Date of release: October 24, 2017 (All 4)

Well, every scripted program that ends with Soko’s “We Might Be Dead By Tomorrow” is a good scripted program. And it even fit within the narrative of this episode, as Alyssa was saying goodbye to her old life with her non-caring mother and her evil abusive stepfather, while James may have said goodbye to his thoughts of killing Alyssa, because he may have struck a connection with her he needs to keep living. In a way, this episode was very much centered on Alyssa, since she was the asshole to the driver who picked them up, she was the one who talked down on him, she was the one who had something of an emotional breakdown (albeit a quiet one), and she was the one who needed some emotional stability and hoped to get it with James. In the meantime, James didn’t even develop as a character, since he is still thinking about killing Alyssa all the time, and he is still very much a passive character. In fact, there might have even been an instance of him going back a few steps — he hit his father in the previous episode to steal his car, which is an active way of moving his story forward, but in this episode he didn’t do anything, not even pulling his hand away, when it was touching another man’s penis. Which is a little weird, but considering that this might have been supposed to be Alyssa’s 22 minutes of character development, I can accept it.

Alyssa’s moment alone after silently saying goodbye to her mother.

Anyway, here we are, having to deal with the darkness of this world. A British family man who likes to do stuff to or with teenagers that would either get him killed or into jail, and a 17-year-old who ran away from a potentially abusing stepfather does not want to go back to that life. Now I’m suddenly wondering why this show should actually have a comedic element, since it is perfectly able to live with the premise of its bleak darkness — the darkness the characters find during their road trip, and the darkness within the characters. Getting a laugh out of some moments seems incredibly weird now, and it’s a fact that I managed not to giggle a single time during this episode. This is how a television show quickly changes its genre between the first and second episode and I am kind of super impressed by it.

What a shame that the car already exploded at the beginning of Alyssa and James’s road trip. Granted, it’s a trope that the characters would find themselves at the side of the road during their beginning stages of the trip, but I really would have loved to see the two teenagers to be independent for an entire episode and talk about stuff. Seriously, the episodes are short already, so it would have been a no-brainer to spend half of one in the car, so that James and Alyssa can talk about life and all that dangerous jazz, form their characters, do some exposition for themselves, and deliver all the back story they need for the rest of the show. Although maybe I would have cried foul if that ever happened, since Alyssa and James aren’t people who talk a lot. They let things happen. Especially James. They don’t talk much. They give short answers and they keep their feelings hidden. Seeing them talk about themselves for 22 minutes while on the road really would have been bull.

It’s cuddle time!

The closing moment in the hotel room was sweet though. Okay, James had his knife out and for some reason thought that killing a crying girl isn’t what he wants to do right now, but Alyssa needing a little bit of true love is a story I can go with a long, long time, and seeing her losing the love she always wanted (from her mother, most likely), and trying to force the love out of James, who is still weird as hell, could soon cause some real emotional trouble, and I’m totally in for that kind of storytelling. I’m just wondering if it will happen though, since THE END OF THE F***ING WORLD wants to be a comedy as well, which means there will barely be room for actual character drama going down a dark route like that.