Netflix’s second season of their amazing original show Love has come and gone, leaving me with a serious binging vacuum. Of course for me, binging is a habit, so I doubt I’ll be out of service for too long. Regardless, after waiting so long for the glorious second coming, I’ve dashed through the entire thing. Netflix released the second season on March 10th and it’s currently sitting in the catalogue lying in wait for its next victim.
Synopsis: Mickey’s baggage perpetually threatens to ravage her chances with Gus, but in the midst of constant turmoil their bond only grows stronger. Bertie struggles to understand the nature of her relationship with Randy, Gus’ man-child of a friend.
With one being an addict of several destructive vices and the other being frustratingly passive-aggressive, their chemistry alluded to a possible curative future for the pair. Following them through their individual tribulations was just as achingly awkward at times and at others every line landed like a joke with flawless execution. The second season takes all of that and renders it relatively mediocre. As great as the first season was, its successor eclipses it effortlessly.
Season one ended with a pretty small bang, bringing the two protagonists back together, after a period of licking their wounds and working on their own personal development. When they fell for each other, they fell fast. In the mummified words of Ron Burgundy, “That escalated quickly.”
Season 2 resumes seconds after its quondam’s kiss that was felt around the world (probably not around the world, but at least around the bounds of my apartment). From there, every moment is a kernel of charming goodness. The sexual tension between them is just as powerful as ever and Gus wants to explore it, but Mickey is reluctant to dive in.
Relationship pinball is all she’s ever known, bouncing from one to another without a moment to evaluate her true needs or desires. So, as much as you want them together, you can’t help but appreciate Mickey’s newfound conviction towards healing herself. Even so, their connection proves too alluring to allow them the choice and they cross the boundaries of platonic friendship.
They seek support from one another and their relationship becomes a safe haven, impervious to the ceaseless onslaught of drama invading other compartments of their lives. At times they’re downers in social settings with friends, but the trade-off is worth it. Of course, it can’t stay in a perfect state of felicity forever. More on that later.
Bertie, Randy and the Residual Assortment of Tertiary Characters
Now, what is a story without characters to ground the protagonists, talk them through their issues or offer them fresh perspective. Bertie was more of a meaningless character in the first season who served as giddy comic relief to contrast Mickey’s darker tones. Gus’s friends, many of whom we never received names for or saw outside of his “song nights,” were even less purposeful. That all changes.
Now they gain more dimension. Bertie’s unconditionally passive, naive nature begins to cause her unnecessary burden. Randy clings to her without a care in full dead-beat fashion. We learn that he’s never had a single job in his life and he’s content to live the rest of his life without one. Of course, this may bode well with Bertie at first, but everyone has a breaking point and eventually she reaches hers.
But stick with me here. Not all the emerging details of Love‘s trivial characters are as melancholy. Some of the characters, like Truman, showcase lighter endeavors and the protagonists connect with these characters more than they did in the previous season.
Mickey’s baggage has been hitching a ride from the moment she was first introduced, while Gus has never had much. “Rule # 7: travel light.” Mickey and Gus are really trying to go the distance, evidenced by the subtle actions like attending a work party together or meeting extraordinarily vexatious relatives.
At every turn, there’s a piece of Mickey’s past waiting to be treaded on like broken glass. Of course, I’m watching through my fingers each time because Gus remains completely oblivious of the history that he’s walking into. The sandbags of truth hit him without fail, leaving him mentally or emotionally exasperated and attempting an arduous recovery. I don’t know how he does it, but he still offers Mickey his support with an ever-growing sense of adaptability.
It all goes swimmingly until they have their first explosive fight of the season. Their fight is nothing short of the Evander Holyfield/Mike Tyson matchup, other than the infamous ear chomp. They raise their voices to frightening decibels, sling hurtful accusations, and smash thousand dollar vases. The fight leaves a lasting mark on their relationship and it seems as if it’s over before it even began.
In the last quarter of the season, their relationship faces the dreaded long d: distance. Gus’s career makes arguable progress as his friendship with child-star Arya leads to him tutoring her on her next film project.
In what’s unequivocally the hardest part of the season to watch so far, Mickey and Gus both react poorly to the long distance. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not hard to watch because of something as simple as being poorly written or acted. In fact, it’s just as great as the rest of the season. It’s hard to watch because Mickey reaches new levels of self-sabotage we’ve never seen her commit.
Of course, you had to know she was capable of it because she’s done it in the past and it’s a part of her destructive character makeup. Still, Mickey hooks back up with her ex-boyfriend so carelessly and without a shred of guilt.
Meanwhile, Gus sabotages his chances of working on a film with a promising director and becomes slightly depressed from loneliness. His attempts to bring Mickey closer only pushes her further away until he realizes that his efforts are in vain and she needs space. Once he comes to terms with this, everything improves.
Through spontaneously attending a group for friends and family of alcoholics, he develops a deeper understanding of Mickey and how to help her. Mickey drops her boy-toy as soon as Gus returns to town and she decides to hide her actions from him. It all ends with them choosing to pursue a committed relationship together.
I loved the second season. The character development reached heights unheard of from the first season. One of the core themes of the series is the idea of modern interpretations of love and how it muddles or supports recovery. The second season conveyed these beautifully.
Did you catch season 2 of Love? If you did, what did you think? If you didn’t, what are ya waiting for?! Leave a comment and let us know, we’d love to hear about how you thought the gang’s first shroom trip together was uproarious… until Randy displayed some, ehh, slightly psychopathic tendencies.