The End of the F***ing World is a dark-black comedy based on the comic series by Charles S. Forsman that Netflix licensed from the Brits. It’s eight episodes, about 20 minutes apiece, so all in all, it’s about as long as a Harry Potter movie. But it’s better. So much better.
It follows James (Alex Lawther), a withdrawn and disturbed 17-year-old who believes he is a psychopath. He’s motivated to test that belief by murdering someone. Enter Alyssa (Jessica Barden), a classmate damaged by a dysfunctional family (and a step-father who wants to get in her knickers). She takes a fancy to James if only because he’s different from everyone else in their high school. He takes an interest in her because he sees her as his first potential murder victim.
But that’s not how the events unfold. She confides in him, and he keeps finding excuses not to kill her (yet). They decide to ditch school, ditch their families, and run away together. It’s a road trip comedy, only there are a lot of a felonies involved. It’s not quite Natural Born Killers, but there are enough diner scenes to recall a teenage version of True Romance, of two deeply damaged people who find each other, who find comfort in one another while the rest of the world rejects them. Through each other, they find themselves. It is deeply romantic in ways that echo Clarence and Alabama.
It’s a fucked-up love story, is what it is. It’s funny, and disturbing, and moving. There are others they encounter along the way. There are also a couple of lesbian police officers with a challenging relationship dynamic pursuing James and Alyssa. But this is really about the story of James and Alyssa, and it ends in the only way a story like this could end.
But I’m not going to tell you how it ends, except to say that you will probably find yourself wondering if there will be a second season. No such season has been greenlit. You also might say, “I hope there’s not a second season,” and that is also valid. It’s a near-perfect eight-episode TV show that ends in a way that makes a second season difficult, if not impossible. But it’s such a fantastic show with such a brilliantly drawn couple that I would not be opposed to spending more time with them if writer Charlie Covell could figure out how to make it work without undoing the dark, romantic magic unleashed in the first season. Personally, I don’t see how it can be done, but then again, I never envisioned falling so hard for a love story between a psychopath and a rebellious teenage woman.
It’s a great series, and you should watch it, is what I am saying.