If you’ve been secretly searching for a show to appease your dark and unremorseful side, then look no further than It’s the End of the F***ing World. Trust me, your sadistic nature will thank me.
It’s the End of the F***ing World is a pitch black comedy featuring the characters of James (Alex Lawther) and Alyssa (Jessica Barden) who form an unlikely partnership as they run away from their awkward home lives towards the unknown. James is a self-diagnosed psychopath that has mastered the art of killing small animals and is looking for an opportunity to graduate to a bigger prey; human. Enter Alyssa. She is an off-putting 17-year old that is hellbent on ticking off every person she comes into contact with but there’s something oddly comforting about James that makes her gravitate towards him.
James entertains Alyssa’s whimsical adventure in the hopes that she will present the perfect opportunity for him to commit murder while Alyssa is looking for validation from a male figure and sets out on a journey to find her father with James in tow. What results is a winding and often surprising storyline that manages to find itself in a very unpredictable place than that of where it began that keeps the viewer engaged up to the very last scene.
While the characters are interesting, they were not the initial draw to the show. It’s the End of the F***ing World is only 8 episodes and none of them go over the 22 minute mark which gives the ability for the entire narrative to be seen in a couple of hours. This was excellent for several reasons. First, shows that take advantage of a smaller episode count to be written in a more focused and succinct manner helps make use of every single scene as well as line of dialogue in order to tell the most complete story possible. There is the appearance that no moment is wasted.
Each decision or statement from a character will holds a heavier weight that seems to be addressed more rapidly due to the lesser episode count. With this in mind, the viewer is able to recognize more quickly if a show is actually good or not. It’s the End of the F***ing World handles this approach with perfection using fast-paced storytelling from various perspectives, beautiful cinematography that grabs the eye and a pulsating soundtrack that helps form the ambiance of teen angst as the two anti-heroes march ever closer to their intended goal.
One would be hard-pressed to find any negatives towards this show, but the main point of contention was its ending. It has yet to be determined whether Netflix will commit to a second season so, with that in mind, the viewer is left hanging on a huge what-if scenario in the last frame as we find James literally running for his life from the police who have mislabeled him as a murderer (even though he did murder the serial killer).
Being a creature of closure and to not have James and Alyssa’s story resolve and instead be left in that manner was absolutely brutal to behold. Both James and Alyssa were semi-likeable but mostly annoying for some of the choices they made throughout the show. However by the end, it was easy to become emotionally invested in the story and wanting to see some sort of resemblance of an ending. Instead, we were treated to that last scene that left many more questions than answers.
In the end, It’s the End of the F***ing World was a solid Netflix watch that can easily be finished in an afternoon. Its story, sharp wit, and dark humor should keep most guiltily laughing and engaged throughout its 8 episodes and while it managed to answer some questions posed by the two main characters it also managed to leave the future of James and Alyssa wide open for interpretation which was both exciting and infuriating all at the same time. This show plays like a well-written perfectly paced movie that will leave viewers wanting more as the closing credits roll.