“The End of the F***cking World” is a near-perfect Netflix binge and, in all likelihood, an intolerable traditional television experience. Through three episodes, the adaptation of Charles Forsman’s comic book series comes across as a pointless odyssey copping themes and plot points from other, better stories: That “Bonnie & Clyde” is directly referenced does little to pique interest in the lead characters, James and Alyssa, as they embark on an unprompted road trip-turned-crime spree across England.But then it clicks: A relatively late turn — over an hour into the two-and-a-half-hour series — provides a much-needed sense of purpose, and suddenly “The End of the F***ing World” becomes a darkly compelling journey of self-discovery and adolescent confusion. James develops into more than a disturbed wannabe serial killer; he’s a confused kid trying to cope with pain the only way he knows how. Alyssa isn’t an uncaring, self-destructive disruptor, but a child acting out to get the attention she actually needs.
That their relatable motivations comes out at the same time the two alienated and alienating leads start acting a bit nicer to one another may lead to a misunderstanding: The first half(-ish) of “The End of the Fucking World” (we’re done bleeping the name, thank you) isn’t frustrating because the characters are unlikable; it’s difficult because everything feels forced. The world turns bleak to accommodate their own bleakness; bad people lurk around every corner; darkness is definitely defeating the light.
Once we understand a bit more about their decision-making, the show opens up and starts to flow in a more natural manner. It’s fascinating, fresh, and exposes the viewer to surprising emotional depths. The ending is almost antithetical to the beginning, in that it feels authentic and inevitable while the beginning feels artificial and quirked up. (Before you understand where the story is going, so many early scenes feel designed solely to provoke, rather than inform and drive the story.)
And that ending is already a point of controversy. The series aired in October 2017 across the pond (on Channel 4 in the U.K.), and it’s stirring up discussion in the States now that “The End of the Fucking World” is popping up in Netflix queues. Below, we’ll dig into the events leading up to a surprising, satisfying finale, but if you’re not there yet, just know this:
“The End of the Fucking World” is worth sticking with (unless you’re utterly intolerant of animal abuse, which is a persistent theme). Even if you’re not immediately engrossed — and who knows, you very well could be — keep going to discover what’s got everyone talking. Then come back and keep reading [ . . . ]
Continue reading at: End of the Fucking World Review (Netflix): Let’s Talk Endings—Spoilers | IndieWire