Netflix’s latest original series “The End of the F***ing World” opens with an uncanny dialogue by a seventeen year old boy. His name is James, and he wants to kill someone. James has for some time messed around with murder. Up to this point, never murdering anything besides, rodents, cats and dogs. However, at the start of the show, James has decided that he wants to kill something bigger: a human. When this internal dialogue ends, we are introduced to Alyssa, who would become his chosen one for his first murder.
Warning: Possible spoilers ahead
The cinematography of the show is very interesting, making use of still shots and strategically using color to further admonish the mood of the scenes. A deep, cardinal red is the color, signifying blood and death, that really impressed upon me at the outset of the show. I had a sincere appreciation for the originality and artistic nature. The show feels like directors Quentin Tarantino and Wes Anderson got together and made it.
The development of James and Alyssa was stellar in its pacing. We truly understand neither of them completely in the beginning. With most TV shows or movies, this initial understanding of the characters is enough. However, The End of the F***ing World takes it so much further in a manner that I wasn’t quite anticipating. James very slowly begins to fall in love with Alyssa and realize that he is not a psychopath. Alyssa, after realizing that brief sexual encounters was not what she actually wanted in life, also falls deeply in love with James. The culmination of the show occurs when James and Alyssa decide to “house sit” for a man who has already killed multiple people. Notably, this fact was unbeknownst to James and Alyssa when they decided to stay at his place. When he comes home, he assaults Alyssa, and James protects her by killing him. It is after this that James realizes that he is truly not a psychopath. Alyssa has a hard time coming to grips with what they’ve done despite being innocent of any crime. However, I thought this portrayal of guilt was very engaging and accurate. Most people wouldn’t instantly realize, “Oh yeah, everything’s fine we are justified in what we’ve done.” No, most people, regardless of the circumstances of the killing, would feel immense guilt over what they’ve done, and it is this guilt that for a time drives James and Alyssa apart. The emotion displayed is truly gripping, and at times I found myself wanting to cry for both James and Alyssa.
After they killed the man, they begin to go on the run. They decide that the best place to go would be to go to Alyssa’s father’s house, who at this point has a sort of mythic image in her eyes. She believes that he’s a great father. Meanwhile, the man’s mother comes by his house and finds the body, and an investigation ensues. The story reveals Alyssa’s father when they make it to his home, and it doesn’t take long before the viewer realizes that he is not at all what Alyssa dreamt he was. I found this very interesting because as humans we give things that we don’t fully understand qualities that satisfy us.
In the end of the story, the cops have found Alyssa’s father’s place as a result of him calling the police on them to obtain the award for locating them. Alyssa is detained by a policeman, and James runs away with a shotgun. As he runs, Alyssa is screaming and crying, begging him to stop and come back. The camera cuts to a shot of James’s face with Alyssa and the policeman in the background, and James’s voice overplays the scene. What he says is my favorite line of the series: “I’ve just turned 18, and I think I understand what people mean to each other.” After he says this, a gunshot goes off. The screen goes black.
I desperately hope they don’t make a second season for this show. The story was an absolute novelty during a time when most new shows are recycled versions of the same story. This was fresh and really left an impression on me. This show is about the nature of love, the nature of people and what true freedom is. As loud as the rallying cry will be for another season, the audience must understand that there was truly never going to be a happy ending to the story of James and Alyssa. We have to understand that the story was an account of freedom and love prevailing for as long as it can with the entire world against them. I’d rate The End of the F***ing World a 9 out of 10.