James (Alex Lawther) and Alyssa (Jessica Barden) are weirdos. James believes he is a psychopath and has disturbing fantasies about killing people. Alyssa feels displaced by her mother’s new family and has absolutely no filter or sense of self preservation.
When they meet both see the other one as a means to escape their humdrum lives and they decide to run away from home. It’s not long before chaos ensues and they find themselves being chased down by detectives Eunice (Gemma Whelan) and Teri (Wunmi Mosaku).
I love a black comedy and it’s harder to find blacker than The End of the F***ing World. James and Alyssa are both extremely messed up and a danger to the public, each other and themselves. Initially I found them both quite a lot to take in. Once you start seeing the trauma both have them have been through and the healing effect they have on each other things start to click into place and they develop a weird charm.
Lawther and Barden have amazing chemistry and Alyssa is a really strong female character. I thought the scenes around Alyssa withdrawing her consent for sex were extremely well done and the moment where James first chooses to protect her warmed the cockles of my icy heart.
There are some great supporting characters. Eunice and Teri are brilliant and the confusing status of their romantic/sexual relationship is hilarious and fascinating. I also loved Alyssa’s estranged father, Leslie (Barry Ward) who must be one of the worst TV fathers in history.
If you can get past the initial “what the hell is going on here?” moments, this is an excellent off the wall comedy, in a similar vein to something like Misfits but without the super powers. UK readers will probably understand when I say it’s about as Channel 4 as anything could possibly be.
After the cliffhanger ending I am ready to jump straight into season 2.