Season 2 of Dear White People picks up after the dramatic conclusion of season one. Sam (Logan Browning) and Gabe (John Patrick Amedori) are apart and at war, Troy (Brandon P. Bell) has ruined the future political career his father dreamed of for him and Reggie (Marque Richardson) is struggling with the trauma of being held at gunpoint. Meanwhile Sam and Lionel (DeRon Horton) are chasing down a mysterious Secret Society while Sam is plagued by a Right Wing troll.
The second season of Dear White People dives deeper into its characters, their journeys and their search for equality in a racially biased world. I enjoyed seeing several different facets to Sam in this season. Her relationship with Joelle (Ashley Blaine Featherson) really changes as Sam brings her onto her radio show and as Joelle gets closer to Reggie. It highlights how Sam struggles to give up control. This theme is further expanded in her obsessive interactions with her troll. We also get to see Sam’s vulnerable side when she faces a major loss in her family and struggles to process her grief.
Lionel’s adventures into the College’s gay scene are amusing and often intentionally a little shocking. The show is really good at letting you see things through Lionel’s eyes so you can experience his overwhelm, confusion and excitement.
A lost Troy finds himself drawn to the world of stand up comedy and to Pastiche, which contributes even further to his confused identity and his fractious relationship with his father. This is only exacerbated when his father gets closer to Reggie.
For me the best moment of the season was where Sam and Gabe simultaneously interview each other for his documentary and her radio show. The explosive conversation they have not only highlights Sam’s rage that Gabe is being praised for his anti-racist work, but also commonly held beliefs on race and their unresolved relationship issues. Both the writing and the performances are razor sharp.
I didn’t love the secret society plot. I get that they were trying to get under the skin of the way secret societies have perpetuated systemic racism but I found it over the top and I wasn’t as interested in it as any of the character driven plot lines.
Another great, thought-provoking season that I flew through but not quite as good as season one for me.