THE END OF THE F***ING WORLD: Episode Six – Review
Starring: Jessica Barden & Alex Lawther
Creator: Jonathan Entwistle
Director: Lucy Tcherniak
Writer: Charlie Covell
Based on the comic: TEOTFW by Charles Forsman
Review by: Joshua Leto
Generally speaking, I don’t care about little plot holes. Big ones bother me, but a show can have several little plot holes. I do care about weird character motivations, and if I can’t figure why a character did something, it can pull me right out of the narrative.
James and Alyssa surrounded the serial murderer and their murder victim (one person, Clive Koch, played by Jonathan Aris) from episode three with evidence of his murder spree, while accidentally leaving their own incriminating evidence. Clive’s mother finds the body in episode four and decides to collect this incriminating evidence before evidently reporting his death. We don’t see how she feels about it, only that she destroys some polaroids of the victims with their names written on them. In this episode, we learn that even though she burned the photos. She has left the camcorder, with the videotape still in it, on a shelf with a photo of her son in view of her dining room table.
I can’t figure out why the hell she would do this. We are never shown any indication of hesitancy about her decisions until the very moment it is necessary to move the plot forward. Early on in the series, I was worried that the adults in the show were not nuanced as characters. This is worse. This is a character that doesn’t make any sense at all.
The downside of this being a series is that it may have benefitted from cutting down some of the plot and focusing more on the characters that have been its strength so far. If this were a movie, as many people will binge it, it would run two and a half hours. If it were cut down and made into a hundred minute movie, it may have been able to avoid episodes like this one. We spend a good chunk of time on a character (Frodo, played amusingly by Earl Cave) who is unnecessary except as a plot device and slight comic relief. He helps our duo escape a botched fill-up station robbery and is gone.
There are still nice scenes here. Gemma Whelan delivers a nice bit of dialogue as DC Eunice Noon to the mother of our dispatched victim and then leads a funny bit with her frustrated partner, DC Teri Darego.
Alyssa is the romantic hero of our main pair. She acknowledges as much in voiceover. This acknowledgment is fitting, as she is the one dragging James into their quest every step of the way. This also feels like we are being set up to see her father as a grand disappointment. The next crack in Alyssa’s fictionalizing of her dad is set up when we learn that he is not where Alyssa thought and our duo heads toward his presumed location.
Verdict: Leave It. All in all, this is mostly a throwaway episode which could have been cut down significantly at the script level. However, I am still engrossed in the show overall. It has built up enough equity for me to invest in the remainder of the series even though this episode deserves the leave it treatment.