‘The End of the F***ing World’ takes murder mystery into new, refreshing territory
There’s no one who loves a good murder mystery more than I do. Okay, there probably is, but I’d just like to say that I really love murder mysteries. So obviously, “The End of the F***ing World” was recommended to me by everyone I knew — even my favorite true crime podcasts were talking about it. I took the bait and watched the trailer, but had many hesitations before diving into a full-on binge session. However, as soon as I watched the first episode, I was hooked and proceeded to watch the entire season in one sitting.
The show follows James (Alex Lawther) and Alyssa (Jessica Barden). James is a 17-year-old who believes he’s a psychopath and decides he’s ready to try and murder a human after years of killing animals. After being approached by Alyssa — a rebellious girl in his grade who is fed up with everything and thinks James is just as different as she — he decides she is the first person he’ll kill. The two run away together, Alyssa looking for some sort of escape from her terrible home life, and James looking for an opportunity to murder Alyssa. But of course, their road trip isn’t at all what they expected.
The two leads are really great in a quirky, deadpan sort of way. Jessica Barden, who you may recognize from the film, “The Lobster”, which has a very similar tone and dark sense of humor, is spectacular from start to finish. Alex Lawther is best known for “Shut Up and Dance,” one of the most disturbing episodes of “Black Mirror.” This is something I was worried about not being able to get over while watching, but James is such a unique character that it wasn’t a problem at all. His performance here was even more memorable than his performance in “Black Mirror,” which was not something I thought to be possible.
My biggest hesitation going into this show was whether it would romanticize the trope of the “serial killer boyfriend,” which really should not be a trope at all. It reminded me of the first season of “American Horror Story” with Tate and Violet, who were held up to be “relationship goals” even though Tate was an incredibly dangerous and violent psychopath who was really destructive. The trailer positions James and Alyssa as this cute but dark and quirky couple, without positioning James as an actual danger to Alyssa. I won’t go into how they subvert that trope to avoid spoiling the really great twists in the show, but if anyone has the same hesitations as me, just be assured that the show takes this trope into new and refreshing territory.
I would definitely recommend “The End of the F***ing World” for fans of dark humor and murder mysteries. The entire first season is on Netflix and consists of only eight episodes. Each episode clocks in at about 20 minutes, a length that more shows should strive for, in my opinion. It was the perfect show to watch in bed on a lazy day.Subscribe to The Daily Cardinal Newsletter