Dear White People season 2 review: Netflix's best series is back; darker, wittier and more relevant than ever
This time, the drama deals with the Internet and trolls and how that impacts any cause - in this case, racism.
If there is one show that really stands out on Netflix, it has got to be 'Dear White People'. The politically charged, timely and impeccably written drama is back for a second season on the platform and it has leveled up - it's darker, it's wittier and there's a lot more depth this time in the characters than just focussing on how our biracial protagonist Samantha White feels.
This time, the drama deals with Internet and it's trolls and how that impacts any cause - in this case, racism. It provides an insight into what it is like to be idealistic in a world where the opposition comes from faceless keyboard warriors. @AltIvy_W is the voice of the alt-right on campus like Dear White People, the radio show, had been until season 1 for the colored community. A very interesting conflict, the season depicts a very stark reality of how personal and cruel the Internet can get. Sam's struggle to fight these trolls is shown so intimately, you almost want to retweet her yourself. Everyone around her tells her to not bother, but Sam is totally one of us (another layer to her character) when she cannot stop herself - a usually strong Samantha, finds herself crumbling at the hands of racist bots.
This theme cleverly incorporates the concept of new age oppression - a kind of slavery that drives one to the brink of madness. For a community that is already having a backbreaking time fighting real-life issues of poverty and inclusivity, this is phenomenally soul-crushing. And call it the brilliance of storytelling in DWP, this is applicable to not just the black community but anyone else who has been made to feel like a lesser being because of their skin tone.
It's insane, isn't it? On the physical space, it is nothing - it doesn't slap you in the face, it's just a mean tweet, but on a closer look, it's crushing the confidence of the protagonist, a metaphor for the real world scenario of diversity. And we all fall for it, like Samantha. It's like battling a monster one stone at a time, only to be exhausted and totally distracted from the real problem.
The character development this season is all about adding depth to the people around Sam. I personally love how Joelle has grown from just a sidekick to someone who has her own life, her own views, and her own turmoils. She was the perpetually single hottie in season 1, but a lot has changed. She's grown in ways - she's more open to opinion, we see a glimpse of how she feels always being overshadowed by Samantha. While their friendship is stronger than ever (as seen when Trevor King, or should we say "Trevor Mind-ya" calls "Halfrican American" she comes to her defense), she also decides to come out and give herself the limelight by being a co-host of the radio show. There's a very sweet thing going on between Reggie and her too.
The entire 10 episode series has one episode each focusing on each of the main characters - Reggie, Joelle, Troy, Lionel, Gabe and the likes. Coco and Kelsey have also found their different sides this season - We see the soft, empathetic and clever side to Kelsey who was initially portrayed as the rich dumb girl. Coco has an abortion this season - a shocking twist after she's been the I've-got-it-all-together-always kinda girl. But as she does get the abortion, we see how practical she is.
I love the way homosexuality has been dealt with in this woke series - Kelsey's friendship isn't mistaken by Coco for anything else, just the way it should be. The wonderful friendship blooms between the two. Even Lionel's relationships and heartaches are portrayed very non-stereotypically, showing us that it's the same mess irrespective of the gender we prefer. Sorbet is still lost though.
Gun violence in this series has been toned down to fit the mood of the show - which has been powerful storytelling spoken in a subtle way. When Reggie gets a gun pointed at him, in spite of everyone saying he's a student - it shows us the ground reality of the way things are seen - if you're black you're probably dangerous. There's another aspect to it that people usually miss but DWP has got on point - the trauma that follows.
While this happens to the community day in and day out - one would assume that someplace like an Ivy league college wouldn't be the same, but there it was, out in the open. The trauma a man faces after being falsely accused just because of his skin color is lost in translation.
The season finale is very much like the latest Avenger's film: You don't know what the hell is happening or will happen. It's like a jump off a cliff that leads to a bottomless pit and you're just uncovering secret after secret. The Order of X is revealed and it looks like the narrator Giancarlo Esposito runs the secret historical cult.
I felt it was quite distracting from the hardcore political banter but it is a drama after all, and this addition makes it superbly entertaining! It's a great plotline to look forward to in the next season, which I am quite sure is in the making. While it's anyone's guess that Sam will be the next narrator (because of the X on her door), I have a feeling Lionel will be the one - our protagonists may change.
All in all, a good addition to the last season. But here's hoping that the next season doesn't waste guest appearances like this one did with Lena Waithe.