Before I began writing my review for season two of Black Summer, which arrives on Netflix later this week, I checked over my review for season one. To be honest, I could pretty much copy most of what I wrote for that season and paste it into the review for this one, as it all still applies. This time though, there are some minor changes to the format and locations within the show, which didn’t always work so well for me, but thankfully Black Summer still continues to be one of those shows where I managed to enjoy every single episode.
Season two opens with a thrilling sequence, highlighting exactly what Black Summer does best – brilliantly choreographed single-take scenes, seamlessly stitched together to give the impression of a longer one-shot sequence. The format of each episode also remains the same as season one – individual stories, ranging in length, with some that naturally follow the progression of a particular set of characters and some that tell the exact same story but from a different perspective. Each story is introduced with white title text on a black background, accompanied by ominous music. It’s a format that continues to work well.
My only issue with the story structure this time is that there is a lot more jumping around within the timeline of episode groups. We are shown stories that are just confusing at first, until later on when we see a different story that takes place right before the other one did, and then suddenly a connection is made and it all falls into place. Piecing the story together in this way can be both fun and frustrating in equal measure, and is not for the easily confused (I guess that would be me then!).
Moving away from the town-based setting of season one, much of season two is set in snowy landscapes, as groups of survivors work their way North. The Manor is a large house standing alone in a desolate location and is the focal point for much of the first half of season two. A group of people are already using it as a base when our main characters begin joining them and there is a lot of arguing and discussions surrounding a plane that regularly flies over, dropping supplies nearby – one of them is even in contact with the plane via a radio. There are two bigger groups of people who are en route to the manor and are keen to reach the landing place of the aircraft. Occasionally, these groups engage in a gunfight, and to be honest, I often found this difficult to follow. With the zipping around the timeline that I mentioned earlier, I just didn’t always know which group was which and who I should be rooting for… or maybe that’s me just being easily confused again! So, I ended up just sitting back and enjoying the beautifully choreographed one-shots instead, loving the way the camera glides between rooms and floors of buildings, between exterior and interior locations, all the while tracking multiple characters and pieces of action as they unfold.
By the halfway point though, we’re done with The Manor, and the pace slows for the next couple of episodes. Despite that, there’s constant simmering tension and I felt permanently on edge, engrossed in the fate of every single character. Front and centre is Rose (Jaime King), a survivor from season one who, along with daughter Anna, are now a couple of hardened bad-asses, looking out for each other at all costs.
Similar to season one, all of our characters have a place they’re headed to for the finale, and this time around it’s the airstrip where the plane that’s been regularly flying overhead lands. The finale is a real rollercoaster ride of old enemies coming back for revenge and zombie attacks that threaten the chance for survivors to board a plane and head somewhere, anywhere else.
Season two of Black Summer is on Netflix from 17th June – http://www.netflix.com/BlackSummer
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Web developer by day, with a movie and TV watchlist that continues to grow as much as my spare time reduces! My favourite movie is Inception and, despite what everyone says, I do not have a man-crush on Tom Cruise.