There is a story in here…somewhere between the melodrama and hand-wavy, pointlessly designed magic. It was in the books, but the translation to screen has been frustrating and very much in the soap opera vein. Frankly, the first season was a bit more interesting because there was so much world to explain. But, now that the foundation has been laid, I expected a lot more information than I got this round. Certainly a lot more about how magic works and about the creature histories since that is the focus of the second season’s uber-arc.
Instead, we get serial drama and romantic drivel… which can work if it is part of something bigger, but this season had about half the suspense and tension that the first did. Not what you expect in the middle acts of a trilogy. Most of the issue, outside of the scripts, is that Teresa Palmer (2:22) just doesn’t have the presence to own the show. There is something missing for me. And Matthew Goode (Ordeal by Innocence) keeps substituting intense glower for acting. Both of these characters are massively layered and full of potential, but somehow it all feels silly and without much real power under it all.
There are some nice expansions of character in this season for Edward Bluemel (Killing Eve), but most of the rest have small additions to what we know or expect.
With only one season left (if they cleave to the books), I’m going to hang out to see if they can pay it all off. Also, because they left this series on a collection of annoying cliff-hangers and I at least want to see how they wriggle out of them or not. As a magical, light romance in the vein of Outlander, this will appeal to many. I’m on the fence, but not yet running away, but I do hope there is more meat on the bones for their finale.