Two Summers Season 1 Review – Good acting can’t save this lackadaisical drama

Season 1

Episode Guide

Episode 1
Episode 2
Episode 3
Episode 4
Episode 5
Episode 6 -| Review Score –3/5

 

Two Summers is an interesting and well-acted Flemish series but boy does this show take its sweet time getting to the crux of the issue. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, and given this series originally released with one episode a week on terrestrial TV, I can’t help but feel that format actually better suits this mystery drama.

The story itself is rather cliched and has been done numerous times before in different formats, most notably the remake of I Know What You Did Last Summer on Amazon Prime.

The plot begins thirty years back from our current timeline. A group of 20-somethings prepare for one last big vacation before serious life begins. When one of the girls is raped, and the incident itself filmed by one of the other boys, it causes a massive black cloud to descend over the group. Who is responsible? And why did they commit such a heinous crime?

These questions float around the past timeline, while the present day timeline tackles another issue, directly tied to the past. Remember that videotape? Well, one of the culprits from the incident (Peter) receives a blackmailed message from an unknown number, telling him to pay up in Bitcoin or the video will be leaked and spread.

This comes right on the eve of Romee and Peter hosting a party on that very same island from before, on a secluded, sun-soaked vista off the French Azure coast. Inevitably, suspicions spread and as Peter recruits his motley gang of “trustworthy” men in on his blackmailed secret, he tries to learn who’s blackmailing them.

As secrets begin seeping out and what really transpired in the past and present collides, the relaxing vacation soon turns into a nightmare. They say that the truth will set you free but sometimes that truth can come with a side order of consequences too.

Those looking for a high-octane series full of twists, turns and shocks will almost certainly be disappointed, and perhaps that’s actually to the detriment of this series that the writers didn’t choose to go this route.

As mentioned earlier, this is a slow-paced, character-driven examination but the focus is strangely fixed for large swathes of the run-time on the guys rather than the girls. This is a series littered with long conversations between characters – sometimes upwards of 4 or 5 minutes on-screen – dominating the run-time. While some of the material is good, there are also bits of chatter that go absolutely nowhere as well.

Of course, this also has the knock-on effect of dragging out the episodes unnecessarily. While learning about the past is interesting, the events that lead up to the horrific night of the gang rape are littered with pointless bouts of drama or inter-personal issues that are dragged out far longer than needed.

You can tell the writers have been heavily influenced by the #MeToo movement and there are definite parallels between the men weaselling out or justifying their actions against the women emotionally scarred and changed from the experience. The show never bludgeons you with these themes though, instead handling them with care and presenting well-rounded characters that certainly grow across the six episodes.

On that same note, it can take a while to piece together who the kids are in the past compared to the adults in the present. Some of these characters look vastly different, including Luk and Didier, and given they barely resemble their teen counterparts it takes a while to actually adjust to who they are in the past. By around the end of episode 4 though, you should be acquainted with everyone. Although to be fair that’s nearly 3 hours into the show so make of that what you will.

Two Summers isn’t a bad series per-se but it’s also a show that doesn’t quite live up to its potential. Personally, I think the series would have been better served to actually shift the focus across to the women rather than the men, because framing this show from the guilty party’s perspective is a bit of an odd choice that doesn’t quite work.

Despite some good acting, the lackadaisical pacing, a weak ending and an overlong run-time make this a below average effort that could have been so much better.

 

Read More: Two Summers Ending Explained


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