Season Two of Back to Life on Showtime is Just as Charming and Far Darker | Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Friday, December 3rd, 2021  

Back to Life (Season Two)

Showtime, September 13, 2021

Sep 07, 2021 Photography by Showtime Web Exclusive
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The second season of this part fast-paced half-hour comedy/part super-dark, slow-burning sinister drama picks up three weeks after where the first season left off. The newly paroled main protagonist, Miri, portrayed by series creator and co-writer Daisy Haggard, is still trying to find her way back to some kind of life after her 18-year imprisonment, since she was a teenager.

The short amount of time that has passed since Miri’s release hasn’t made things any easier for her return to society. The residents of the small town of Hythe are still not willing to forgive her the murder they believe she’s responsible for, which was the main through-line for the first season, but that’s becoming the least of Miri’s problems. Instead, the people closest to her are the ones giving her static, most of which was revealed toward the end of the last season.

Miri’s mother had an affair with her ex-boyfriend, Dom. Now her parents are having major issues and sniping at each other in the cruelest way. In the first season finale, the bomb-drop was that Miri’s best friend Mandy was having an affair with the headmaster of their school when Miri was accused of killing his daughter. She is not on speaking terms with either of these people, not to mention Dom, which effectively cuts her off from everyone that was ever on her side.

But the burgeoning relationship with the newly-widowed Billy (Adeel Akhtar), her next door neighbor, is proving to be a saving grace for Miri, who, no matter how hard she tries, is dragged into questionable situations that she is doing her best to avoid. At the same time, she is the target of those who are still in pain over their losses.

While the humor of Back to Life’s second season is still razor-sharp, the sinister elements and the characters’ excruciating pain override the laughs, tipping the series into highly sensitive human interactions and dangerous, heightened feelings much more so than comedy.

This darkness is such a driving force of this season that it seems wrong to laugh out loud at Miri’s terrible choice to crimp her hair every day or the treasure that is Janice (Jo Martin), her parole officer who speaks the truth on the most basic level, making the mundane relatable and hilarious. Janice gets some more airtime this season, but it’s still not enough and she needs her own spin-off. Miri’s exchange with the bank teller when she tries to reactivate her account from 18 years ago is priceless. Billy’s mother (Meera Syal) and his family prove to be an excellent comedic break, which, frankly, with the amount of brooding evil underscoring this season, is very welcome.

Six episodes per season is simply not enough of this charming. if disturbing, series. It is, however, just quick enough for a catch-up binge on Season One before settling in for the slow unveils of Season Two. (www.sho.com/back-to-life)

Author rating: 7/10

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