Love Life S2
WHERE TO WATCH:
WHAT IT'S ABOUT:
As Marcus Watkins enters his 30s freshly divorced, he's as lost as ever. Forced to rediscover his identity as a single Black man in New York, Marcus must learn to find love again.
WHAT WE THOUGHT:
I really enjoyed Love Life season 1; what was so appealing about the show is that it didn't prescribe to the old traditional views of what love and relationships should look like. Naturally, I was excited for the second season, even more so when I discovered that the main protagonist would be a Black man. A rarity because the truth is that we seldom see love stories, and in general, just stories focusing on the everyday lives of Black people. This is changing, though, albeit slowly.
The second season closely follows the format of the first. Each episode explores a different person or relationship the protagonist finds himself in; it also employs a narrator who fills you in on his inner workings, his thoughts and offers some analysis on his actions. Where we previously met Darby (Anna Kendrick) just starting out her love journey, in this season, we meet Marcus (William Jackson Harper), who is 30 and more mature; I use the word mature lightly, especially at the beginning of this series.
We first meet Marcus at Darby's wedding reception; we learn that he is married to Emily (Maya Kazan). Escaping from the reception for a smoke outside, he meets Mia (Jessica Williams); they hit it off, and the pair start a friendship – texting each other, meeting for lunch, going to events. It doesn't take long for Marcus to catch feelings, which eventually leads to him blowing up his marriage. From there, we see Marcus head back into the dating world and listen; it's a mess!
We also get a look into Marcus' career and how he navigates being a Black man in the very white world of publishing and the frustrations that come with that.
Throughout the first six episodes, Marcus is looking for a temporary fix to cure his issues. So, there is no honest introspection until episodes 8 and 9, where he really deals with his insecurities and faces them head-on. In the beginning, he was too afraid to stand up for himself in both love and work; Marcus now isn't afraid to end relationships when they are not working and says no to being the token Black guy at work.
Just like the first season, the episodes focus not only on romantic relationships but also on platonic ones; I particularly enjoyed the episode titled "Yogi & Kian", which focused on his relationship with his best friends. A departure from the first season's episode which centres on Mia's parents, which gave us insight into where the character's hang-ups with relationships stem from.
I also liked how throughout the series, we got updates about how Darby is doing; it added a nice touch.
When it comes to the acting, William Jackson Harper is a charismatic lead. He carries the show well, and I grew to love the character as I watched the show. There was a lot about this character that is relatable. Jessica Williams shines alongside him; I have only watched her in the film The Incredible Jessica James. Here she brings great nuance to the character.
The supporting cast makes each of their characters endearing. While the show's focus is Marcus, you still get to know the other characters, and they too have some development. My favourites are comedian CP who plays Yogi, his wisecracking friend who always offered Marcus solid advice and Punkie Johnson, who plays Marcus' sister Ida.
The only issue I have with this season is that it does drag at times (hence the rating); where I binged season 1 in two nights, this one took a bit longer to watch.
Like season 1, the message of Love Life season 2 is simple; you really can't love anyone else until you love yourself. Love isn't this magical thing that once you're in a relationship, it's smooth sailing; it takes work and commitment; in the end, Marcus learned this and got his happy ending.
Overall, Love Life season 2 is a great watch; if you enjoyed season 1, you'll like this one too.
WATCH THE TRAILER HERE: