I immediately got started on Netfix original series “The Society” as soon as it became available becauseI’m a sucker for The CW type dramas like Supernatural and Riverdale. I was not wrong. As soon as I sat down for the first episode, I was already shipping Allie with Harry and I was already taking inventory of all the stuff these bunch of teens wasted while they were still trying to figure out what was happening to them. It’s safe to say that as soon as the first season ended, I was already anticipating the second season. I’m that invested.
Synopsis: Days after a mysterious stench permeates the town of West Ham, the senior class sets off for a week-long retreat. However, instead of being transported to their expected destination, they return to the place they came from. Returning to their homes, these teenagers find that they are the only people in the town, with all the exits barred and with no contact with the world outside their own. In order to survive, class president Cassandra (Rachel Keller) steps up, with the support of her sister Allie (Kathryn Newton), their good friend Will (Jacques Colimon) and a handful of their classmates to set some order into the community and find some hope for survival.
I really liked “The Society” from the get-go because of the great mystery surrounding the town of West Ham. There were immediately questions like where were the adults? Were they in the same place or were they in a parallel universe? How will they survive on limited resources and most importantly, how will they get home? More than this however, I was immediately engaged by the characters. They’re really nothing out of the ordinary. Girl harbors crush on her bestie, has an inferiority complex because her big sis who is good at everything and we get the lead character Allie. There are also a couple of other stereotypes like the poor kid Will, whose struggles make him an ace in the new society. There’s the rich kid Harry, whose life crumbles when he loses his status under new management. There’s the psycho Campbell, who relishes creating chaos, and the guards, former members of the football team who are tasked to maintain the peace in the teens’ temporary new universe.
More than the mystery of how the kids got into the mysterious place, the first season explores how the teens establish a new society and keep their town going despite being cut off from the rest of the world. It explores the struggle for power, and how it can save and corrupt. While the town is ruled and run by kids, the show dabbles at the evils of politics and asks who holds truly holds the power — the ones with the gold? the ones with sympathy? the ones who wield force, or those that genuinely seeks the greater good? It is sad to see how, even in a small society, discontent and misunderstandings can breed to betrayal and violence and how even a little power can change a person so completely when they drown in it.
This is why my favorite character in the show is Allie. I like her evolution from the insecure little sister whose only claim to authority was sympathy, to stepping up as a confident leader. The show explores her struggles in making decisions and she, at times, reminded me of Game of Thrones’ Sansa Stark when she assumed the role of Lady of Winterfell. Allie became an effective administrator, not loved by everyone and not always right about everything but at the end of the day, she had the town’s best interest at heart.
I also liked her dynamic with the two love interests introduced to her in the first season. I initially shipped her with Harry (Alex Fitzalan) because there was great chemistry between these two and Harry, being the damaged soul that he was, seemed to have the better potential for character growth, much like Allie. At first, I thought that Allie and Will would not suit but the fact that Will outright rejected Allie’s affections in the beginning and was pining over Kelly for at least seven episodes, but I really appreciated his sincerity when he finally realized how he felt about the town’s leader all along. My particular favorite scene was when he snuggled next to Allie in bed and held her all night because he was afraid he might lose her. Full disclosure that my heart melted into a puddle with that scene.
I liked that the series was able to establish the characters well and focused on developing their different arcs as the residents of New Ham sought to find order in their new existence. The Guards and what power does to those who have it – it was interesting to see how differently each guard reacted at the idea of having to do the unthinkable, which kind of clues you in on who will turn once a better offer was presented.
Grizz (Jack Mulhern) was my particular favorite guard because he seemed to be the smartest and the sweetest of the bunch. It didn’t seem awkward when it was revealed that he was into Sam (Sean Berdy) because he effectively laid out his character that way. The members of Allie’s close-knit counsel was also very helpful especially at the time she became conflicted by the burden imposed upon her. Apart from Grizz, Helena (Natasha Liu Bordizzo) had the best lines and seemed to be one of the more mature members of the community. She had a pretty good head on her shoulders and would really make a good adviser if she ever did dabble at politics.
The show also focused on depression, addiction, panic, domestic abuse and abuse of power that even the most innocent can become capable of in the face of desperation. Elle (Olivia DeJonge) became the face of the many women who tried to escape abuse at the hands of their partners and it was a very effective portrayal of the issue. Abuse can happen anywhere at any time, in any universe. I was really sad about how the members of the community handled Harry’s depression and downward spiral. If someone truly reached out to him, he would not have become a pawn to Campbell’s (Toby Wallace) ploys.
The Society delivered a pretty entertaining season and delivered a realistic take on forming a new society as well as the chaos that it entails. It was well written, sometimes, prone to inconsistency, but solid enough to merit a strong following. I especially liked the ambiguous ending that opens the door for theories galore. Plus, the fact that it left more questions than answers makes me more excited for the next season. Also, a great shoutout to this cast. I have never seen any one of these young actors in anything (except for Kathryn Newtown who plays Claire Novak in Supernatural) but I am really impressed by how much they made me care about them within the space of 10 episodes.
Don’t forget to check out My Top Theories about The Society on tomorrow’s blog.