It’s steady as it goes for season 2 of Hulu’s supernatural teen drama Light as a Feather, which picks up its story soon after the bizarre and somewhat convoluted events that brought the show’s first season to a close. But while the series wisely takes it slow with regard to further disclosing details about its supernatural leanings — specifically the curse that continues to torment McKenna (Liana Liberato), Alex (Brianne Tju), and Violet (Haley Rahm) — the show nevertheless sticks to what it does best: offer up a bingeable storyline that’s more concerned with the social dynamics of a group of teens than it is with the otherworldly terrors they invoked during a seemingly harmless game that is the show’s namesake.
To that end, Light as a Feather season 2 works to maintain the status quo it established in season 1, balancing its Pretty Little Liars-like narrative and structure with something more along the lines of New Line’s seemingly now defunct (but probably soon to be rebooted) Final Destination franchise. The latter part of the show’s equation has to take a backseat to more adolescent concerns at start of the season, however, as the series employs a start-and-stop method of storytelling that more or less sets the table for what’s to come. That means the season spends the first three episodes aligning its characters, so that when the occasionally overlooked horror aspect of the series is ready to kick in, it can.
As such, the first half of season 2 is spent retreading some familiar territory, albeit with a bit of a twist. The chrysalis that grows on the back of the “it” person in the group who mistakenly played “light as a feather, stiff as a board” is now making life miserable for McKenna, compelling her to play the game by any means necessary, including causing a near-fatal accident that was almost costs her mother her life. Meanwhile, McKenna’s ongoing and likely ill-advised communication with Violet sees her make a momentous decision that undoes one of the biggest moments of the first season. Though her decision is positioned as the last act of a desperate person, it only goes so far in assuaging concerns over the deliberateness of its function as far as maintaining the show’s premise.
It turns out, such narrative maintenance is something of a double-edged sword, as it gets the series back on track and ready to make use of its peculiar supernatural element, but it also demonstrates, a little too easily, just how limited the series’ conceit actually is. It’s one thing to deliver a spooky season of television in which most of the show’s main characters are killed off, but it’s another thing entirely to try and pull the same trick twice. The result, then, is Light as a Feather returning to its raison d’être, but seeing diminishing returns in the process.
That’s not to say season 2 doesn’t have a few new tricks up its sleeve. For one thing, the series introduces Adriyan Rae (Atlanta) as Peri, who quickly takes a romantic interest in the younger Alex, who is busy dealing with the arrival of her overbearing older sister, April (Alisa Allapach). Meanwhile, the show also welcomes newcomers Luke (Alex Wassabi), Ridge (Froy Gutierrez), Nadia (Kira Korsarin), and Sammi (Katelyn Nacon), most of whom will, unsurprisingly, find themselves embroiled in a life-and-death game brought on by McKenna.
The new blood takes some getting used to, but the series does its level best to find reasons for the teens to interact that feel natural enough the audience won’t scoff at the obviousness of the setup. But that’s part and parcel to the genre in which Light as a Feather finds itself, and as such, it’s not long after the new kids are introduced that some viewers might find themselves wondering who’s going to go first and in what horrible fashion. In that regard, season 2’s overt efforts to get back into the swing of things pays off sooner than expected, but just like season 1, the story eventually veers into convoluted territory as a means of raising the stakes and making the scenario seem more significant for the major players.
And again, just as in season 1, this results in Light as a Feather seemingly playing fast and loose with the rules of its own mythology. While that makes for some surprises, the downside is that the audience can sometimes feel a bit cheated as the show skirts its own guidelines for the sake of throwing those watching a curveball. Those quibbles aside, the season again gets a great deal of its mileage from Liberato, Tju, and Ramm’s performances. In particular, the latter is well suited to going dark as a means of demonstrating the degree to which Violet is willing to put her needs first, setting the stage for the violent cycle of season 1 to begin all over again.
While it likely won’t appeal to those who don’t consume Freeform’s offerings regularly, Light as a Feather season 2 will nevertheless keep fans of season 1 entertained, even if the new episodes are mostly more of the same.
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Light as a Feather streams exclusively on Hulu beginning Friday, July 26.