REVIEW: ‘The Outlaws’ Season 2 Highlights Joy and Trauma of Self Discovery

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The Outlaws Season 2 - But Why Tho

For those of us in the U.S. The Outlaws Season 1 had only recently finished streaming on Prime Video at the end of March. Yet, here we are mere months later being gifted with an entire series release of The Outlaws Season 2. The joint BBC and Prime studios production was such a success when it originally aired in England in October 2021 that the creative team and actors launched immediately into filming the next part of the gang’s story. I wish all shows were like this, life would be grand. The Outlaws was created and co-written by Elgin James and Stephen Merchant featuring the wonderful talents of Rhianne Barreto (Rani), Gamba Cole (Christian), Stephen Merchant (Greg), Christopher Walken (Frank), Eleanor Tomlinson (Lady Gabriela), Darren Boyd (John), Clare Perkins (Myrna), and Jessica Gunning (Diane). 

The show focuses on these seven individuals who are brought together to complete community service hours after being arrested for minor offenses. After bonding over their shared punishment of restoring an abandoned community center, the gang unknowingly puts themselves in the middle of a highly dangerous drug war. But just as they find a way to escape the situation, they land themselves right in the crosshairs of London’s biggest kingpin, the Dean (Claes Bang).

The Outlaws continues its trend of delivering a quirky comedy thriller that is packed with as much awkward laughter, as it is with flawed characters you can’t help but care for. In the debut season, I’d commented on how Merchant and James effortlessly blended the two genres in a way that felt so natural and it’s no fluke as they’ve managed to repeat it.

What I loved about this second season is how they’ve elevated everything, while continuing to honor the foundation of the narrative that was first introduced. Season 1 very much captured the themes of self-discovery through the shared trauma of being arrested, at a point when they thought they’d hit their lowest the characters involved found a way to come together. Season 2 pushes this idea of self-discovery to the next stage of examining their current lives and deciding what needs to change.

This theme of transformation is most notable in the development of the show’s leading stars Ben (Cole) and Rani (Barreto). They were so brilliant in their dynamic previously, and it continues to grow but season 2 will see their bond tested and pushed to the breaking point as each of them fights to survive the crushing reality. The mirroring of their stories creates an added level of tension because the contrast between their lives and the directions they’re heading is a cruel fate to behold.

We also get far more of the loveable combination of Lady Gabby (Tomlinson), and Greg (Merchant) which is more than I could bare. The comedic timing of these two and the narratives had me in utter stitches. I’m in awe at how they were able to film any scenes at all without descending into fits of laughter because I was howling. Some of the series’ best shenanigans come directly from these two, and it’s such a delight.

A newcomer to the show, Bang, introduces a very menacing villain that continues to show audiences that this series is leveling up from what’s come before it. Bang manages to convey a truly menacing character that has managed to cage the rage, albeit in a somewhat temporary state, but all it would take is one slip for him to unleash a monster. The tone in his voice is so perfect for the role as it is both controlled, and deliberate, yet coated in venom and malice. I adore a good villain, and fans of the series won’t be disappointed by the Dean this season.

With only six episodes, however, I was incredibly impressed at how smoothly the show balanced storylines for each of the seven characters, layered in the humor, and expanded on the tension. While the show as a whole comes together, each episode does a wonderful job of having its unique arc, with stakes at play continually being revealed. It’s not just one giant arc where you have to wait for the finale for all the best parts, each episode does a great job at standing tall and delivering high-quality entertainment. At some point, you have to stand back and applaud Merchant and James in being able to handle this within 6 episodes.

Watching The Outlaws Season 2 filled me with a sense of delightful satisfaction as it handled the fusion of comedy, and tension in a way that came together so perfectly. This is a series that will give you that feeling of escapism, and joy and a group of characters that despite all their flaws you can’t help but love. I was both on the edge of my seat, and howling in fits of laughter in a singular episode. A fantastic must-watch show that highlights the best of British television!

All episodes of The Outlaws Season 2 will be available exclusively on Prime Video Friday, August 5th.


The Outlaws Season 2
  • 8.5/10
    Rating - 8.5/10
8.5/10

TL;DR

Watching The Outlaws Season 2 filled me with a sense of delightful satisfaction as it handled the fusion of comedy, and tension in a way that came together so perfectly. This is a series that will give you that feeling of escapism, and joy and a group of characters that despite all their flaws you can’t help but love. I was both on the edge of my seat, and howling in fits of laughter in a singular episode. A fantastic must-watch show that highlights the best of British television!

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