Flowers Season 2 (Netflix)
Written & Directed by Will Sharpe
Flowers is such a difficult show to explain if you haven’t seen it. While watching the second season, I thought it’s like The Addams Family but grounded and about mental health. The tone and characters are realistically macabre, a tormented family of creative types whose communication has broken down so badly they just simply can’t communicate with each other any longer. Creator Will Sharpe has given us a second beautiful season that goes even more in-depth with the Flowers’ history and works to heal the damage.
The story picks up a couple of years after the events of season one. Maurice (Julian Barrett) and Deborah (Olivia Colman) are working on their marriage. Maurice is on medication for his depression. Meanwhile, Deborah has written a book about what it is like to live with her husband’s mental illness that reveals some embarrassingly intimate details. Their son Donald has started a plumbing business calling himself the Pipe Man. Amy, the daughter, has formed the Pink Cuttlefish Band and started dating an older female vicar who works at the local church. Shun, Maurice’s illustrator, is drinking away his summer, depressed over the end of the Grubbs book series.
This season focuses heavily on Amy’s mental breakdown. In the opening scene of episode one, she meets an old friend of her grandfather, and it leads Amy to delve into his past. She discovers a book of paintings that seem to detail a curse that has plagued her family. This leads to Amy imagining herself in the place of the young woman in the book who ultimately murders her family, abandons her baby, and kills herself. Because other family members are so absorbed in their own individual crises, they ignore Amy until she appears to be spiraling in a manic episode.
Maurice and Deborah’s relationship deteriorates until they separate, and she moves out to her own apartment. Both of them become so fixated on the individual neuroses they manage to miss their children and Shun’s descent. Donald continues his buffoonish infatuation with Fat Amy, and despite his numerous missteps, she still gives him a chance. Shun is really the most tragic arc in this season, with the fifth episode ending on an incredibly ambiguous note.
You might expect resolution in the final entry, but Will Sharpe decided to make that entire episode a flashback to the day Shun came to the Flowers home for the first time. The effect is that we are allowed to contemplate how these characters have changed since we first met them. Some of grown in their confidence, yet still struggle on how to communicate their emotions. You can see both why Shun would be drawn to these people, especially knowing his own family has passed away. But there is also the feeling that the Flowers are still broken, and Shun just didn’t realize how toxic this environment would prove to be.
The final shot of episode five is at a level of beauty and intensity. I could see a viewer losing their breath. The subtle implication of what might happen is shocking and heartbreaking. I genuinely think that the final episode holds the key to understanding what happened next, even though it is a flashback. The parallels between Shun’s memories of the Flowers and his own family, plus the talk of the line between life and death, being so narrow really implies certain things transpiring. If you haven’t seen any of Flowers, I highly recommend it. Keep an open mind and know that you’re going to experience something that manages to perfectly balance dark humor and a realistic examination of mental health.