The second season of the MGM+ thriller series is a substantial improvement over the first and earns comparisons to Lost.
Plot: The series unravels the mystery of a nightmarish town that traps all those who enter. In season two, hidden truths about the nature and terrifying origins of the town begin to emerge, even as life for its residents is plunged into chaos by the arrival of mysterious newcomers.
Review: There are few things as entertaining as a great mystery series. When Lost debuted in 2004, every network tried replicating the balance of serial storytelling, mystery box thrills, and cliffhanger endings. The problem many of those series encountered were characters that audiences did not connect to. MGM+ series From, created by John Griffin, benefited from the skills of various cast and crew from Lost to help turn it into a hit when it premiered last year. Now, the second season of the series expands the ensemble and follows the Lost pattern by deepening the town’s mysteries surrounded by supernatural predators while continuing to develop the main and supporting characters into a cast we care about and invest in.
While I appreciated the first season as a decent successor to Lost’s unique genre storytelling, this sophomore run improves upon everything I was skeptical about. Similar to the mysterious hatch driving the mythology from the first to the second season of Lost, From‘s second season finished with a massive cliffhanger that found Boyd (Harold Perrineau) stuck inside a mysterious chamber, Victor (Scott McCord) and Tabitha (Cataline Sandino Moreno) investigating on their own, and the arrival of a charter bus full of new people to the township. It was a finale that answered few questions but asked many new ones and led directly into this new season. Right away, the newcomers on the bus are introduced, some of whom share startling connections to people we already know and others who complicate the power dynamic in the town. Without spoiling any of these new relationships, rest assured that the new additions to the cast do not dilute any of the ensemble introduced in the first season. Everyone returning from season one gets much better material to work with this season.
While Catalina Sandino Moreno and Eion Bailey get more structure to their characters, Scott McCord and Elizabeth Saunders get more character development as Victor and Donna, two characters who were highlights of the first season. Both get emotional depth to their roles, as does Ricky He as Kenny. There are some truly tense moments in the five episodes made available for this review, anchored by Harold Perrineau’s Boyd, who carries this season on his back with shocking twists and turns that many will not be prepared for. The first episode alone offers a reveal that alters the scope of this season, leading to a deeper mythos to From that will immediately draw comparisons to Lost in a good way. I found myself much more invested in this story this year, thanks to subplots pulling everyone together while deepening each character’s importance to the story.
While the character development and attention paid to each individual is vastly improved this season, the scares and thrills keep the audience coming back. The isolated and remote location of the mysterious town raises the stakes as the characters struggle with dwindling resources and the increased in-fighting from more mouths to feed and trickier personality clashes than last season. There is also increased violence from the monsters that come at night. The mysterious motives of the sinister people are explained more in these episodes, but just enough to keep you glued without explaining everything. Thanks to airing on MGM+, there is no shortage of gore and carnage on display, but thankfully most of it is kept off-camera, making it far more unsettling than if we were to see the attacks in progress. There is a solid use of tension in these stories and just enough blood to make you feel the guttural stakes these characters are faced with.
It is worth noting that some of the improvements this season could be due to the creative team shift. While John Griffin scripted most of season one by himself, the story for this second run features a credit shared between him and Jeff Pinkner. Pinkner, who worked on Lost, Alias, and was a key writer on Fringe, brings a lot of experience from the Bad Robot model of storytelling, which likely contributes to the more cohesive approach to this season compared to last year. The stakes feel much more imminent, and the ensemble story, as divided as the characters are, feels like it has been better plotted for this season and beyond. Undoubtedly, the directors this season, including Jack Bender and Alexandra La Roche, were working with a stronger batch of scripts which contributed to the overall improvements this time around.
While I liked the first season of From, I loved the second. An improvement in every way, John Griffin’s story benefits from Jeff Pinkner joining him to develop a sinister tone throughout these episodes that are set to culminate with what I am sure is another massive twist leading to the already in-development third season. It has been a long time since we have had a mythology-laden science fiction story like this that is worth tuning in from week to week. None of the characters are safe, which raises the stakes in a way that only works when you care about everyone in the cast. From is bound to grow a larger fanbase after viewers see this season’s premiere, and it will only grow exponentially from there. I am excited (and terrified) to see how this season ends.
The second season of From premieres on April 23rd on MGM+.
Originally published at https://www.joblo.com/from-season-2-tv-review/