REVIEW: Dear White People Season 2

SPOILERS

Dear White People season one ended with a break up, a broken window and a missing dog. This season, picking up a few weeks after the events of season one, follows the same storytelling format. For those unfamiliar, each episode, with the exception of the finale, focuses on a particular character. The viewer witnesses this character navigate life in the fictional Winchester University and in a world where racial tensions are as relevant as ever. This season is connected through the mystery of Twitter user AltIvyW, an alt-right troll who’s harassing the students of recently integrated dorm Armstrong-Parker, in particular Sam.

Sam: Following the events of last season, Sam is trying to heal fractured relationships with both Gabe and Reggie, bring AltIvyW down, and figure out the meaning behind the “X” markings seen around campus. In the latter part of the season, Sam deals with a personal tragedy that “brings all the feels.”

Reggie: Following the party incident, Reggie is struggling to find a way to move past his PTSD until he gets helpful advice from a surprising source. Throughout the season he also regains his friendship with Troy.

Lionel: In season two Lionel is navigating his romantic life with Silvio and Wesley. In addition, he’s working with Sam to find out the school’s mystery. Lionel grows a lot this season, standing up to Silvio and furthering his journalistic aspirations.

Joelle: Finally, Joelle gets a centric episode. The bulk of it is her burgeoning relationship with a fellow classmate, who unfortunately turns out to be a hotep. However, her relationship potential with Reggie is getting stronger each episode.

Troy: Breaker of windows, Troy Fairbanks is very laid back this season. He’s trying to find his voice for his comedy. His renewed friendship with Reggie leads to a breakthrough in another significant relationship in his life.

Coco: Last season Coco really came into her own over the course of the season. This season she’s taken on a more supporting role but is still a significant player in the season as president of CORE. She experiences something that could potentially change her life.

Gabe: For one of his classes Gabe is assigned a documentary. He decides to do one about race relations and how a white person, such as himself, can navigate those waters in a positive and beneficial way. He involves all of his friends in the project (who just also happen to be Sam’s friends), including Joelle, whom he has a clandestine friendship with in the beginning of the season.

Season two is just as strong, if not stronger than season one. The overarching mysteries of the season are both revealed and not fully revealed respectively, with the latter resolving (hopefully) in season three. The former is resolved in a very surprising fashion, near the end of episode eight with the reveal of who is behind the AltIvyW Twitter account. This season featured fun and (for me at least) unexpected cameos from Tessa Thompson and Tyler James Williams, who were in the original film. As well as a very brief shot of Giancarlo Esposito as…well, we’re not sure just who he is yet. If I had any gripes it would be that after a season where Coco was shown to be the second lead (or co-lead) to Sam, she’s really not featured as much as I expected, instead giving up her co-lead spot to Lionel.

Overall Dear White People season two is a strong follow from season one. The show continues to exhibit an honest portrayal of life in America for black men and women in these current times. Very often the depiction is too real that it borders on being uncomfortable.