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PEN15's final scene "unearths a kind of emotional reaction that can be frightening"

  • Mic

    "This new half-season is arguably the least enjoyable, in part because it goes to the darkest places yet," says Brandon Yu. "You could say that it’s the weakest season, but that would be reductive, as it sticks the landing on closing out a show that remains entirely unlike anything else out there and once again features among the most underrated performances currently on television from its stars. Yet, these new episodes contain some interesting turns down the road, to mixed results." Yu adds: "The final scene movingly reveals the answer to why this show more than any other, as its cult following can attest, unearths a kind of emotional reaction that can be frightening — how am I still this kid, still this triggered by childhood slights and adolescent tragedy? The reason is manifested by this flitting for an instant in and out of character, breaking the spell of Maya and Anna’s fake teen selves: a part of us is always reverting in and out of the child self — you get older, but life doesn’t necessarily feel less scary. That feeling of fear, and also of the saving grace of friendship, remains a core, visceral human truth regardless of whether you’re in middle school or middle age."

    TOPICS: PEN15, Hulu, Anna Konkle, Maya Erskine