Heartstopper Season 2 Review: Gird Your Heart Lest it Stops!

Spoilers

Many shows are hits in their freshman season. But then the very real sophomore slump sets in when the writers are overwhelmed the decline in quality is noticeable.

The pressure is huge for a show like Heartstopper, where anyone associated with the show would feel the fandom’s wrath if the second season didn’t live up to the first one.

The Heartstopper cast and creator admitted to feeling it but didn’t let that get in the way of doing what they do best. For Alice Oseman, it was writing, and for the actors, it was acting to the best of their abilities.

Heartstopper was a breath of fresh air when it premiered last year, and many viewers from all age groups fell in love with the show and its characters. Season 1 took fans on a great ride that had them begging for more.

When Netflix renewed the show for two more seasons, there was cause for celebration. And now Heartstopper Season 2 will premiere on August 3.

We had the opportunity to watch the entire season (maybe twice, maybe thrice), and when we say you’re not ready, you are not.

Heartstopper Season 2 feels like a bigger and better version of its predecessor if such a thing was possible. It takes everything that makes Heartstopper great and elevates it.

The season finds Nick and Charlie at a critical stage in their relationship where their hormones go into overdrive, and they can’t keep their hands off each other.

Being in the thralls of a new relationship, they take every chance they get to kiss, and when Charlie quips, “Kissing is so much fun,” one can see that he enjoys it — unlike with Ben, where he felt obligated.

But kissing can be catastrophic when you’re in a relationship like Charlie and Nick’s, as it threatens to reveal your secrets to the rest of the world. Nick carries a huge load on his back.

He is still not out, and if anyone caught them (and someone does) making out in some unused room in school, he’d lose all the power if he’s outed.

The season explores coming out naturally, showing the pressure someone in the closet might be under.

Nick knows very well what Charlie has been through in a previous secret relationship with Ben Hope and how damaging that was. It doesn’t help when fate keeps setting Ben in Nick’s orbit, and Ben torments him with that idea.

Nick sets his sights on coming out if only to ease Charlie yearning to call Nick his boyfriend in public, but the goal causes them a lot of stress.

The season sees Charlie take the backseat a little as he supports his boyfriend in any way he can by coming out can be pretty personal, and there are some things he can’t help Nick with.

The season does a great job of capturing the different pits someone thinking of coming out can fall into and the effect that can have.

However, theirs is the sweetest relationship for people in their position or even regular people can have.

It is strengthened by their understanding and caring for each other so much. We find them in their relationship at a bitter-sweet moment, but they don’t let the bitterness overload them.

It is the caring words, sweet messages, Nick carrying Charlie when Charlie jumps on him, Charlie standing on his tippy toes to kiss Nick, Nick giving out those deep “Nick Nelson hugs” generously to Charlie, Charlie playing with Nick’s hair and vice versa, the list is endless.

And the “hi” never gets old, no matter how often you hear it.

It is the kind of romantic stuff that makes the heart stop beating. You’ve been warned!

Besides Nick and Charlie, Elle Argent and Tao Xu have romantic dramas.

Elle and Tao grow and realize that something has always been between them. From the looks they give each other to their care for one another, it’s surprising they didn’t notice it earlier.

But like any other relationship, problems arise.

The season dives more into their budding romance with a particular groove that they can’t help but steal the show.

One of the biggest problems is that Tao doesn’t want to lose his friends if things go south with Elle. He shifts between being all in and pulling back constantly, so much that it frustrates Elle. And when she thinks it will finally happen, she doesn’t like the Tao she sees.

The big question in the season is: will they find something common to build a relationship from?

What I loved about the season was that it gave more power to those who needed it and took a lot from those who didn’t.

One of my biggest issues with Heartstopper Season 1 was that it gave too much screen time and power to bullies and abusers. No one needed to see Harry that much, even if he was crucial in Nick’s journey.

With Nick on a personal journey this season, we see less and less of Harry, and with Charlie playing the role of the supportive boyfriend, we see less of Ben.

I can’t tell you how much better this makes the show. No, actually, I can. So much better.

The caveat is that a new bully takes center stage in the Nelson home, but he is much less prominent and more layered than Harry.

The season finds a way to do more, whether by focusing on the home life of some of the characters, but one thing it does better than others is developing Tara Jones and Darcy Olsson’s storyline.

Like most couples, Tara Jones and Darcy Olsson must deal with an unforeseen problem in their relationship.

But being the strongest and possibly the couple that has been together the longest in their teen group, it is a matter of waiting to see them solve the problem and return to being the jovial Tara and Darcy.

Giving them more screen time does a favor not only to their relationship but to Nick and Charlie as Tara and Charlie trade secrets on maintaining a stable relationship with their partners.

There is a definite growth element for all of them, not only physically.

Even the physical growth does a great favor to some of them, especially Kit Connor, who, as a rugby lad, looks the part. Goodbye to the tweets that called him too small to play Nick. He also carries Charlie Spring with much more ease now.

With everything being official between Nick and Charlie, Tao is forced to accept and spend time with Nick, and an unlikely friendship might develop.

As everyone deals with their drama, Isaac Henderson goes on a journey of self-discovery, and even in the middle of his supportive friend group, he feels lonely. He gets into a casual relationship with someone new, and it’s pretty eye-opening.

Emotional growth is present, especially with Charlie.

He learns to articulate and honor his feelings instead of apologizing for everything he feels.

Nick has always been emotionally mature, and that maturity helps him be present for Charlie when Charlie needs it.

What’s so impressive about Nick is how he can approach any serious topic with such care and compassion it makes people want to open up to him.

Charlie learns so much from Nick and vice versa; seeing what a healthy relationship can do for someone is beautiful.

Paris happens!

Multiple episodes of the season are set in Paris, a real turning point for the characters. The scenes look visually pleasing, showcasing many popular Parisian attractions.

But what happens in the city is the most interesting. Being free from the rigidity of school and home allows these kids to explore who they are and what they want. By the end of it, each comes clear with a verdict.

The season takes the opportunity to fill in some information from the past, including what happened with Tao’s dad and how and when Charlie and Tao became friends. You will see adorable younger versions of Charlie Spring and Tao Xu nerding out about something they both liked, and it’s the cutest thing you’ve ever seen.

The small flashes of the past in depiction or conversation make the show better.

The season closes with an exciting cliffhanger that teases an exciting third season but is not overdramatic and annoying.

I was not a fan of the little illustrations in the show, like the leaves, butterflies, or sparks in the first season. I found an appreciation for them this season as I understood what they communicated and was excited when a Heartstopper moment came on.

They communicated more than a few pages of dialogue could.

Rarely do subsequent seasons keep the same quality, and it seldom happens that a second season outshines the first. Heartstopper Season 2 is that occurrence.

Everyone in the cast seems more comfortable with their character, and they play the hell out of them. But like it was visible in the first season, Kit Connor knocks it out of the park with Nick Nelson, communicating Nick’s feelings, reservations, and concerns in such a beautiful manner it was a pleasure to watch.

The coming out scene in season 1 was largely successful because two actors with the same acting energy were paired with a golden script, and thus you can expect more of Kit Connor and Olivia Colman‘s magic this season.

Nothing escapes the writers’ pen this season. I saw some valid questions fans had about the show recently, and if I didn’t know better, I’d think they knew what was in it.

The season is so good it would have been idiotic to pass up on the opportunity to dive into the nitty-gritty details in the episodes. We will drop episodic reviews of Heartstopper Season 2 soon after the season premieres.

Don’t forget to check back here for the same because it will be epic! Bye … for now.

Denis Kimathi is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. He has watched more dramas and comedies than he cares to remember. Catch him on social media obsessing over [excellent] past, current, and upcoming shows or going off about the politics of representation on TV. Follow him on Twitter.

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