Created, directed by, and starring Ricky Gervais, the second series of his hugely successful Netflix series After Life aired in April 2020. The six-episode series follows Tony (Gervais), whose life was turned upside down after his wife (Kerry Godliman) dies from breast cancer, as he still struggles with immense grief. But he’s determined to move forward, as we see Tony try to become a better friend to those around him.
Just like the first season, the second chapter in After Life is full of the outspoken and often blunt humour that we love Gervais for. Or most of us do, at least. But even I have my limit with Gervais, and sometimes he takes things to a place that I no longer find funny. Whilst I didn’t mind that the over-use of the C-word, I was pushed close to the edge of the laughter stopping with this season, with any scene involving Ethan Lawrence really making my skin crawl.
Almost put off by Gervais’ often insulting and grotesque sense of humour, a lot of the comedy certainly doesn’t work as well in this season, although there is still plenty to keep you laughing. But just before I reached the point of admitting defeat, the tears came in, instead. This season is full of so much more heart as it begins to tackle Tony’s depression more seriously, highlighting the fact that it doesn’t always matter if you have great support around you, but sometimes nothing is ever enough. And that really hits hard. I would have liked this sincerity to be scattered throughout the beginning of the season a little more, but it does make the final blow all the more impacting at the same time.
Gervais has been hugely praised for his writing of this series, but he also needs to be praised for his acting. Every tear his character shed, I felt the pain behind. However, the series also feels you with hope at the same time, delivering on every level.
He obviously has a passion for this series and its story and will no doubt be proud of how well it has been received, but I think this is a great place for it to come to an end, as I don’t think those hopeful final moments can be bettered.