Netflix’s ‘After Life’ returns with yet another darkly comic and a tear-jerker of a season. Ricky Gervais’ Tony Johnson finds himself falling deeper into his depression, especially after he decided not to give others a hard time about it. If you thought the first season made you emotional, the second takes it a step further. Cutting back on the comedy, it focuses on Tony’s deteriorating mental health. If you haven’t yet caught up with the second season of ‘After Life’, head over to Netflix. SPOILERS AHEAD
Picking up after the events of the first season, we find that Tony and Emma’s romance hasn’t taken the expected flight. He is still not over Lisa enough to be with Emma. There are still some weird cases all over town that he needs to cover for the Gazette, which makes the days somewhat funny. Matt’s marriage falls apart, and the psychiatrist leads him on the wrong path. Postman Pat and Roxy get close to each other. The Gazette meets a challenge when the owner decides to sell it for a good offer.
Just when Tony thought everything was going to be okay, another tragedy strikes. His father passes away in his sleep. The next day, Tony shows up at work and requests everyone to be as usual. However, he receives kindness from all the places where he had shown it previously. Kath hugs him, even though he is against hugging. Roxy shows up to comfort him; Pat gives him a postcard.
Tony asks Emma to give him a chance, and let their relationship continue as it is, for a while, at least. Like ‘Groundhog Day’. But Emma doesn’t want to live in the shadow of Lisa. While the future seems dark for their love story, others have better luck. Matt and Jill get back together to work on their marriage. Pat and Roxy are going strong; a wedding might be on the horizon. Lenny and June are doing well too. Anne, too, finds a new friend in Paul.
After the funeral, Tony is at home watching videos of his father and Lisa. The loneliness takes over him, and he finally breaks down. Brandy is there for him, but that’s not enough anymore. He takes out the pills and thinks about taking them while Brandy tries to stop him. Just before he is about to do it, the doorbell rings. It is Emma, and she says that she will take Groundhog Day. For now, at least.
Is Tony Going to Be Okay?
We hope so. He came very close to killing himself this time. He had tried to do it before. He sat in the bathtub, the blade against his wrists, gathering the courage to do it. But Brandy needed to eat. The next time, they were on the beach. Remembering the time Lisa had asked him to come into the water, he wades in. He is about to drown, but again, Brandy barks some sense into him. This time, however, was different.
His last connection with the world is gone now. With his father’s death, there is no one tying him to the world anymore. He had also been getting worse ever since he decided to put a leash on whom he was hurting. The people around him had been nothing but good to him, and hurting them wasn’t something he would feel good about in the long run.
He put a happy face for others, but as we witness, with every episode, he feels worse, especially since the fourth episode. The death of another person he loved pushes him over the edge. There is also the fact that he doesn’t feel needed anymore. Everyone has someone now. The crisis with the newspaper closing down has been handled too. Why does he need to be there anymore?
Had the doorbell not interrupted him, he would definitely have taken those pills. Poor Brandy. Fortunately, Emma arrives just in time to save the day, not even knowing that she has done it. The first season, too, had ended on a similar note. Tony had been feeling hopeful about the world, and he asked out Emma. This time, as well, we find her by his side. But as happened at the beginning of Season 2, we also know that this is not a guarantee that everything is going to be fine forever.
Depression isn’t something that goes away as soon as the promise of a romance is on the horizon. The first season had ended on this high note, but of course, “happily ever after” is a concept of fiction. Just as Tony didn’t magically get over his dead wife then, it won’t happen this time as well. Will Tony still be suicidal, now that Emma has agreed to give him time? Of course, but her being there for him also means that he has one reason, apart from Brandy, not to kill himself.
He needs help and might go back to seeing a psychiatrist, though a different one this time, hopefully. With time, if he gives himself that, he will surely get better. The memories of Lisa, missing his father, and wanting to kill himself are the feelings that will keep coming back. But, one reason is reason enough to get him through the day. We will get to see more of his journey in the next season if Netflix decides to go forward with it. If not, then you can choose the happier ending and believe that everything is going to be okay with Tony.
Read More: After Life Season 2 Review