Is Into the Night Season 2 Running On Fumes?

Dept. of Nocturnal Excursions


Warning: This article contains mild spoilers for Into the Night, Season 2, and plot spoilers for the end of Season 1.

The first season of Netflix’s Belgian series Into the Night was a revelation. A tense, impeccably paced thriller based around a fascinating, killer concept: “Sunlight means death.”

Over six razor sharp episodes, the passengers of Republic Flight 21 went from dealing with what they thought was a deranged hijacker, to trying to survive the end of the world as they knew it. As radiation from the sun killed everything it touched, they flew ever westward, leapfrogging from airport to airbase for fuel.

As with LOST, and many shows since, flashbacks in every episode revealed a little more about each character’s life and their pasts, and showed us how it explained or contrasted their current actions. Alliances and oppositions were formed as they tried to decide the best path to stay alive, while the subtle, ever building techno soundtrack snuck up on you, ratcheting up the tension until you heard THE DRUMS!

At the end of Season 1, with fuel and food undamaged by radiation becoming harder and harder to find, the passengers sought refuge in a NATO bunker in Bulgaria, buried deep enough to avoid the sun’s radiation during the day. As Season 2 opens, however, it becomes clear that along with sanctuary, our heroes also found one of the most overused tropes in post apocalyptic storytelling. The asshole military.

This Asshole In Particular

It’s a trope that we’ve seen in everything from The Triffids to 28 Days Later. Having survived a baptism of fire in some new nightmarish world, our (civilian, relatable) heroes eventually run into some military meatheads who think they know best when it comes to surviving the apocalypse. Inevitably, relations collapse as the soldiers decide to take whatever they want, leading to short term actions that threaten our heroes until they’re forced to act.

In Into the Night Season 2, these strains are personified by the sneering, short fused Sargeant Felipe (Joe Manjón) and creeper Heremans (Coen Brils). The actors should be commended for turning in such instantly unlikeable performances, but in a show that moved with a lightning quick pace last season, the simmering conflict between the military and “The Ticks,” as they refer to the civilians, bogs the proceedings down. At least Into the Night avoids the icky sexual overtones of those previous examples.

It doesn’t help when the major tension for the first few episodes comes from an accidentally locked door (although this is revealed to have to far wider implications later). Even in such a short season, it feels like too much time is spent on the rising tension and political maneuvering as the soldiers bristle under the command of their NATO handlers and resentment builds against the civilians and the resources they consume.

It might be a necessary part of any “end times tale” as military and civilians try to adjust to each other’s way of life, but it just comes off as annoying.

Which is a pity as most of the other threads this season are just as gripping as the first season.

Sylvie’s Sins

The repercussions from Sylvie’s (Pauline Etienne) actions at the end of last season, efforts to coordinate with other survivors in Russia and the U.S., mysterious attacks, a critical mission to a seed vault, and new developments regarding the sun, are bogged down by the military assholes back in the bunker.

Sure, maybe we all fear the military in some fashion, but it’s been done before.

Thankfully the final episodes of the season cast new light on seemingly pointless deaths from earlier on, new allies and enemies appear, and we are back on track to having OUR crew of Sylvie, Mathieu, Laura, Osman, Ayaz, etc. together again. With only 6 half hour episodes every year and a half, I could do with these developments a little faster.

It helps that the show is still technically excellent. The showrunners are still masters at building tension through character, action, and things going wrong at the most inopportune moments.

Cue the Drums!

… and Ayaz. More Ayaz is always welcome.

The music from Into the Night should be taught in film school, so effortlessly does it build tension, beat by beat, until you suddenly realize you’ve been tightening your grip on your chair for the past minute. And then comes the blessed release of those drums. Apart from building tension, two musical pieces in particular this season, a moment of emotional realization and a “let’s get out of here” moment, show the music team aren’t one trick ponies.

The cast remain absolutely excellent too. A blend of nationalities and backgrounds not usually seen on TV. The mix of languages is also exquisite as they switch between French, German, English, and more.

Despite being only six episodes, “the bunker” arc ends up feeling a lot like the infamous Hershel’s Farm arc from Season 2 of The Walking Dead, where it felt like not much really happened.

With no Season 3 confirmed yet, I still hope that the show runners get to continue their story, but I hope they keep up the momentum of the first season and pray they have an end in mind, rather than repeating the suspense elements of this one. Also… CAN PLEASE SOMEONE RELEASE THE SOUNDTRACK ALREADY!!!

Into The Night Season 2 is now streaming on Netflix

Irish Film lover lost in Malaysia. Co-host of Malaysia's longest running podcast (movie related or otherwise ) McYapandFries and frequent cryer in movies. Ask me about "The Ice Pirates"

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