It’s been a long wait for Sweet Home season 2, and it is here at a time when our feelings about all the actors are completely mixed up, giving us doubts where we are questioning how we will react to the characters rather than the story itself. The three main protagonists of the show, Eun Yu, Hyun Su, and Eun Hyeok, played by Go Min Si, Song Kang, and Lee Do Hyun, were relatively new to us during Sweet Home season 1. Since then, Lee Do Hyun has gone on to impress everyone with various roles, the most noteworthy of them being Good Mother, Bad Mother, 18 Again, or Youth of May, where he was paired opposite Go Min Si, and the internet went on to have a meme fest about them playing lovers so soon after playing siblings. Currently, Song Kang is ruling our weekends with My Demon. The trouble is that while all of them are formidable actors and have given spotless performances in Sweet Home season 1, it was hard to remember them in those roles now that we have seen and loved them as other, more lively characters. Perhaps the writers understood this, which is why they got so little screen time during the second season. It was easy to remember Go Min Si as Eun Yu since her body of work has allowed for easier recollection of that.
Coming to the story itself, Season 2 starts in the aftermath of Season 1, and after three episodes or so, it makes a time jump of a year. Essentially, season 2 acted as a missing block between seasons 1 and 3, while being a launchpad for the latter. The story itself has left us less than impressed with it, but before we get to that, it is important to address the positives of the season. First of all, it is wonderful how they have kept up the consistency of the name of the show. In season 1, “Sweet Home” was a reference to the residents of Green Home society. In season 2, the building was destroyed and all the people were scattered, so what made it sweet or a home? It was once again how people grouped together in a new home and learned to live with each other while looking out for them. There is the case of a family turning against one another and strangers standing together to fight the monsters inside and out. Sacrifices are made, and in many cases, like Eun Yu and Yi Kyung, it reminds us of strife within families and people stepping away from toxic situations or to sort out their feelings. We also see how a surrogate family is formed on the basis of good intentions and simple humanity, and others learn how to survive in a new world where people are scared of feelings because they may lead to monsterization.
But the sad part is that these very humane actions are ruined by the way the characters are written. Eun Yu already existed as the blase character in the Sweet Home universe. Was it required that everyone else also be like that? It is evident that the writers did not know how to write strong women other than to show them fighting or to depict them as being pretentiously uncaring. This becomes evident when you compare them to the men of the drama, who have diverse personalities, from being strong and controlled to vulnerable and even a little unhinged at times. However, it wouldn’t be the first time strong women have been caricaturishly presented on screen. Choi Miryeo from Vigilante comes to mind as a recent example, and towards the end of the show, she was impossible to tolerate. The same goes for Ye Seul or the others in Sweet Home season 2. Eun Yu is still tolerable because she is allowed to be a real person at times. Even Yi Kyung is given that luxury, though it is painfully obvious that it is because of her motherhood arc, and no one can convince us that this isn’t sexist. None of this is to say that women aren’t given enough importance in the show, but they are obviously badly written.
Secondly, there is such a lack of intelligent discussion in the series. You are given a mad scientist who is able to get along with people because they are self-sacrificing. Whatever the politics of the situation, it works. Secondly, there is constant observation of the changing nature of the monsters, yet not once is there a proper discussion of them, their anatomy, or their overall behavioral tendencies. There are just off-handed observations that leave the audience feeling very dissatisfied at the end of it. The point of making science out of body gore and horror was missed. Finally, we cannot stress enough that the storytelling of Sweet Home season 2 was simply too chaotic. At times, it is very organized, and at other times, there is too much going on at once. For some reason, we think back to the early seasons of The Walking Dead and how the audience was taken through the building of the new world and how it is sorely lacking in Sweet Home. While the former show may have gone off the rails, it has still set a benchmark that Sweet Home achieved in season 1 and then slipped off in season 2.
Essentially, Sweet Home season 2 could have gone a lot better, though we agree with the concepts it introduced here. Perhaps it could have been two episodes shorter, Doctor Lim should have been more than a raging maniac, and we should have gotten a better look at the bureaucracy beyond the first few episodes. Had everyone given up on the world, or was there some system in place that still involved the leaders of the country? Wouldn’t that be an important question to answer, considering the twist introduced in the last few minutes of the season? Overall, Sweet Home season 2 cannot be skipped, even though there is nothing we would like more. That is because we have high hopes for season 3, and this bridge cannot be burned. Just manage your expectations for it, and it will be fine.