In the season one finale of MTV’s most underrated and fearless dramedy, viewers finally got closure with Jules’ story. And when one door closes, another door opens–Jules and Ophelia are ready to take on all of the injustices that are happening on Darlington’s campus, no matter the size, shape or topic.
But before we talk about season 2 or what injustices Ophelia and Jules are about to tackle, let’s talk about the epic season finale.
Ophelia and Jules had to handle a lot during the finale. From Tyler being arrested for Carter’s murder, to Harris figuring out their secret to even tying up loose ends with Nate and Jules, these girls have stuck by each other through it all. Their friendship is special, “I really wanted to create a female friendship that felt different than what you’ve seen before.” Creator Jenn Kaytin Robison says about Jules and Ophelia’s friendship, “I wanted it to feel nuanced and real and that was so much about unconditional love. I wanted them to find a home in each other and I wanted it to be this really beautiful, platonic, love story.It’s not about physical love, it’s a very deep, profound love because they found a home in each other. For the first time in both of their lives, they’re seen for who they are without judgement and are loved wholly for it. That is the central love story in the show.”
Speaking of love stories, there’s two other love stories that continue to prove that there is someone out there for everyone. One of these couples is Evan and Ophelia, who continually show what a healthy relationship looks like, but Robinson reveals that Stephen Friedrich, who plays Evan, originally tried out for Harris, “[Stephen] did a chemistry read with Taylor (Dearden) and we were like that’s bonkers, they are amazing together. I do think if Stephen had played Harris he would’ve been a character you’ve seen many times on TV. So to make Harris a person of color was important to us. When we had the opportunity and found Brandon (Mychal Smith) and everything came together, it was really perfect. But we could not stop thinking about Stephen. I put this little egg in the pilot of a guy in Ophelia’s bed, knowing that the guy in Ophelia’s bed would be Stephen and that’s how we could kind of backdoor bring him into the whole series. I wanted his energy there and I wanted him there, so he was very intentional and I love Evan, I love the character of Evan.”
Another love story that seems pretty strong right now, but could be rocked by a major revelation is Jules and Tyler. These two rekindled their love for each other at the end of the finale, only for us to find out that a piece of Jules’ backpack was left at the Carter’s garage–which ripped after Ophelia and Jules had murdered Carter. Robinson explains that they actually shot two different endings, “We shot [Tyler] finding the piece and not finding the piece. We went with not finding the piece because we wanted to save it for next season.”
She continues, “I like the idea of him finding it, but also [Jules and Tyler] just got back together…I kind of want to escalate the Carter and the vigilante of it all so it’s really like a massive thing if he finds that there.”
That isn’t the only cliffhanger viewers are left on. A big part of the finale was finally bringing Nate to justice. Even if the Title IX verdict was overturned by President Mays, she and Ophelia still took down Nate–vigilante style. Creator, Jenn Kaytin Robinson explains why this takedown was executed the way it was, “We wanted it to feel different. You still get that dope fight in the pizza place, but we wanted it to feel different and bigger. [The video] was playing all over the school, so everyone knows about it.”
With Nate taken down a few (a lot) of pegs, he finds that he and President Mays’ son, Landon have a common enemy–the vigilantes. In an earlier interview, Robinson said that the big bad has to do with the final scene with Nate…so can we assume that maybe those boys might team up? Maybe…We’ll just have to wait and see.
In exposing Nate, the girls also expose themselves, but in a more positive way; they take over the ceremony and tell the students of Darlington that they’re here for them. They are: Sweet/Vicious. In talking with Robinson about how the name of the show tied into the finale, she explains her process, saying, “I knew I wanted to dovetail the title of the show into the show. So for me it was like what else are you going to call them? I never wanted them to name themselves Sweet/Vicious because that would be too much. When you think about superheroes, those names are put onto superheroes. They never name themselves–the public gives them their names. So we were like, how can we do that? and we were able to start it with Brady, then go into the hashtag, then take the hashtag and make it that moment in the Nate takedown.”
Since the video of Nate degrading women and saying those nasty things was broadcasted all over Darlington, it’s clear that Darlington does now know about the vigilantes. So what will that hold for our favorite vigilantes? “It’s so much a part of season two, but I think that especially what we bring to life with the DA’s office and the way that Nate’s verdict is overturned, we’re trying to show that we’re not just trying to take down the rapists anymore.” Robinson says, “[Jules and Ophelia] are going after the establishment and the establishment is going after them. It’s kind of a new world that we’re able to open up and evolve the show. We still have a case of the week, we still have the stories and you’re still going to meet a lot of different survivors. In season one, we were able to open up and educate consent and show what’s happening between students. Now, we want to open it up to the establishment and find out what darkness is there.”
There’s so much going in Darlington, not just campus sexual assault. We see examples of this during Harris’ racial profiling and the hazing that the Kappa sorority. The college ecosystem is massive and Robinson points out that, “We’re talking about the establishment of Darlington, but that can’t mean it can’t be a mirror image of Washington. It doesn’t mean we can’t have characters that speak to issues that are facing our country for the next four years, but still kind of step in within Darlington and make them Darlington issues.”
Continuing on the topic of the DA’s office, it is shown that Harris is joining the girls in their fight to bring justice to Darlington’s campus, “He’s their inside guy. I think he’s going to be their legal counsel.” Robinson explains, “He’s not going to be out there—at least at the beginning, kicking ass. I do see him being the guy on the other end with the ear piece guiding [Jules and Ophelia] and helping him and being the Bosley, cause he’s not Charlie. I see him kind of covering their asses in a way they have not been doing before. Also bringing in new stories because we think back to what happened to Harris in episode two, being racially profiled. He will be able to make his voice heard and fight for the causes that matter to him with them.”
Although there has been zero word on if a season 2 will be happening, we talked to Robinson about her hopes for season 2 in terms of themes, ” There’s a couple of things that we would really like to do in season two. One of them is a sliding doors episode where we kind of see what it would look like, had (Jules and Ophelia) never met. Another thing that we would love to do would be like a vigilante party. Like if someone at school had a themed vigilante party so everyone was dressed like the vigilante and they did a take down there. I think that if all of our characters were dressed like Jules and Ophelia and you didn’t know who was who, I think that could be such an awesome thing to do.”
She does want episode 7 to still be the standout episode of the season. In this season, if you remember, episode 7 was when we flashback to the night of Jules’ rape, “I want to make that a through line in every season.” Robinson says, “So being able to do one standalone, really special episode, so whether that’s sliding doors or a musical episode or whatever it is, I would love at least one a season to be that one benchmark episode that stands out from the series and that you could show your friends without making them watch. I feel like if you watch episode 7 and that’s the only episode you watch, you’d still understand what the show was.”
Finally, the girls launched their website where Darlington students could submit their injustices and ask the girls for help. Robinson talks about the website, saying, “There were posts that we wrote, those are purposeful posts that we wrote and it’s not just sexual assualt that’s up on that computer screen. We wanna tackle all of it. We really want to go after every kind of story we possibly can.”
With that in mind, cross your fingers for a season two because we’re sure it’s going to be one hell of a ride.