On the surface, Killing It Season 2 is another show about how morally questionable choices are made everywhere – not just by the uber-rich, lest Succession gave you a different impression. But if you dig deeper, Killing It‘s biting anti-capitalism critique hides not nihilism, but actual heart amidst its very clever social commentary. Yes, there’s a lesson to the show, but the show isn’t just a lesson. There’s nothing harder to do than that.
If Killing It succeeds at the message it’s trying to send, while still delivering hilarious – sometimes bordering on the absurd – entertainment that is, nonetheless, hard to look away from, a lot of the credit must go to the acting. The writing is particularly on point, but with lesser actors than Craig Robinson and Claudia O’Doherty, Craig and Jillian would feel like caricatures instead of real, nuanced people.
As it is, the show makes you root for Jillian – and at times, relate more to her, particularly considering the decision she makes at the end of the season. But there’s something about the way Craig frames what can only be described as an anti-hero arc in ways that actually make sense, especially considering …well, the world we live in.
“We all cause so much suffering just by existing in this world,” he says at some point, and it feels like a callback to The Good Place, to the notion that there is – in reality, no way to truly be good. No way to beat the system. “The only thing you can do is try not to think about it.” Well, that and take advantage when you can. Either you do it, or someone else will. That’s just life.
Jillian, of course, doesn’t believe this, but the show couldn’t have both Craig and Jillian take a dark turn this season. Viewers still need a moral compass, or at least, someone to more or less root for. Jillian isn’t a hero, because Killing It isn’t a show about heroes and villains, it’s a show about the middle ground and the people who struggle in it. But even in that middle ground, there are always some who make better decisions than others, and the Season 2 finale clearly establishes who that is.
But the show also never makes Craig into the kind of character you can’t at least understand. Robinson plays a big part in this – he had us rooting for the Pontiac Bandit for many years, so it isn’t surprising that we’d now harbor some sympathy for Craig, even as he’s making wrong decision after wrong decision. But the smart writing that understands not just character motivations, but the socioeconomic factors that make characters like Craig and Killian make the decisions they make is the most important factor.
Overall, Killing It Season 2 succeeds, because just like the first season, it marries a great cast who understands their character with the kind of writing that is interested not just in the journey, but in the people, even while never losing sight of the bigger picture. In a TV landscape that makes getting attached to shows a dicey proposition, we have to admit we’re definitely attached to Killing It, and hoping this isn’t the last time we get to watch these people’s adventures.
The journey is, after all, never over. It definitely isn’t considering where Season 2 left off, but for a good team, there are always more stories to be told. We’d love to find out what those are in a Killing It Season 3.