Ben’s Breakdown | “Alex Rider” Season 2: Three Episode Thoughts
Alex is a teenager in high school in England who finds himself recruited by the agency MI6 (or rather a dark offshoot for more “dirty work”) as a result of trying to get to the truth regarding his uncle’s death. He’s recruited for a special mission regarding an unusual school for troubled youth from rich and powerful families. After successfully bringing the school down he is left alone by the department agents so that he can live a normal life. Except that nothing in his life is normal anymore.
Alex is in therapy for what appears to be PTSD. He keeps seeing the face of an assassin he encountered during his one mission for MI6. Nobody believes him and when an author is nearly killed because of a book he’s writing Alex becomes convinced that this same assassin is behind it. His guardian doesn’t believe him, and the daughter of the nearly killed author doesn’t want him around anymore. Even after tracking down the new location of the department and pleading his case the head of that team, Alan Blunt, orders his agents to leave Alex alone and no longer have any contact with him. This forces Alex to do what the agency refuses to do as he tries to uncover the mystery of the assassin and his connection to the hospitalized author as well as an equally mysterious game designer who is about to release a new video game to the world.
Alex Rider is an IMDb TV series from Britain and is based on a series of highly successful young adult spy novels, only this series doesn’t come across as young adult. The episodes in the first season took some time in getting the pieces put into place but once Alex was embeded in the school for troubled youth it took off with incredible action and suspense. With this second season, it starts as mildly bleak because of Alex’s situation. However, Alex does get one person within the agency to listen to him and that is when the thriller element gets kicked up creating a level of excitement that makes it nearly impossible to not continue mainlining through the rest of the series. It takes a risk by painting adults as idiotic in not listening to Alex (something that I’m sure many young adults might find appealing), but there is some redemption when one or two of them discreetly make the case that the agency is being completely unfair to Alex by abandoning him. This in turn starts to raise the question as to why he has been abandoned in this way. This is successfully done by some amazing pacing by the series writer Guy Burt. The story could have recklessly accelerated Alex’s role in the story to an illogical and unbelievable end, but for the first three episodes, Burt has placed Alex’s challenges in all the right spots that convincingly shows us a young man becoming even more determined to get to the bottom of this mystery and save those he cares about.
This is an excellent and very likable cast, especially with Otto Farrant as our hero Alex. We see him grow from your typical high school youth to a young man carrying more weight and responsibility on his shoulders than any person his age should have to do. Farrant displays a wide range of emotions, each with its level of intensity. He is an actor with a very large palate to work with making him great fun to watch. Ronke Adekoluejo is Jack, Alex’s guardian. She has a very warm and nurturing presence as she tries to protect Alex and do what is best for him. Brenock O’Connor as Tom, Alex’s best friend, is more than your typical sidekick. While he admittedly isn’t quite up for the life and death antics that come from being a spy, he does help out Alex whenever the opportunity arises. Tom is to Q as what Alex is to James Bond, and O’Connor plays the part brilliantly.
While I don’t feel that Alex Rider is a young adult series, at least by American standards, I do feel that it is a very enjoyable and exciting show. The action sequences are expertly shot lending themselves to some very tense-filled moments, and everyone is equally strong throughout the cast.
After only having watched the first three episodes I know that I can’t wait to finish mainlining through the rest of Alex Rider Season 2.
Both seasons of Alex Rider are on IMDb TV and can also be viewed on Amazon Prime.