Back for more: Unsolved Mysteries (Season 2)

Slightly less captivating than the first season, this show about mysteries which remain – literally – unsolved to this day, still managed to keep me hooked for long enough to recommend it.

A body found in a landfill – how did it get there? We still don’t know for sure.

The first season kicked off with a genuinely eerie mystery – a man found lodged in the roof of a hotel building, having seemingly fallen through it from a great height. Season 2 kicks off in similar fashion with the discovery of a body in a landfill site. Former White House aide Jack Wheeler showed up there after a short disappearance following calls of a disturbance near his house. We see lots of CCTV footage of Jack’s last hours, where he looks agitated and confused, which raises plenty of questions aside from the apparent murder.

For the rest of the episodes, we swap out last season’s broad theme of ‘injustice’ (recalling the murder of a black man at a house party in a highly conservative town) with one of sheer mystery, as we learn about abduction of two different toddlers from the same New York City park – just three months apart. Absolutely mortifying.

Another one for the mystery fans – and one that makes for really good book material – is the unexplained death of a woman in a hotel room in Norway. This was probably my favourite of the series. For starters, we don’t ever find out the woman’s identity, let alone how or why she died. But the story of how they tried to answer these questions is fascinating and a real treat for mystery fans. Of course, it is also grossly tragic – and one must remember that these are real cases with real people waiting on the end of a phone line to hear from viewers who may have information that can lead to the case being solved.

There is also, like last season, a paranormal episode, this time involving ‘spirits’ said to have appeared after the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan. I gave this one a miss, as I usually don’t do paranormal stuff where it is represented as fact.

Overall, whilst I wasn’t quite as captivated by the mysteries from the first season, viewers who enjoyed that one will no doubt enjoy this one as well.

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Quickfire round: Unsolved Mysteries

We all love a good mystery, although most of us desire the satisfaction of having the mystery solved by the end of the episode. Thankfully, despite being deprived of it here, Unsolved Mysteries still manages to be an enticing watch.

Reconstructions and archive footage are blended together, which adds to the viewer’s immersion in the mystery.

Although there is one episode on a massively-corroborated UFO sighting, the rest of the show’s episodes cover murders. First, we hear about the story of a recently married man who goes missing and is found dead days later in an abandoned hotel building, having seemingly gone straight through the metal and wood roof, a feat that would have required jumping from an extreme height. However, nobody can work out a convincing-enough theory as to where he would have jumped from to end up there. I found this one to be the most sinister of the entire series because of the victim’s relations to a shady businessman who refused to cooperate with police and the documentary.

I like that one episode is entirely in French, covering the well publicised murders of the entire Dupont de Ligonnès aristocrat family (well, everyone other than the father). This episode is probably the most horrific, but you’ll eventually learn that what happened to the family is not so much of a mystery as some of the other episodes in the show.

I won’t spoil the rest, but I implore you to watch them. Each episode is well made, with reconstructions and archive footage interspersed with current-day interviews featuring relatives and officials who worked on the unsolved cases at the time. There’s no central narration, just a careful telling of the story all the way through.

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Quick-fire round: The End of the Fucking World (Season 2)

We saw the true nature of both lead characters play out in full during the first season, so what did this season bring to keep us engaged? Not a lot, really.

A new character and perhaps the only interesting thing about this season

The thing that attracted me to the original season of this show was the insane premise – a boy who meets a girl and plans to kill her. Thing is, we know that’s not happening now. We know he likes her, and we know he’s not really all that psychopathic. The ending to the first season was quite epic. At the time, I really wanted a second season. But in hindsight, they really could have just left it there.

The show tries to keep the story alive by introducing a newly psychopathic character. But it all loops back to the same story, and the side plots are quite weak. The show felt very slow-moving, even for half-hour episodes.

You’ll no doubt have watched this already if you were a die-hard fan of the first season. If you’re new to the series – give the first one a watch, I highly recommend it. But you can stop it there.

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What I thought about: Elite (Season 3)

The scandal-hit students of Las Encinas are back. Once again, someone has ended up dead. Although the show’s many side plots are somewhat weaker than earlier seasons, its overarching strengths mean this season is still a must-watch.

You find out what they’re all looking at by Episode 2

What’s it about?
A quick recap of Elite in general: Sixth-formers at a prestigious fee-paying school get up to all sorts of scandalous stuff, but this gets taken to a new level when three comparatively poor kids from the local (now demolished) comprehensive get in on a scholarship. The elite kids can’t handle this invasion, and all hell breaks loose.

Each series is centred around a whodunnit that employs a flash-forward structure to build the viewer up to the final episode. But it’s also so much more than that. Elite has covered a staggering array of topics in its three-season run. The rich/poor divide, trophy wives, cancer, religion, polyamory, same-sex parenting, corruption, fraud, drugs, extortion, murder, sex, and even incest. And I’ve probably only recalled half of them.

I don’t want to spoil earlier seasons, so I can’t say much else about the plot. If you’ve seen earlier seasons of Elite, you can be assured this one is quite similar.

What do I like about it?
Those topics I was talking about? Each one is covered beautifully. Seriously, everything in this show is beautifully done. The scenery, the wardrobing, the casting, the music, the camera shots. Side note on the casting: I’m not ashamed to say that every single character is overwhelmingly attractive.

To be entirely honest, most of the season ran through without much of a surprise. The incidents that happen in Elite are only shocking the first time – so I’m a bit numb to them by season 3. But the final episode is something special. The tension in the club, the words cutting deeper than the broken neck of the champagne bottle, the final send-off. A few minutes are all it takes to illustrate just how deeply the characters are connected to each other. As a fan of the show from the start, it has to be my favourite episode so far.

What do I not like about it?
A potentially unpopular opinion: I didn’t care for Ander’s cancer diagnosis (hardly a spoiler, it happens near the start). In general, the relationship between Ander and Omar was frustrating. I know the show really wants to portray their relationship as some beautiful and delicate thing, but almost every conversation between them resulted in one getting pissed off, and usually pretty quickly, too.

Also, if there’s one person who can be said to be the main character, it’s Samu. In almost every show I’ve ever watched, the main character sucks. This is no exception. He flip flops between good and evil, all whilst being very annoying about it.

Worth a watch?
Absolutely, and especially so if you’ve seen any other season of the show.

By the way…

  • The show has been renewed for 4th and 5th season, but with most of the cast replaced. I’m really sad to see them go, but you can’t keep everyone together after they graduate, can you?
  • I have lots of opinions about this show so, if you want to chat with me about them, please do.

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