Blood & Water S2 improves with age as we delve deeper into the story
When Blood & Water Season 1 dropped on Netflix at the height of the national lockdown in May 2020, we all turned to the streaming site excitedly to binge the second African Netflix Original series. At the end of Season 1, things are left up in the air, with Puleng revealing to Fikile that she might be her long lost sister, Phume Khumalo.
If Season 1 of Blood & Water was written to establish this ongoing mystery, then Season 2 is written to dig deeper into every character in the show, from Wendy to Chris and Reece. We see an immense amount of character growth – or reflection – and at its crux, it is this character development that makes Season 2 so enjoyable.
Blood & Water Season 2 brings in all the motifs we enjoyed from the first season and builds onto the tension, suspense and drama. If our main character Puleng isn’t going through relationship trouble or edging on expulsion, she is finding herself in sticky situations trying to unravel the mystery surrounding Phume’s kidnapping 17 years ago, discovering family secrets in the process.
Having such a complex main character is essential for any teen drama but Puleng often leaves us questioning a lot of her decisions, personally causing me to form a love-hate relationship with her. But then again, I cannot help but feel like without Puleng’s often misguided decisions the show would not be as riveting. If it were not for Puleng’s ambitious search to discover the truth, the show would have fallen flat within the first season.
But now with the help of Zama, Wade and Fikile in on the secret, Puleng’s search takes her to new highs and lows, unveiling the interconnectivity of the secret lives of Parkhurst College parents.
Setting the series in the Mother City, the show’s creators and actors did a good job of filming and producing the show through South Africa’s Covid-19 restrictions. Blood & Water, from a production point of view, stands strong as one of the best South African production’s I have seen for a show targeted at young adult viewers.
The show does not shy away from the drama that comes with growing up, dealing with serious issues that many teenagers experience in their formative years. Blood & Water is successful at exploring these issues without playing into cliché narratives or depictions. While the many subplots coming together in this second season might present a few flaws, the main premise of the series stays intriguing, to say the least.
Blood & Water showcases a lot of the usual editing techniques and plot twists we are familiar with in Hollywood television, and yet somehow remedies common mistakes made in teen dramas. One way they’ve done this is through the show’s casting, which presents an array of talented South African stars who play convincing roles as high school students, without looking too old to be on the brink of matric.
Another remedy is that they’ve intertwined multiple South African languages in the script without conversations sounding forced or overly scripted. While a lot of criticism of the first season was aimed at its soundtrack not suiting the tumultuous situations occurring on screen, Season 2 can be seen as moving away from these criticisms and curating a lively soundtrack including local artists.
With pleasant surprises such as a cameo from YoungstaCPT, Blood & Water managed not to fall into the trap of creating a second season that does not live up to its predecessor. Season 2 will definitely leave you wanting to find out more about the students at Parkhurst College, and more importantly, about the skeletons that lurk in their family’s closets.