The second season of Unmarried finally debuted on Monday.
The drama series, which initially aired its first season on 1Magic back in 2018, left on an explosive cliff hanger when Thembi’s cover was blown on her infidelity. The season 2 premiere on Mzansi Magic though, decked out its fair share of grief, raging lust, a public scandal, and new responsibilities.
UNMARRIED SEASON 2 EPISODE 1 RECAP
Brenda (Renate Stuurman)’s dating life always left much to be desired. After being dogged by her ex, who tried getting married right under her nose, we just knew. Add to that her situation with the security guard, and it just couldn’t get any clearer that the good sis needed a power nap from it all.
Yeah, that would have been easier if the men in this series gave us any hope. Instead, she ended up being sexually harassed by her boss, who wanted to sleep with her in exchange for a promotion.
Season 2 kicked off with Thembi (Tembisa Mdoda) yanking her off to attend a relationship seminar. There, she ends up being taken out on a date by Ernest, the handsome guy responsible for the whole joint.
Though it ended up with some steamy sex, the date was meant to have been some sort of practice as part of the program. We need to attend more seminars.
Our guess is Ernest (Sisa Hewana) will be in the picture a lot this season. He could be the rare gem she’s been looking for. Or, if Brenda has not healed, another scam.
THE DEATH OF LESEGO
We were quite bummed to find out the character of Lesego (portrayed by Keke Mphuthi on season one), had been killed off. Her character development had been impressive. The writers gave us ample material for some reflection on our own preconceived notions.
At first, she was the ‘Slay Queen’ of the trio, dating rich men to maintain her flashy lifestyle.
However, after falling pregnant with Kenny’s child, she lost favor with the psychopathic blesser. All the lies and promises crumbled as his true colours spilled out all over the mess he refused to man up to.
As her glamorous world tumbled, the show took us back to the poor home she grew up in. It’s there we found out that as a little girl, her mother had pimped her to old men for money.
We can’t get over how heartbreaking that was.
Fast forward season two; After her little tryst with Ernest, Brenda gets an emotional call from a tearful Thembi. Lesego has died. She leaves behind a complex maze of unresolved issues. And, to everyone’s shock, has also left her baby to Brenda.
Meanwhile, Thembi’s affair with Steve may have devastated the remains of her already frail marriage in the previous season, but it looks like she and Bongani have been working at rehabilitating it. That’s until Steve decides to show up at the Lesego’s memorial, triggering Bongani off into a manic tantrum.
OUR REVIEW OF UNMARRIED SEASON2, SO FAR
The first thing worth noting is that the show has maintained the standard it set up in the first season. It was a decent one. Consistency is key, as is a seamless continuity between seasons. Unmarried has remained anchored in its premise – three different women navigating life in Joburg.
Brenda is still the corporate beast. She’s looking super bossy in her Range Rover, and almost just as vulnerable when it comes to relationships as she was on the first season. Of course we are waiting to see her evolution, but we are glad that didn’t happen during the show’s absence.
Thembi, on the other hand, starts off dealing with the decline of her marriage.
Being the only mother in the circle, her maternal instincts are always kicking in. We’d bet that this is part of the reason she had been so adamant of ‘saving’ Lesego from transactional dating.
What’s more; the show’s comeback on the screen was a refreshing reminder of how good South African TV drama shows can actually be. With telenovelas and soapies taking up all the prime time slots lately, there’s been a rather unfortunate drying up of seasonal dramas.
And it makes sense – telenovelas are the hot thing, they save channels money. Instead of commissioning new titles, why not fill the key slots with working formulas, which also keep cheques flowing for the crews?
Less fortunate though is their impact on the diversity of content.
Unmarried is a drama series with a limited span on air, so the pace is riveting. In one episode, they needed to refresh viewers on the key plotlines from last season, introduce a host of new characters and rev up the rolling out of the new storylines. They succeeded on all fronts.
With that, Claudia entered the chat. She seems to be a Lesego prototype – with high glam and the obvious love for the finer things in life. Played by Lunathi Mampofu (Former ‘Emmarentia’ on ‘The River’), she descended from a chopper. Hers will be an interesting character to find out.
Another win for the show is the writers prioritise authenticity. Unlike many of the new local productions, we aren’t seeing a desperate attempt at relevance by tossing around random social media references. The focus is on exploring the lives, psychologically and externally, of the characters as far as possible.
THE NOT SO GOOD
Unmarried likes caricatures and prototypes. We don’t.
Lesego had a gay close friend, whose whole existence served no other real function other than being the low-frequency gay friend who couldn’t maintain loyalty during the tough times. Claudia struts into the picture fresh from a chopper, in her high fashion. We meet her friend Cam, a social media influencer.
Oh, he’s the gay friend this time. It’s like they aren’t even trying at this point.
While it remains to be seen if the show will actually move beyond the outdated trope of gay men accessories to glam girls, we already rolled eyes the few times it was evident that “the cuz” was yet another queer character displaying tired presentations of queerness.
Entertaining it is, but the danger there lies in establishing a false narrative on gay men really being the same person. Stereotypes are tiring.
Unmarried is one of our favourite shows, and we are glad to see they’ve delivered some good work to kick off the season.
Unmarried season 2 airs on Mzansi Magic on Mondays at 20:00.
Squid Game Ending Explained; We’ve Been Scammed
We’ve been had, and Squid Game is here to prove it.
When the end of the South Korean horror drama arrives on the ninth episode, the winner finds himself harrowed by what the coveted prize has cost his soul. In the rat race for survival, along with a better life that hinges on the never ending hustle, there’s no time to stop and see the horror our lives become. By the end, we see how the winner has sold his soul for a crappy deal that came with a few toys, and a happy meal.
A group of 456 players are mysteriously invited to take part in a set of children’s games for a grand prize of $38 million, which will be enough to give the winner the financial freedom they desperately need. The players are selected from different walks of life, with the burden of excessive debt being their biggest motivation to give the Game a go.
The first of deepening terrors comes during the first game, when the players discover that penalties for losing in the challenges will be death. DEATH. Horrified, the players initially vote to leave and return to their lives.
This noble departure doesn’t last long; their material realities as fugitives on the run from debt collectors only highlights the glow of the precious promise they’ve now left behind. When they return for the second time, they now consent to their highly probable deaths.
Led by Lee Jung-jae, who plays Seong Gi-hun, a taxi driver with a gambling addiction, the South Korean series has become somewhat of a global phenomenon. Now the most streamed Korean series of all time, Squid Game is also said to be on pace to dethrone Bridgerton as the most streamed series in the history of Netflix. And it’s with good reason. Squid Game is a trip.
Survival is the drive. The blues of a broke life pile up for Seong Gi-hun, who’s daughter is being taken away to the US by her mother and step father. His mother is battling deteriorating diabetes and even in her frail condition, is still working hard to make ends meet. It’s during the peak of his frustrations that Gi-hun is randomly invited to take part in the Game.
After accepting the offer, he finds himself in a discreet location along with 455 players, who are also drowning in debt. The players are kept under an authoritarian system of surveillance. Masked guards in pink suits keep the scene under control under the supervision of the Front Man. Gi-hun allies with other players, including his childhood friend Cho Sang-woo, as a the most strategic way to survive the bloody challenges.
Amongst those that end up in this team is player 001, a frail old man who who became his “gganbu”. Sae-byeok, who was also in the team, was killed by Sang-woo, Gi-hun’s childhood friend, team member and flip-flopping ally. Several other team members had to be killed by their team mates, which revealed the wickedness of the games.
In the end, Gi-hun’s victory came without an apology. He had to defeat a close ally in the games, the old and frail player 001. They’d bonded throughout their time, but in the end he had to advance himself against those he’d built alliances. As the games progressed, the players found themselves having to face tough calls. Someone else has to die for you to make it another day.
After a series of brutal games, it comes down to childhood friends Gi-hun and Cho Sang-woo. They’d played different games, with Sang-woo having played hard and stopping at nothing to win. Gi-hun is mad at Sang-woo for a series of betrayals, including him stabbing Sae-byeok to her death. In the end, Gi-hun wins when Sang-woo apologised and kills himself.
Yet despite emerging a winner, Gi-hun finds that the cost of becoming an overnight billionaire has bankrupted his soul. For a year following the day his bank account was loaded with a nine zero figure, he didn’t touch the money. After all, he returned to find his mother dead on the floor. One of his motivations was getting the money to get her medical help over her advancing diabetes.
Gi-hun is clearly troubled by the bodies upon which his new wealth rests. A year passes and he hasn’t touched the money – even oddly reverting to old patterns of asking for loans to get by. It might be late to be so concerned about the moral questions surrounding the games now – the long and short of it is he won and his life has changed.
Later, he is shocked to find out that the “gganbu” who had to be killed after losing to him in a game of marbles, was never really killed.
In a shocking plot twist that changes everything – he also finds out that the old man is in fact the creator of the games! Finding him in a medical bed after receiving a mysterious invite to the location, Gi-hun discovers that the man’s real name is Oh Il-nam, an obscenely rich fella who created the games in 1988 (the same year Korea hosted the Olympics for the first time) purely for their entertainment. We already know by now that ‘the VIPs’ are a bunch of morally bankrupt elites who find pleasure in watching the poor masses slaughtering each other for money in a broken system. Where have we heard that before?
Although his participation in the games as player 001 was a farce, what he told Gi-hun back then, that he had a brain tumour, had been true. And of course, he challenged him to another sick game. A man had been freezing to death on a street pavement, and Oh Il-nam challenged Gi-hun to guess to bet on the odds that someone who help him when the clock strikes 00:00 at midnight. As Gi-hun wins, Oh Il-nam dies.
We assume this marks the end of the games. However later in the episode, Gi-hun sees the man who recruited him doing it to someone else. He runs to stop what is happening, but arrives at the exact scene late, the train has already taken off. Later on the way to boarding a flight, he turns and calls a number. “I can’t forgive you for everything you’re doing,” he tells ta man we assume to be In-ho. He turns back, clearly about to begin his new mission.
What we know now, is that Oh Il-nam created the games to tickle the sick tastes of his sick rich network. But he is now dead. Who is now behind the games? This, and Gi-hun’s passionate manifesto, are strong indications that next season of the series is already shaping up to a different arc. It’s his final transformation, and he is ready to take down the operation and those behind it. He won’t allow people to be “horses” for the entertainment of wealthy elites.
We know that In-ho shot Jun-ho in a bid to stop him from alerting the police about the games. The signal was bad, delaying the delivering of the evidence Jun-ho had been trying to send in several texts, right up to the moment the moment he plunged from a cliff and hit the water. What we don’t know is whether the messages were really not delivered. There’s also no conclusive evidence that Jun-ho is dead.
Potentially, the biggest lesson from season one is that our relentless pursuit for material success in a punishing money system kills us.
First Look at HBO’s Game of Thrones Spin-Off ‘House of The Dragon’
Things look promising for HBO’s upcoming drama series, The House of Dragon. The highly buzzed Games of Thrones prequel’s first visual teaser has been met with much fanfare, raking in more than 8,6 million views on Youtube within two days of its arrival.
First reactions and buzz around the epic teaser have been strong indications that the series, slated to premiere in 2022, is off to a good start despite the infamous final season slump suffered by G.O.T. And it could mean that maybe, just maybe, the world ready to let old baggage go.
The House of Dragon, created by an entire different team, will arrive about three years since the cold winter. The cast includes Matt Smith, Paddy Considine and Sonoya Mizuno who will be bringing to life a different era of Westeros.
Midnight Mass is Creepy With A Dark Subtext and You Need To See it
‘God’s angel’ had sinister plans for the town.
The reign of terror plunges a small and quiet town to ashes when the arrival of a charismatic yet mysterious priest coincides with the return of a disgraced young man who has just been released from prison.
While Riley (Zach Gilford) initially finds that Crockett Island and its 127 residents – along with his childhood sweetheart Erin (Kate Siegel) – still conduct a mundane existence, Pastor Paul (Hamish Linklater) soon changes that.
When the island’s much loved Roman Catholic senior priest takes a trip to the pilgrimage and never comes back, an energetic new priest takes his place at the Holy Land church. And while his arrival brings with it a new wave of spiritual revival amongst the island community, something sinister begins to haunt the town.
With each episode, the esoteric occult that powers Paul’s ability to perform astounding miracles and mesmerise the islanders, slowly gains dominion over the unsuspecting community. Instead, they begin taking up a renewed interest in the church as word of mouth spreads about the signs and wonders. Much like Jesus Christ was able to draw crowds wherever he went, the appearance of Paul’s supernatural power is able to attract even those who’d remained sceptics their lives.
It’s the blending of the sacred and the sinister. The taking of communion that has been contaminated with demonic blood, which functions as the miracle drug promising eternal life.
We soon find out the miracles come at an unthinkable cost.