The deadly game that destroyed the lives of five high school students is far from over in the first half of Light as a Feather‘s sophomore season. Except this time, the death curse has been passed on to someone else. And the only way to save the new host is to go back to where everything started.
In the first season, McKenzie (Liana Liberato) and her pals — Olivia (Peyton List), Alex (Brianne Tju), and Candace (Ajiona Alexus) — made the mistake of befriending the new girl at school, Violet (Haley Ramm). What should have been an uneventful Halloween game of “Light as a feather, stiff as a board” wound up being an invitation for death. From thereon, everyone who participated was preordained to die. The conductor of each game — in this case, Violet — is privy to how every player’s death will happen. Once they all die, the host will be free of a supernatural affliction. Or so they think.
The further McKenzie and her friends investigated both the game and Violet‘s past, the more they delved into something they couldn’t understand, much less escape from. The death curse previously placed on Violet became seemingly weaker as McKenna‘s friends each succumbed to their deadly fates. By the season’s end, the physical embodiment of the curse — a demonic chrysalis buried in the host’s back — was transferred to McKenna. Her only chance of survival now is to find new victims for the game.
It’s only been about two months since the events of the first season. Thanks to helpful visual cues, we know it’s Christmas. Otherwise, the sunny California weather would suggest summer. Violet is freed from the curse, but she’s stuck in juvenile detention until she goes to trial for abducting and assaulting the first game’s only survivors. Two other ancillary characters — McKenna‘s childhood crush Henry (Dylan Sprayberry) and the sister of Violet‘s long-dead beau — have disappeared simultaneously and without a trace.
While Alex is readjusting to normal life in spite of some family-related anxiety, McKenna is harboring a secret from her friends and mother. On top of that, she’s been visiting Violet. Only Violet knows McKenna has been infected with the soul-sucking chrysalis. She also insinuates she can help if McKenna and Alex agree to drop all the charges against her. As the head bearer of the death curse, one is subjected to both physical and mental pain. McKenna, however, is experiencing blackouts. Which is something Violet claims never happened to her. So, it’s clear the rules of season two are going to be different.
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The first season of Light as a Feather breezed by with compounded storytelling, digestible characterizations, and adequate thrills. This adaptation of Zoe Aarsen’s novel of the same name is commonly described as Pretty Little Liars meets Final Destination. That assertion is spot on without being derogatory. The premise of Light as a Feather is a hodgepodge of familiar ideas that merge well enough. And as a result, the series is moderately entertaining for a quick binge as opposed to measured viewings.
As for the second season, we have to be prepared for sustained pacing seeing as these are only the first eight episodes; the remainder will be released in October. Fear not: Light as a Feather continues to entice all the while teasing us with the inevitable truth about the death curse.
With half the cast of season one dead or MIA, the show made room for some new faces — Alex‘s older sister April (Alisa Allapach) and love interest Peri (Adriyan Rae), Trey‘s (Jordan Rodrigues) ex-girlfriend Sammi (Katelyn Nacon), and Nadia, a fellow delinquent sentenced to community service along with McKenna and Alex. The series regretfully doesn’t make the best use of these characters. For the most part, the lot of them — including some others so tertiary it’s hardly worth mentioning them by name — are only there to fill the verily meager death quota. Simply put: you won’t care when they die. At least in the first season, those who did bite it had distinct personalities.
Season one was all about death. Specifically, the untimeliness of it and our inability to understand why people die. Due to its limited length, the writing of the first season plowed through the stages of grief. It just wasn’t realistic. Executive producer and creator R. Lee Fleming Jr. takes on the task of penning all eight episodes by himself this time around. So there’s more care to the main character McKenna and how she’s coping — or not coping — with not only her twin sister Jennie‘s death but also the passing of two of her best friends.
In contrast to all the death in the first season, the second is focused on living. McKenna is literally trying to survive amid her guilt and depression; Alex wants to experience all that life has to offer, such as finding love; the always intriguing Violet wants a second chance after hurting so many people. In addition, there’s an urgency for atonement that replaces the sort of contrived angst we’re accustomed to in teen dramas. Something Light as a Feather ponders openly is morality. Is one person’s life more valuable than the other? It’s weighty ethics told through the lens of juvenile horror.
In what could a downside for some viewers, the season so far has no time for earnest human interactions. Things aren’t as rushed yet the plot-driven nature of these episodes has little room for anything but shop talk. The meat and potatoes of typical young adult narratives is sandwiched in rather than fixated on. Again, one might not even be bothered by this.
Teen oriented horror is not exactly something people are hankering for these days. So when something like Light as a Feather comes along, there’s definitely negative, preconceived notions. Those looking for scary and adolescent leisure were sated when diving blindly into the first season. Although the latest batch of episodes don’t have the same entrancing quality as before, one has to appreciate the show’s faculty for dispensing excitement in careful amounts.
Remember — the rest of season two drops on October 4th, 2019. Share your thoughts on Light as a Feather with the Nightmare on Film Street community on Twitter, in our Official Subreddit, or in the Fiend Club Facebook Group!