Series 2 of Top Boy- Summerhouse is, quite frankly, exceptional
“I don’t wanna go to Ramsgate”
The first series of Top Boy surprised me at just how good it was, making a mockery of my earlier decision that it wasn’t my kind of thing. So I launched straight into the second series (now labelled Top Boy- Summerhouse on Netflix), unprepared for how harrowing it would get. It may have taken two years for it to be created but boy it was worth the wait.
Ronan Bennett’s series picks up one year later with Dushane’s (Ashley Walters_ status at the head of the Summerhouse estate as equally precarious and secure as ever, forever dependent on the next big drug delivery. But the Albanians have got their own plans, former besty Sully is setting up his own rival crew and the police have just dug up a body – eep!
Sticking with a taut four episode stretch, this second series, directed by Jonathan van Tulleken, takes no time in applying the thumbscrews and slowly tightening them throughout. Whether Gem’s attempts to escape the vicious clutches of Vincent (a truly excellent, chilling Benedict Wong), Xavien Russell’s Michael searching hopelessly for the right thing to do, and Walters’ Dushane navigating the possibilities of a normal life with lawyer Rhianna (a strikingly good Lorraine Burroughs) whilst also being a cut-throat gang boss.
It felt like there was a greater narrative propulsion this time around, though that may have been as much to do with the fact that I couldn’t help but binge through it in one sitting. And as it pushes through to its inevitablly tough conclusions, the scope of its characterisation and storytelling becomes ever more admirable. How something this epic got cancelled I’ll never know, but then I’m part of the problem as I didn’t watch it at the time. Fortunately, there’s now a third series though I’m hesitant to see if it is more revival than continuation.