After binge-watching the first season of “Young Royals” over quarantine, I was thrilled when the second season of the popular teen drama was released recently.
With only six episodes per season, it’s amazing how much of an experience the show provides.
The new season — fantastic in every way — centers on Wilhelm's slow-burn romance with Simon as he learns about himself. He also struggles to balance the demands of his role as prince with his fervent wish to simply be a teenage boy in love. What captivated me about this season is how raw Wilhelm’s navigation of his sexuality is. As I watched, I could feel his frustration, anxiety and all the other emotions he felt as he had his awakening.
Edvin Ryding and Omar Rudberg both give outstanding performances throughout the series, and their chemistry is noteworthy. The gradually developing romance between Prince Wilhelm and Simon is endearing, but from the beginning, you could sense the heartbreak that was eventually going to come. Aside from sexuality, this season addresses complicated topics such as social classes, peer pressure and parental expectations.
Despite being a rollercoaster, the new season did not disappoint. Winter break is over and the royal family is in jeopardy as Wilhelm hopes to exact his revenge on August and win Simon back at Hillerska. I like the way season two is written because it captures the experience of making decisions as a teen, which can sometimes result in mistakes.
Even though I didn't always agree with them, as I watched, I came to understand each character's perspective and the reasoning behind their actions, which made the show more engaging.
I especially enjoyed watching Wilhelm and Felice's friendship. While Felice is a good friend to Sara and others, her friendship with Wilhelm showcases how genuine she really is. With everything Wilhelm is going through, his loneliness and anxiety, stress and frustration, he was always able to rely on Felice. It was nice to see how platonic their love for one another truly is.
My biggest critique of the series is that characters like Felice, August and Sara aren't particularly well-developed. I loved Felice's character but it would’ve been nice to learn more about her beyond her friendships with Sara and Wilhelm. A few of my questions about August remain unanswered as well. Why is he so desperate for ties with the royal family? And what's the story behind those pills he's always taking? Throughout the show, August makes irrational decisions, and some suspect he has a mental disorder, but we never really get a proper explanation for his behavior.
Additionally, I would have preferred if the show directly explored Sara's neurodivergence and how it influenced her decisions in her relationship with August, family and friends. I also wasn't sure why August and Sara were together. There's talk about how August manipulated Sara, but I don't think so; Sara is largely responsible for taking their relationship beyond what it was initially. Though their relationship progressed, Wilhelm and Simon's story seemed arbitrary.
Some of the storylines felt rushed or extremely slow due to gaps in these characters. Providing a backstory for these characters would have strengthened the show's overall cohesiveness.
Overall, the show is enjoyable. The actors are of the appropriate age and actually look and act like flawed, irrational teenagers. The characters are relatable and entertaining to watch, but the story could be developed further. “Young Royals” is refreshing and absolutely worth watching. If there is a third season, I am eager to see what it has in store.