Outlaws Season 2 Review

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Summary

The second season of The Outlaws is a mildly pleasant caper at its best when Stephen Merchant and Jessica Gunning are on screen.

This review of the Amazon original series The Outlaws season 2 contains no spoilers.

Access recaps, reviews and news from The Outlaws.

The Outlaws is a flawed series that hits most viewers’ favorite clichés for caper shows, but is accepted because of its talented cast. The other reason is the writing of Stephen Merchant, one of the showrunners. Here we find the series returning for a second season as Rani (Rhianne Barreto), Ben (Gamba Cole) and Christian (Charles Babalola) are taken on by The Dean (Claes Bang). Why, exactly? Because even though they made it through the first season unscathed, Ben still hasn’t paid back the hundreds of thousands of pounds he stole. If you remember, when Ben hid the money, three of his fellow community service workers took it and spent it. Frank (Christopher Walken) paid off his daughter’s mortgage, John (Darren Boyd) put the money into his father’s failing business and Myrna (Clare Perkins) donated the money to the foundation that she created the Bristol Justice Campaign.

Just as the Dean is about to kill Ben, Rani shouts that she can get the money back in eight weeks. How do you ask? She tells him she’s brilliant and has a scholarship to Oxford. (You would think that a drug kingpin can rely on street smarts and more experience in the drug business or even references). They’re rounding everyone up because they’ll kill everyone’s family if they don’t pay the money. John has the business expertise and Gregory (merchant) has the legal expertise to launder the money. He also uses his access to Gabby (Eleanor Tomlinson), Myrna can use her charity as a beard, and Frank is the shrewd criminal with experience in tough situations.

Merchant and Elgin James created The Outlaws, both writing all 12 episodes. While Merchant (starring John Butler) directs most of the first season, Alicia McDonald directs the final four installments. This marks a noticeable change in tone and is pleasant. In the fourth episode of the season, the series finds its sweet spot. In a hilarious episode that finds Merchant’s Gregory on a “workout” date with Diane – the show’s funniest star, Jessica Gunning. The show is never funnier when it settles on these two comedic actors. The writing here combines comedy and a high-stakes scam game. As we know, there is a fine line between anxiety and hilarity.

My main problem with The Outlaws is that there is very little thought given to the “thriller” aspect of the series. For a character who often sells the show as the smartest person not just in the room but in Bristol, Rani often makes ill-advised decisions that border on stupidity. You could say it’s in character to ride a fine line. Usually for the thrill, but it goes way beyond that. For a show that asks viewers to believe that plot points should work because of Rani’s intellect, this is used as a barb to forgo an explanation of deeper details about the operation. Everyone else hatches a plan to save their growing empire. It’s an obvious flaw here that, by far, Rani and Ben are the show’s most uninteresting characters.

The Outlaws is best when he treats his big cast equally and when Merchant and Gunning are involved. For that reason, and when the series finally hits its stride for most of the mid-season, this Merchant and Elgin series is a mildly enjoyable comedic caper with a deep bench.

What did you think of the Amazon original series The Outlaws season 2? Comments below.

You can watch this series with an Amazon Prime subscription.


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