Heartbreak High – season 2: review of the Netflix series


The Netflix TV series is an honest and profound story that can be, at times, even raw.

Image Credit: Netflix

Change. A lot, a lot, maybe too much. An eternal centrifugal and centripetal movement after and during which one is no longer the same as before. This happens to teenagers and this also happens to the protagonists of the second season of Heartbreak High, a series created by Hannah Carroll Chapman, and inspired by the 90s series of the same name, which arrives on Netflix on 11 April 2024 with its 8 episodes. Harper (Asher Yasbincek) and Amerie (Ayesha Madon), best friends forever, return to tell us the stories, fears, tensions, and loves of the boys and girls of Hartley High, having as their stylistic signature inclusiveness and the desire to enter into the depths of the tumultuous existences of the very young.

Heartbreak High 2: a fire can wipe out everything, a fire that is similar to adolescence, an age that builds and sweeps away everything

The first episode of the second season opens with a fire. A fire that breaks out and burns everything, what was, what could have been, resentments, anguish, and discouragement, just like adolescence is for most people. Who you are, who you would like to be, what you want to become, but also, banally and simply, relationships, relationships, dreams to realize, and lives to change, everything is in there, within those walls that have seen students of every ethnicity wander, gender and sex, and it's metaphorical to watch them burn. This second season of Heartbreak High starts from the end and this image alone makes it clear that many things will happen in the 8 episodes that compose it.

“We're just a bunch of messed up kids trying our best,” is said by one of the characters and this is supposed to be a sort of apology for everything that Amerie, Harper, Darren (James Majoos), Quinni (Chloé Hayden), Malakai (Thomas Weatherall) and all the others; it is simply the perfect subtitle for their stories that radiate from the punctum, to try, taste, experience fully and in the round what they have never experienced before. Like any self-respecting American school, here to there continue to be divisions, insults, bullies, relationships that break down, and others that arise, often hidden, because "who knows what people will think". 

Everyone has to fight their small/big battle to survive these beautiful and dark days, those in which a look can destroy, a word can bring one to one's knees, Amerie does it and she has not yet completely recovered from the events of the first season where she is found to be a social pariah at school, Harper does it and still bears the marks of the harassment she suffered. Their friendship has been mended and they know they are no longer alone. The labels remain on us, the scarlet letters of literature and films have told us this, and so "the bitch on the map" remains forever "the bitch on the map" and Harper is the one who destroys other people's lives. 

Things obviously get complicated and the school days slip away between clashes between factions, with teachers and their own personal problems. The center of the season is the election of the school representative, one of the topos of this genre of narratives. Amerie is obviously a candidate even though her popularity is not very high in this period, her party is that of the SLT of the sexual education course and Quinni is her deputy and responsible for the campaign. At least, Quinni is the one in charge of communication and the campaign. Quinni will focus at a certain point on solving the enigma of Bird Psycho, a mysterious character obsessed with Amerie who leaves bird corpses and tries in every way to dirty the girl's image. Quinni's investigation and Brid Psycho's movements will be important elements within this season.

Facing Amerie and Quinn in the elections is Sasha (Gemma Chua-Tran), leader of a party with an unpronounceable acronym, who declares that she will not use the title "captain" because she is a colonialist. Finally, there is Spider (Bryn Chapman Parish), founder of the CUMLORDS, who has always been a bully, misogynist, and sexist and could only be the leader of this equally misogynistic and sexist party, his supporter is Timothy Voss (Angus Sampson), a teacher of physical education, inspired by Tony Martin's rugby coach in the 90s production, consumed by anger at the "wake-up call" that began some time ago on the part of women and all those groups who until now were on the margins, and which, according to him, is ruining the world. He's part Iron John, part Jordan Peterson, an angry man determined to keep the flame of toxic masculinity burning, fighting political correctness with every cell in his body, leaning on the team, and doing with it what he wants.

The "war" to win the elections becomes more and more violent, no one wants to lose and it becomes a way to get to know the characters better, their nuances, and hidden wounds, in the second season we will get to know Quinni better but also Spider who has always simply been the boy we would never want next to our best friend.

Image Credit: Netflix

Heartbreak High 2: continues to be a fluid series that talks about the multitude and this is its strong point

However, there are also newcomers. There is Rowan (Sam Rechner), a handsome country boy who attracts the attention of Amerie who is trying to start over with Malakai, one of the few good, delicate boys in the entire school. Rowan enters their relationship straight away, becomes friends with Malakai and Amerie, and immediately seems to want to push them away. As always when we talk about teen dramas we also talk about love, friendships, and feelings that are heartbreaking even when they are nothing, one of the most used clichés is that of he-she-the other and Heartbreak High doesn't hold back. We therefore witness an infinite push and pull between the three that will lead Amerie to stumble, get up, stumble, get up many times. We immediately ask ourselves, from the first moments: what does Rowan want? Who is he really?

Another relationship that will have its place in the story is that between Cash and Darren, while the former is asexual, the latter struggles to suppress his needs to make their relationship work. Inevitably, even in this case, there is a roller coaster that will see two boys tossed between the turbulence of soul, body, and desire, questioning their story and its continuation. Another important acquaintance is that between Spider and Missy (Sherry-Lee Watson), Malakai's cousin, two who until recently were sworn enemies because they are part of rival groups, begin to get to know each other and understand that perhaps things are not always as they tell them.

Heartbreak High continues to be fluid in every way, inclusive, there are varied colors, identities, and nationalities, and therefore all the people who attend the school are extremely different in appearance, background, sexuality, and socioeconomic status. As also happens in Heartstopper, Sex Education, or Never Have I Ever…, the series aims to put those watching at ease and make them feel less alone. There is never anything right or wrong in who you are, there is no "change" because it is not good. The pain, joys, fears, and empowerment of a group of young people are staged, vivid, and vibrant, each with their own nuances, with their own being, creating new gradations that were previously almost unthinkable. The eight episodes enter the lives of teenagers focused on themselves, unable to see beyond themselves, and their own contours, they live in extremes, and they are all too much to understand the other, only when you really start to dialogue, does the perspective change for real.

Image Credit: Netflix

“I'm really trying to be a better person”

It might perhaps seem that the narrative of the second is a 2D story for teenagers but it is not, on the contrary, despite some mistakes or a few moments of tiredness, at its basis there is the intelligent stratagem of planting the seeds to build a more intricate and complex story which slowly comes to life as the characters reveal themselves. There are also dramatic, dark, tragic moments that take their place between love and tensions, between ironies and jokes, which one must come to terms with as one grows up. 

There comes a moment when the past returns and, without asking permission, forcefully enters the present, it does so with Amerie, with Harper who fights with trauma every day of her life, and even with Spider who shows himself fragile for the first time and without protections – once again it is the encounter with the other that opens him up. It is perhaps Quinn who has one of the most interesting developments. The show expands on his neurodivergent experience by exploring his autism in greater detail. The way she perceives herself is tested and in this way, she also tests her friendships, and so she struggles to find a way to live a more authentic life.

Heartbreak High 2: evaluation and conclusion

Even in its second season, Heartbreak High is an honest and profound story that can also be raw, at times. The 8 episodes accompany the viewer in a story that shakes and bangs from every side, as only a narrative about teenagers can be. At some points, the writing loses its rhythm and therefore the viewer but this is not a sufficient reason not to appreciate the show, thanks also to a cast that cannot help but be loved. Adolescence is not and perhaps cannot be a calm sea, a little river without tributaries and for this very reason, a narrative about this period can only be subject to all sorts of landslides.


Heartbreak High is an honest and profound story that can also be raw, at times. The 8 episodes accompany the viewer in a story that shakes and bangs from every side, as only a narrative about teenagers can be. At some points, the writing loses its rhythm and therefore the viewer but this is not a sufficient reason not to appreciate the show, thanks also to a cast that cannot help but be loved.
Overall Score