‘Love Life’ Season 2 review: A brilliant William Jackson Harper anchors this charming, breezy affair

A still from Season 2 of 'Love Life'  

Before you groan about yet another examination of relationships in the Big Apple, you could give the charming Love Life a chance. The anthology series looks at one person’s loves — from the first to the One — per season.

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While season one breezed by on Anna Kendrick’s charms as Darby, as she looks for and finally finds the One, season two belongs to the brilliant William Jackson Harper. As Marcus, the only black book editor in a white publishing firm, Harper is so engaging and relatable, that one is quickly drawn into his life.

Like season one, the second season is also divided into 10 chapters named after the different characters that impact Marcus’ and Darby’s life. Darby has a cameo in Season 2, which opens with her wedding to the wholly-unsuitable Magnus Lund (Nick Thune). Marcus, who thinks he is happily married to Emily (Maya Kazan), has an instant connection with Mia (Jessica Williams). Even though he does not follow through with Mia, Emily reads his texts to Mia where he says he does not love Emily anymore and that marrying her was a mistake.

With the end of his marriage, Marcus plunges right back into the dating scene meeting the very young Paloma (Aline Mayagoitia), an old flame, Destiny (Yasha Jackson), the talented and vicious playwright Ola (Ego Nwodim) and sexy divorcee Becca (Leslie Bibb).

Love Life
  • Season: 2
  • Episodes: 20
  • Run time: 28 to 37 minutes
  • Creator: Sam Boyd
  • Starring : Anna Kendrick, William Jackson Harper, Jessica Williams, Punkie Johnson, Zoë Chao, Sasha Compère, Comedian CP, Arian Moayed, Yasha Jackson, Aline Mayagoitia, Ego Nwodim, Leslie Bibb, John Earl Jelks, Janet Hubert, Kimberly Elise, Blair Underwood, Jordan Rock, Nick Thune, Maya Kazan
  • Storyline: Love and longing among millennials in New York

All the while, there is Mia at the back of his mind as an itch he cannot scratch. Like season one, parents and parenting are a major part of season 2. Harper has issues with his father, Kirby (John Earl Jelks), while his mother, Donna (Janet Hubert), is supportive. His sister, Ida (Punkie Johnson), has her issues in the partner department. Mia has parent problems as well as with her bipolar mother, Suzanné (Kimberly Elise) and absent father, Leon (Blair Underwood).

Just like Darby’s friends — Sara (Zoë Chao) and Mallory (Sasha Compère) are her support and emotional anchors in the big bad city — Yogi (Comedian CP) and Kian (Arian Moayed) help Marcus out with camping trips and magic mushrooms. The pandemic is a major plot point in Season 2, as Harper decides life is too short to be stuck with bad choices. There are masks, sanitisers and Zoom meetings between friends and colleagues and Ida joking that a wedding during the pandemic would be cost-effective.

When Harper rings in 2020, with the hope that this is going to be his year, he is echoing so many of us who were clueless of the dramatic turn of events in March 2020. His reaction to working from home being a temporary two-week thing was also identifiable... Apart from the pandemic, Love Life talks of other contemporary issues, including BLM and the US presidential elections.

Harper’s angst at switching from editing to writing is rooted in reality as is Trae’s (Jordan Rock), a writer he promoted, reaction to Harper’s work. Narrated by Keith David, (Lesley Manville narrated Darby’s story) the good-looking show looks at love and life through a keen, sensitive lens.

Season 2 of Love Life is streaming on Lionsgate Play

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2022 4:41:18 PM |

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