‘Sweet Home 2’ Review: Weak and Shaky Footing for Season 3

sweet home 2 review

Edited by Young Jun Yang
Translated by Yu Jin Kim

sweet home 2 review
Credit: Netflix

“It’s a crime not to produce the next season.” This was the concluding sentence of the Sweet Home review three years ago. Despite some regrettable aspects, the series made us want more due to the well-executed visuals of the monsters and the captivating setting of the original work, coupled with high expectations for the ‘expansion of the universe.’ However, the reviews for the second season are more divided than those for the previous season.

In Season 2, the survivors of Green Home face the challenges of the desolate outside world. Cha Hyun Soo (portrayed by Song Kang) volunteers to be the experimental subject as ‘the special infectee’ and heads to a designated disaster shelter. Simultaneously, other survivors, including Seo Yi Kyung (Lee Si Young) and Lee Eun Yoo (Go Min Si), join a survivor camp at the stadium where they encounter the Crow Platoon and a new group of survivors.

With the narrative expanding, there were both expectations and concerns about how the main characters from the previous season would navigate the crisis in a larger world filled with various monsters. This stems from past instances where attempts at ambitious world-building resulted in disappointment. Additionally, concerns were heightened by a storyline deviating from the original work. This worry might have been inconsequential if the outcomes were positive, but, unfortunately, Sweet Home 2‘s expanded version has more downsides than upsides.

The primary allure of the previous installment lies in the horror induced by the ‘confined space.’ The inevitable confrontations with monsters within the Green Home made those moments more intense and frightening for viewers. However, the new season takes a different approach. Escaping the confines of the apartment complex, the city’s new backdrop provides the characters with more locations for both fighting and hiding. When questioned about whether the fight scenes got bigger with the larger setting, it’s hard to fully agree without some doubts.

With the broadened world, the cast of characters in Sweet Home 2 has also expanded. The issue, however, lies in the sheer increase in numbers without proper organization of their narratives, resulting in a more chaotic and less engaging story. For instance, Cha Hyun Soo, the protagonist-like character from the previous season, is nowhere to be found in the middle episodes of the new season. The brief stories of Lee Eun Yoo and Seo Yi Kyung make it challenging to form emotional connections with the characters. Despite high expectations for Yoon Ji Soo’s (Park Kyu Young) role in the series, she exits early in the drama. Additionally, some survivors were merely reported as ‘dead.’ It naturally makes the excitement go down as the important characters from Season 1, who we were emotionally attached to either, vanish or become smaller roles.

>> ‘Sweet Home’ Director on Song Kang’s Reduced Screen Time and Lee Do Hyun Going Naked in Season 2

sweet home 2 review
Credit: Netflix

The narratives of the new characters are also lacking. Despite the addition of many characters such as the Crow Platoon and the Stadium survivor camp, their relationships and storylines have too many gaps and loose threads. With each having a narrative that could be suitable for a standalone drama, cramming them all into a single season makes it difficult to focus on any one of them. As none of the characters’ stories are properly developed, and instead, numerous unresolved plot points are scattered, watching Sweet Home 2 feels more like watching a 9-hour and 30-minute-long trailer rather than the actual series.

The monsters in the new season are not as interesting as before. In the original Sweet Home series, the monsters had to have desires to transform into their unique forms. Creatures like the Lotus Root Monster, Protein Monster, and Black Knight Monster were attractive because the host’s desires and the narrative were clear and visually appealing. However, the creatures introduced this time are numerous in variety but lack impact in many ways. Some monsters leave us wondering, ‘What desire could they possibly have to undergo such a transformation?’ Since the most crucial part of the series isn’t appealing, the tension and immersion in the drama have naturally dropped.

Perhaps this was all because of excessive ambition. Sweet Home 2 failed in highlighting the strengths of the previous work but rather revealed more drawbacks. Lee Eun Hyuk’s (Lee Do Hyun) appearance toward the end of the series was somewhat positively anticipated, but it wasn’t enough to offset the disappointment that was brought before then. All eyes are on Season 3, which is set to mark the end of the series, whether it will shake off our disappointments and allow new assessments via retrieving all the baits it provided. By the way, how are we supposed to wait until next year’s summer…

Excessive ambition might be to blame for all of this. Sweet Home 2 couldn’t keep the good things from the first one and made the problems even more noticeable. Even though we kind of guessed Lee Eun Hyuk (played by Lee Do-hyun) would show up in the ending, it didn’t make up for what they gave us in this season. Now, we hope Season 3 will fix the things we didn’t like so far and pick up all the story hints. But, how are we going to wait until next summer? (5/10)

 

Editor Yang Young Jun: There is at least one good part in every movie or TV series. A media geek who isn’t picky with genres. 

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