REVIEW: ‘GEN:Lock’ Season 2 was Long Overdue but Worth the Wait

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genlock season 2 - But Why Tho

Gen: Lock (stylized gen:LOCK) Season 1 came out almost 3 years ago,  and what a series it was. The show had a dynamic cast, beautiful animation, and giant fighting mechanized robots. A true recipe for success for animation fans. Well now it’s time to rejoice as gen:LOCK Season 2 is finally here thanks to the folks at Rooster Teeth and HBO Max.

The show is executive produced and stars Michael B. Jordan as Julian Chase, as well Dakota Fanning (Miranda), Golshifteh Farahani (Yaz), Maisie Williams (Cammie), Kôichi Yamadera (Kazu), Asia Kate Dillon (Valentina), and David Tennant (Dr. Rufus Weller).

Fifty years in the future the planet is deadlocked in a brutal war as the remaining military faction (the Polity) fights to fend off an oppressive religious sect (the Union) that are armed with a devastating nanotechnology. After New York was lost to a horrendous attack, the Polity are forced to rely on the neuroscience devisions newest weapon, a team of holon warrior mech suits piloted by a team of unique individuals. Now this team must leads the charge in the resistance to take back America from the oppressive reign of the Union.

gen:LOCK Season 2 is a vastly different concept from the original series that debuted three years ago. It seems the creators have opted for a significantly more adult adaptation with an increasingly more complex plot that muddies the water between a simple good versus evil.

Season 1 barely scratches the surface on the core motives of the Union and essentially any of the history behind why the war started in the first place. So the decision to explore the larger lore is a logical next step. However, while this makes sense conceptually, what has been delivered practically is quite a leap.

Some of the issues stem from the sharp contrast from how Season 1 finishes in comparison to where we pick up the story in Season 2 to the point of it becoming jarring. The season opens up with a narrative exposition with visual queues to bind each season together. The war has taken a turn of the worse, and the Union has manufactured an army of Nemesi, while the Polity loses territory after territory. The team is fractured, and there is so much tension. While the season goes on to explore these issues and themes more, it still feels like we’ve lost so much story inbetween.

That said, I did enjoy the layers the show has added by painting that wars often have no innocent parties. The lengths that each parties will go to prove they are the heroes of their story, and in the name of justice and in protection of their people speaks volumes of their narcissism. The classic hero complex, in which either leader is only the one who can save humanity.

Beyond that, the animation continues to be spectacular. It’s such a visually beautiful show, and the animators have gone above and beyond with certain plot points. It’s one of the pillars of what made this show such a success when it first aired.

The cast is what really hooked me in, and their interactions, and depictions of the characters is extremely appealing. There is a lot to love about what Jordan, Williams, Farahani, Yamadera, and Dillion bring to their roles. This season absolutely puts time aside for a lot more character development with the core cast of characters, especially when dealing with the realm of mind sharing. Williams and Jordan however typically steal the show and I love what they’ve done with their characters. gen:LOCK Season 2 will push these characters beyond their limits, and then some.

What makes the show so fantastic is the relationship of that core group and the mission they undertake. A veritable cocktail of influences such as Voltron, and Power Rangers, this screams out for tapping into that team dynamic more. While the show runners land some great character interactions in Season 2, the show just needs more of it.

Where I have issues though, is just the overarching pace at which the show is moving. Adding complexity, I completely understand that decision, but by not building towards that goal and carefully crafting a story in which the show is ultimately heading strikes me as odd.

For example, Cammie is pushed particularly hard and makes a rather dramatic decision part way through the season, and it feels completely out of character. This is quite simply due to the fact that we’ve not spent enough time with these characters to understand her rationale. We’re missing large chunks of story.

Ultimately, with the show on its current pace, it’s hard to conceive where they could take it with a subsequent season.

gen:LOCK Season 2 is long overdue on our screens, but sadly it feels like we’ve walked in to the middle of a story and it’s jarring. The animation and the character development are still completely on point. But the overall narrative was a let down and felt more like a fifth season as opposed a second.

gen:LOCK Season 2 episodes 1-6 are available now exclusively on HBO Max, with a new episode coming every Thursday.


gen:LOCK Season 2
  • 6.5/10
    Rating - 6.5/10
6.5/10

TL;DR

gen:LOCK Season 2 is long overdue on our screens, but sadly it feels like we’ve walked in to the middle of a story and it’s jarring. The animation and the character development are still completely on point. But the overall narrative was a let down and felt more like a fifth season as opposed a second.