Brassic Season 2 review: Bigger, bolder, sillier
Luke Channell | On 14, May 2020
Just nine months after its first season premiered on Sky One, Brassic returns for a second outing of ludicrous misadventures with Vinnie (Joe Gilgun) and his band of northern scallywags. Season 2 delivers more of the same fast-paced escapades but goes bigger, bolder, and sillier as the crew continue to hatch up an array of illicit money-making schemes to make ends meet. Once again, Brassic places the spotlight on the camaraderie of working-class communities and, with the country in lockdown at the time of its release, provides a much-needed slice of absurd, escapist fun.
Season 2 picks up several months after last season’s finale with Vinnie still in hiding after he faked his own death to evade enraged local gangster Terence McCann (Ramon Tikaram). However, Vinnie’s grifting nature cannot be kept at bay for long and after three months of smoking weed and peeing in bottles, his mates coax him out of his bunker with a plan to buy the town’s strip club. With £10,000 needed to pay for the lease, the group naturally decide that robbing a travelling circus’ equipment and flogging it to Chinese Dan is the best way to raise the funds. Inevitably things go south, and the crew inadvertently steal a lion, immediately trumping Season 1’s Shetland pony-thieving antics.
As Vinnie makes an uneasy alliance with Terence to form a weed-selling enterprise, the gang’s plans become even more farcical than last time. Season 2 sees them stitching a decapitated head on another body, stealing a range of expensive erotic furniture, organising a festival to sell cannabis at and robbing an expensive Indian wedding event. These misdemeanours are presented with such an infectious, madcap energy that it is impossible not to get swept up in them, however nonsensical they may be. Unfortunately, Brassic’s more dramatic plotlines fail to have the same impact; Erin’s (Michelle Keegan) unconvincing on-off romance with Vinnie’s best-mate Dylan (Damien Molony) lacks spark, while Vinnie’s troubles with his bipolar disorder and alcoholic father often feel tacked on.
Despite its more ambitious caper-based plots, Brassic doesn’t forget to focus on what made the first season so refreshing – the chemistry between this unique gang of misfits. There is a real authenticity to the characters and revelling in their hilarious group dynamic is one of the show’s biggest pleasures. Each one of the group is intensely likeable despite their idiocies and this second run adds greater detail to their friendships, making it more affecting than the preceding season. Through these genuine connections, Brassic deftly conveys the warmth, humour and intimacy that make up the foundation of these working-class communities.
Gilgun is once again a magnetic presence in the lead, effortlessly eliciting laughs and pathos. Other stand-outs include Ryan Sampson as Tommo, the most sexually adventurous of the group and owner of a sex dungeon, his bizarre fetishes and expertly delivered quips are constantly amusing. Elsewhere, Steve Evets is a sweary, scene-stealing delight in the role of Jim the farmer and Dominic West returns as Vinnie’s self-obsessed, dysfunctional GP who is as hilariously inappropriate as ever. His impression of an emotional support dog, which he hopes will cheer up Vinnie, is one of the season’s comedic high-points.
Keeping all the mayhem together is a sharp and tightly written script from co-creators Gilgun and Danny Brocklehurst. Although Brassic’s sense of humour seems crude, its jokes are often deceptively well-crafted. One particular scene, involving Vinnie talking himself out of trouble with a circus employee by exposing his own gender stereotypes about the profession of cleaning, is hilariously incisive. Gilgun and Brocklehurst have created an engrossing group of characters with an engaging dynamic who vitally represent an overlooked audience in a positive, entertaining light. With a third season already commissioned, it is clear that the duo have struck gold with this bunch of loveable scallies.
Brassic Season 1 and 2 is available on Sky One. Don’t have Sky? You can also stream it live and on-demand legally on NOW TV, for £8.99 a month, with no contract and a 7-day free trial. (An Entertainment Pass auto-renews at £8.99 a month until 1st September 2020, £9.99 thereafter unless cancelled.)