British teen thriller series The A List, currently streaming on Netflix, centers on a group of teenagers who attended summer camp on the isolated Peregrine Island, but the series is not all about fun games where the characters sit around campfires roasting marshmallows and telling amusing ghost stories. Rather, it’s far from it.
What starts off as a normal camp experience with icebreakers and playing capture the flag turns into a terrifying experience with mind control, a neurotic non-human camper, and all contact with the outside world snapped from their fingertips.
In season one, the main character Mia (Lisa Ambalavanar) gets off on the wrong foot with fellow camper, Amber (Ellie Duckles). At first, Mia is the queen bee of the camp, but Amber quickly takes her thunder. Amber steals every single friend Mia makes and manipulates them to thinking they were her friends, not Mia’s, through some kind of mind control. Through the course of the series, Amber herself becomes a mystery—why does she have powers? Why does she manipulate over half of the campers? Why did everyone at camp get cut off from the real world? The mysteries kept growing and growing.
Season two answers some satisfying questions.
The second season of The A List, released June 26, follows the aftermath of the campers breaking away from Amber’s instant-popularity mind control and the reappearance of the supposedly dead camper, Midge (Indianna Ryan).
Midge and Amber have some connection in the show and, at times, are thought to be the same person: the soul of Midge in Amber (despite the two being separate characters). This season asks, which character is the greater evil: Midge or Amber? At first, Midge seemed like the shy, nonthreatening outcast, but soon the tables are turned and Midge appears more threatening, controlling, and emotionless.
On the other hand, Amber becomes more of an ally and starts to feel emotions. I enjoyed not really knowing who would be the greater villain throughout the series because it kept me on the edge of my seat. Should Amber now be trusted or will she stab the characters in the back like she did in season one? It also serves as an interesting redemption arc, because Amber, clearly not human, starts to feel human emotions as the series nears an end because of her weakening power.
While the show answers the question of who’s the greater evil by the end—although it is not cut-and-dry—other aspects of the show kept me wondering.
At the very beginning of season two, Mia, Pedal (Georgina Sadler) and Harry (Benjamin Nugent)—ironically, the only campers who did not get mind controlled by Amber in season one—are rescued and brought off the island, told that everything they experienced on Peregrine Island was a “lie,” that their memories from the camp are all delusions.
I wish we got to know more about why the rescuers told these campers everything they experienced on Peregrine island was a “delusion.” Why did their rescuers fill their heads with lies instead of just telling them the truth from the beginning? Was it to keep them out of danger, to keep them away from the Island and all of its secrets? However, it did add to the series’ suspense. In good stories, characters are withheld from the truth. The A List is no exception. While lying about what really happened on the island seems unnecessary, it built on the mystique of the series. It also made me more eager to watch the show, all the while wondering: what was the secret on the island they needed to protect?
Meanwhile, the rest of the campers never actually left Peregrine Island, stuck in quarantine at the Lockwell Institute. They could not leave because of unsafe chemicals in the air. At all times, the doctors had monitored the campers in the Lockwell Institute, keeping them hostage.
I definitely liked the whole they-never-really-escaped plot. It serves as an interesting turn of events—why are they really in quarantine? What really is going on on this dark, magical island?
Overall, I enjoyed this show. It was intriguing, mysterious, and just enough questions to keep me wondering. I loved the magical island, reminding me of Lost. The show wrapped up well, leaving me satisfied with answers to most of my questions, while leaving room for a third season if Netflix should choose to bring the show back. Either way, the ending felt natural, and had closure.
If you like teen shows with a touch of magic, some romance, a sinister setting, and a good plot twist to make your jaw drop, you should add The A List to your watch list.
All episodes for The A List season two are now available on Netflix.