Pity the Crown Prince Wilhelm. His wealth and privilege cannot mend his broken heart. Season one of Young Royals explored the romance between Wilhelm (Edvin Ryding) and the working-class Simon (Omar Rudberg) at their Swedish boarding school. The Royal family humiliated Simon so he ended the affair. Season two reduces the mopey lads to wounded glances and fraught arguments. They quickly got on my nerves.
The agency goes to the antagonists. Wilhelm’s evil cousin (Malte Gårdinger) and Simon’s conflicted sister (Frida Argento) begin a class-crossing fling of their own. The writers want to humanize them while still indulging in soapy theatrics. Sure, the cousin’s a proto-Patrick Bateman but look how sad he is when he’s snubbed by the rowing team! Yes, the sister betrays her friends and family but look how she loves the school horse! Aww. Their subplots devour screen time with minimal returns.
Sweden is undergoing political turmoil. There’s opportunity for juicy drama here. But Wilhelm’s school isolates him from this. Royalty is merely an obstacle to self-expression. He may as well be the prince of Hallmark’s Caucasia.
The whole season is marking time. Things wake up in the finale only to end abruptly. A cliff hanger promises that something will happen if they get renewed. But we received the same promise at the end of season one, sixteen months ago.
I still see the shows’ potential. The young cast is terrific. The tone sits between the excess of Elite and the sweetness of Heartstopper. But this season is closer to the dull stretches of Love, Victor. The lack of momentum has soured my good will. You can only slow burn so long before there’s nothing left but ash.
The positive feedback on social media tells me I’m an outlier here. What did you think of the season? You can find my reviews on The Avocado, Letterboxd and Serializd. My podcast, Rainbow Colored Glasses, can be found here.