When it comes to Netflix, it’s hard to disappoint me with an original series. Whether it’s because they’re actually of the quality to which they strive or because I’m easily impressed (it really could be either), I know that, most likely (Marco Polo notwithstanding), I’ll find something to love with a new release. Last year, Netflix debuted the first season of its comedy series Grace and Frankie (and I reviewed each episode individually), and, even though I enjoyed it a lot, it never felt like it completely achieved what I thought it should. It grew more and more consistent throughout the season as it really found its voice, though, and I waited eagerly to see if there would be even more improvement in season 2.
Spoiler alert: it was great.
All of the sluggish storytelling and setup that we sat through during the show’s first season finally paid off in a big way. The season opens almost immediately after the season 1 finale, and it really feels more like a continuation than a full-on new season. I mean that in a positive way, of course, because we’re instantly thrust back into the story. No time is spent re-establishing any characters or storylines for viewers (which could speak more to the binge-watching nature of the series than an actual storytelling decision), and we don’t have to trudge through any unnecessary exposition before we’re allowed to continue.
Grace and Frankie continues the story of the titular women as they live their new lives away from their out-of-the-closet ex-husbands. Picking up right where we left off, Sol (Frankie’s ex) returns home with every intention of telling Robert (Grace’s ex) about his infidelity at the end of season 1. Unfortunately, though, Robert has had a heart attack, leading to an impromptu wedding between the two at the hospital before Robert’s surgery. This wedding comes with Sol’s decision to postpone disclosing his having slept with Frankie until later on, and this decision is the driving force for a lot of the story surrounding all of the characters on the show. Robert ends up finding out, of course, and his struggle to reconcile with his new husband proves to be an incredibly relatable and emotional tale. Robert and Sol may not be the title characters of the series, but the first season of the show could have definitely used a more emotional look at their relationship. The focus that they receive this season completely makes up for anything that we missed out on last year.
Of course, the real focus of the show are Jane Fonda’s Grace and Lily Tomlin’s Frankie. Of every aspect of the first season, the most consistent thing was the perfect relationship and on-screen chemistry between these two, and everything only improves even more this year. Anytime Fonda or Tomlin is on the screen lets you know you won’t be disappointed, and the scenes between these two could go on an Emmy highlight reel with ease. I really grew to love all of the main characters on the series, but I still wanted more and more of these two when others were receiving some focus.
Romance is a big part of Grace and Frankie’s stories this year, too, as each finds a partner (in some form or another) that helps them see it’s okay to move on. A better descriptor for the main focus of the year, though, would be “relationships.” Whether romantic or otherwise, relationships are huge. As I mentioned, Robert and Sol’s relationship takes up a lot of screentime, but even the kids get their moments in the sun. My favorite of these would have to be Coyote’s attempt to connect with his birth mother and the impact that has on the family, and I was left amazed at how great Ethan Embry was as the character. All of Grace and Frankie’s children grew into their roles this year (though I could have used a bit more Mallory), and the guest stars were used much better this year than last year (particularly Sam Elliot for a few episodes).
The most important part of the season to me, though, was the story surrounding Grace and Frankie’s friend Babe. As much as I’d like to, I’m not going to talk about it specifically in an attempt to not spoil anything, but the final few episodes of the season contain some of the best writing that any Netflix series has had to this day. Estelle Parsons absolutely shines in her role, too, and I wouldn’t at all be surprised to see her get some award nominations for guest actress.
Also, I have to say that the final decision Grace and Frankie make in the season finale is one of the funniest things that I’ve seen in a very long time, and I absolutely can’t wait for this story to get a focus in the already-announced third season.
There’s a lot to love about the second season of Grace and Frankie, and the difficulty I’m having in finding specifics speaks wonderfully to the quality of the season as a whole. Everything works perfectly together, and it’s an accomplishment that wouldn’t be possible without every element. Was it perfect? No, but few series are. It didn’t need to be perfect, though. All it needed to do was be exactly what it was, and that’s really all anyone can ask for.
What did you think of season 2 of Grace and Frankie? Let us know your thoughts in the comments down below, and be sure to check out season 3 when it premieres sometime in 2017.
Grace and Frankie Season 2 Review
The second season of Grace and Frankie is heartfelt and hilarious, and it’s a huge improvement over the sometimes sluggish first season.