Review: Shut Eye, season 2

Jeffrey Donovan and KaDee Strickland in Shut Eye

Jeffrey Donovan and KaDee Strickland return as Charlie and Linda Haverford in season 2 of Shut Eye. The series about con artists and scammers is a Hulu Original.

Season 2 of Shut Eye got off to a rocky start. The early episodes were not as compelling as season 1. Some of the characters didn’t quite track from season 1, especially Eduardo, played by David Zayas.

Linda grieved obsessively over Gina (Emmanuelle Chriqui) during the first part of season 2. This kept Gina in the cast, since she often showed up in flashbacks and grief-fueled hallucinations.

However, by the middle of the season things picked up. The last few episodes were exciting and full of surprises.

The very last scene in season 2, between Charlie and Linda Haverford would be a great lead-in to a third season, but Hulu did not renew this interesting con job of a series.

Jeffrey Donovan in Shut Eye

Charlie lost his visions, but then he got them back. While he agonized about this, he teamed up with Maggie (Rowena King). Maggie managed a character named Paz (Aasif Mandvi) who claimed to hear messages from the universe. Maggie recognized Charlie’s talent to read a room full of potential marks and started marketing him as guru who help people “be better!”

Charlie traveled all around doing seminars. He was bringing in a ton of cash. Linda stayed home doing palm readings and tarot card readings.

The Haverfords moved their storefront business into a strip mall owned by disgraced Romani head Fonso (Angus Sampson) and Eduardo. What an oddball pairing of characters – less than believable. But, the strip mall was a way to keep the Romani families, Eduardo, and the Havorfords in constant contact, because the story lines veered apart for quite a lot of the season.

Charlie was becoming a famous guru, while Linda assuaged her grief with the lovely Dr. Nora White (Susan Misner). Did I mention she was lovely? I thought through all of season 1 that Charlie would find her lovely, too, but it was Linda who fell for her charms.

Caleb Z Smith and Havana Guppy in Shut Eye

The Romani families combined into one unit because Little Tony (Caleb Z Smith) and Drina (Havana Guppy) were forced into marriage. Drina was much more attracted to Charlie’s kid Nick (Dylan Schmid) than her husband.

I want to give a shout out to the performances by Lorrie Odom as Rita’s (Isabella Rossellini) bodyguard/driver and Rhea Seehorn as Charlie’s mother. They didn’t have huge parts, but they added quite a lot of value to the stories. Also worthy of note was Layla Alizada as Tony’s widow Simza.

By the climactic moments of season 2, the many subplots and threads that ran through the 10 episodes joined together in one long scene.

The overall message of season 2 was that everyone was conning someone. Sometimes we in the audience didn’t know it was a con for a long time. Were we being conned as well? Sometimes the person being conned thought they were the ones doing a con. I enjoyed the imagination that went into constructing the strange turns and surprises that Shut Eye provides.

The themes linked back to the hypnosis incident in season 1, with a message that said everyone is hypnotized. Everyone is operating under the influence of tradition, or social norms, or suggestions from friends, or events constructed for a misleading purpose. Nobody really has control of their thoughts or visions or their hopes and dreams.

I thought it was a fascinating and entertaining way to tackle the idea that everyone is a product of their culture, their religion, and their beliefs without being in control of those things.

Have you watched season 2 of Shut Eye? What did you think of it?

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