The Rain's sophomore season on Netflix starts out promising enough. There's a nice scene with a mother getting into a parking lot fender-bender just as the eponymous rain begins to break, which turns her and the person she got into an accident with into wriggling messes on the cement as her son watches on from the backseat. The tyke doesn't understand that he should stay put; the rain seems innocuous as it ever was, but as we see him launch towards his mother's body, the virus takes him too, and it's a wrecking moment that reminds us of the scene when all this began, with our young siblings and heroes Simone (Alba August) and Rasmus (Lucas Lyngaard Tønnesen) inexplicably being shoveled into an underground bunker as a storm sets in above their own car.
The first season was largely built within the claustrophobic confines of that tiny sanitized dwelling, and once Simone opened the hatch all those years later, all these new details emerged about their father's involvement with this plague. After spending so much time watching them grow and survive their loneliness together, they finally broke free and found out that it's their own blood that's responsible for much of this. We're left with the discovery that Rasmus is not only infected, but immune to the disease of his dad's mad-science making, and he'll probably be the cure to undoing it as well.
Season 2 picks up shortly thereafter, with the kids and their new allies attempting to escape the nefarious company their father keeps. An encounter with their dear old dad again gives him just enough time to tell Simone how to take her brother to a group that might be able to cure him, and to kill him if it doesn't work.
From there, the siblings' group sets off to fulfill that mission and meets up with another group of survivors whose efforts to learn from Rasmus' blood often blow up in their faces as he turns into a gas-oozing monster whose rage literally kills anyone who tries to touch him. Yikes.
There are a handful of scenes that stand out in the events ahead — in particular, a flashback to one girl's parents abandoning her at a virus checkpoint, even though they know she'll likely die if left behind. However, the show quickly develops into a repetitive melodrama wherein either one of three things is happening at any given time: (1) someone's being held up at gunpoint, (2) someone's brooding in pursed-lip silence, often about romantic woes, or (3) someone's talking the other party off a ledge, sometimes literally speaking. Everything else is driven by Simone's desire to protect Rasmus from being killed by himself, by others in their new group, or by the cartoonish military forces that seem to always be a stone's throw away from them.
The Rain creates a lot of questions but declines to answer most of them. The second season in particular introduces characters who are one-dimensional at best, and completely dimensionless at worst. Even the bravery and self-sacrifice of these peripheral characters is rendered hollow by Simone's sole mission to protect Rasmus, and their problems seem strangely sophomoric in the context of the grim reality that surrounds them.
Whereas the first season was strong for its air of mystery and building intrigue, this one seems to drag for the same reason. By the end, it's hard to even understand these characters' relevance in the grand design, or care if they survive, especially once we get to the final twist.
Even as short as this new season is — it's just six episodes — and even though it picks up right where we left off without any maddening time-shifts, there's still something completely unsatisfying and short about the characters' motivations this time around. Simone and Rasmus seem selfish when standing over the pile of bodies he's created, and it takes far too long for either of them to begin accepting the reality of what they have wrought, however unwittingly.
As much as we might've liked to find out what happened to them after the first season, perhaps it was better left to the imagination, because this is a disappointingly dull slog that injects almost three hours of filler into about an hour and a half's worth of plot.
The Rain Season 2 is now streaming on Netflix.