The following is a review of the second season of Amazon Studio’s Mozart in the Jungle, available on Amazon Video, and on Viaplay in Denmark.
When Mozart in the Jungle won the Golden Globe for ‘Best Series – Musical or Comedy’ in 2016, I have to admit that I was a bit stunned. I had never heard of the show, but I was intrigued by it when I saw Gael García Bernal grab his award for ‘Best Actor – Musical or Comedy’. Bernal was the guy I chose to binge-watch both seasons in three days for, and season two of Mozart in the Jungle really relies heavily on his performance and character. Mozart in the Jungle: Season Two is really, really good.
Our two main characters, Rodrigo (Bernal) and Hailey (Kirke), are developed really nicely over the course of the second season, and their arcs, though predictable, are very satisfying. The writers try to make Hailey more independent from the get-go, and at the end of the season she becomes so much freer from the demanding position she found herself in at the beginning of the season. But Hailey has never been the most interesting character in the show. Rodrigo has always been the star, so allow me to shift focus back to him.
Season two of Mozart in the Jungle is all about finding your home. Throughout the first part of the season we hear how Rodrigo is anxious about going home to his family and his mentor. The pressure wears him down, and soon he is advised to stop being nice, friendly, and lenient – that his style of conducting is hindering his orchestra, and he is losing control of it. The signs are there, but Rodrigo learns that control isn’t everything, and he starts to question the new methods. Early on in the season Rodrigo asks Hailey if the orchestra likes him, and by the end of the season he shows his love for the orchestra in a pretty substantial way.
Gael García Bernal might be too good for television, and he is most definitely reason enough to go watch the show. His struggle with finding his place as a conductor and as a person is always interesting, and oftentimes the best parts of the episodes. Bernal is incredibly captivating, and, frankly, I could not imagine anyone else playing Rodrigo De Souza. The other really good performance comes from Bernardette Peterson, who plays Gloria Windsor. To be perfectly honest, I never really felt for her character in the first season, but here in the second season of Mozart in the Jungle there are several episodes where I found her performance both captivating and intriguing. I truly cared about her character.
But the show features an ensemble cast, and I found myself loving a certain member of the orchestra even more this season. Joel Bernstein plays Warren Boyd, and I truly loved his character this season. He has way more to do this time around, and I liked to see him in the main part of the plot in Regresso Del Rey, even though his story was very shocking to me. I never saw the reveal coming.
Another excellent part of the season was the interplay between Malcolm McDowell and Gael García Bernal – the hermanos. Speaking of McDowell, I enjoyed his story way more than I thought I would. He wants to be a famous composer, and I really thought that was an interesting idea – even if I thought the conclusion of this subplot was less than satisfying.
Ultimately, I feel like this season was better than the first one. I never thought that the story changed the direction of the show in a less than stellar way, like I felt the first season did. I was pretty pleased with most subplots this season. Overall, I think that the show contained more jokes, or at least packed more laughs this time around. And as a full season, the character arcs made sense, were wrapped up nicely. It felt like a complete season, and it was an excellent experience.
I’m Jeffrey Rex