When it comes to Netflix originals, or any TV show, a second season can define a series. In the somewhat unusual event that the second season delivers, the show establishes itself as a solid and cohesive piece of television. More often, though, the second season becomes repetitive, less plot-driven or otherwise less compelling than the first season. Season 2 of “Trinkets,” which came out on Aug. 25, falls into this first category of second seasons.
“Trinkets” brought in new characters, but not so many that the central personalities of the show changed; Season 2 had its own narrative arc, and it followed the characters to an imperfect but overall satisfying conclusion. Perhaps the success of its second season can be attributed to the fact that this was also the last season of “Trinkets,” due to Netflix’s cancellation of the show.
Fair warning: This article is full of Season 2 spoilers. If you haven’t watched Season 2 yet and you are planning on doing so, save this one for later.
“Trinkets” follows three central characters, Elodie Davis (Brianna Hildebrand), Tabitha Foster (Quintessa Swindell) and Moe Truax (Kiana Madeira), who meet at a Shoplifters Anonymous meeting. The first season focuses on the main characters and their unlikely but ultimately intimate friendship.
The first season is somewhat heavy on high school relationship cliches, like the athlete boyfriend who turns out to be abusive and the female protagonists who are sworn enemies for no legitimate reason but ultimately overcome their differences and get along. And there are extended shoplifting montages. But the second season takes “Trinkets” to a new level.
In fairness, neither season of “Trinkets” is perfectly executed. At times it’s pretty cheesy, and the acting is by no means top-tier. Still, it’s a refreshing premise, features a cast that is diverse in terms of race and sexual orientation, centers around a female friendship, takes place in a high school and is set to an indie soundtrack. What’s not to love?
Here are the four ways that Season 2 of “Trinkets” elevates the show.
1. Elodie’s relationship with Jillian
One way that “Trinkets” doesn’t miss in Season 2 is with its inclusion of a sweet, innocent lesbian romance. Though the beginning of the show’s second season finds Elodie on tour with her situational girlfriend, Sabine (Katrina Cunningham), this relationship quickly fizzles out. Elodie’s main romantic interest in Season 2 is the lovable, dorky Jillian (Chloe Levine), who Elodie meets in band practice. The two explore their sexualities together in a rare, honest depiction of young queer love.
2. Tabitha’s exploration of her identity as a Black woman
While both seasons of “Trinkets” feature a racially diverse cast, it is not until Season 2 that any of the characters really explore their racial identities. There are several moments in Season 2 that feature Tabitha’s coming to terms with and learning to embrace her Blackness. This partially happens in the context of her casual friendship with Marquise (Austin Crute), who identifies himself as one of the very few other Black students at their predominantly white Portland high school.
In a particularly special moment during Episode 5, “Works in Progress,” Tabitha visits a Black-owned hair salon and has her hair styled in braids. Tabitha’s new hair seems to represent an awakening in her understanding of her identity as a Black woman; it’s a statement of her confidence despite the suffering she has endured in her abusive relationship with Brady (Brandon Butler) and despite the racial violence she experiences in Portland, such as the racial profiling depicted earlier in the episode.
“Trinkets” portrays a young woman coming into her Blackness in a way that is subtle, beautiful and empowering.
3. The introduction of a few dynamic new characters
Season 2 of “Trinkets” also brings in some excellent new characters who meaningfully contribute to the plot. First is Chase (Nick Dodani), who plays a nerdy, kindhearted student who catches feelings for Moe when she joins the robotics team.
Chase’s presence adds a new dimension to Moe’s relationship with her on-again, off-again boyfriend, Noah (Odiseas Georgiadis), but more than that, he is a foil for Moe’s sporty boyfriend and helps Moe explore her nerdy, intellectual side. Though Chase is a secondary character, Season 2 would not be the same without him.
Another notable addition to Season 2 of “Trinkets” is Moe’s brother, Ben (Andrew Jacobs), who returns home after spending time in prison. Not only is Ben’s character endearing, his presence forces Moe to confront her underlying issues with her family’s dynamics and redefine her relationship with her formerly incarcerated brother and father.
4. The climactic finale
Though I didn’t know it when I watched the show, I wasn’t surprised to learn that “Trinkets” was not renewed for a third season, mostly because the ending of Season 2 is so definitive. The 10th and final episode, “We Belong,” finds Elodie, Tabitha and Moe planning some kind of mischief in their school at night.
Viewers later learn that the three friends, who were tangled up in a mess of lies and blackmail with Tabitha’s abusive ex-boyfriend Brady, snuck into their school cafeteria and hung portraits of Brady alongside screenshots of text conversations and photographs of Tabitha’s bruised shoulder. It is a striking monument that shows the violence that Tabitha and others at the school endured because of him.
The season leaves Elodie, Tabitha and Moe alone on the beach, watching the waves crash in as they embrace one another. The ending is satisfying but not so neatly tied together that it feels unrealistic; “Trinkets” takes its viewers on a journey, but leaves its characters in a safe, happy place.
As “Trinkets” transitions from Season 1 to Season 2, it forsakes the visual emphasis on kleptomania and focuses more on its essence as a show, which is its characters. The three protagonists, Elodie, Tabitha and Moe all see substantial growth on screen as they make mistakes, make amends and come into their identities as young people.
Though many shows fail to replicate the success of their initial season when they go back for another, “Trinkets” does not encounter this problem. Because of the four factors listed above, and for the sake of entertaining, dramatic and representative high school television, Season 2 of “Trinkets” is worth the watch.