Warning: Spoilers ahead for both season one and season two of “Freakish.”
Hulu’s original series “Freakish,” produced by AwesomenessTV, begins after a deadly explosion at the nearby chemical plant traps a group of high school students inside their school. They soon discover the toxic fumes in the air are causing a mutant-like conversion in anyone directly exposed, and find themselves battling these “freaks” to stay alive. Although a zombie outbreak is certainly not a new idea, the added concept of a chemical induced conversion is interesting enough. Unfortunately forced acting, awkward dialogue and one-dimensional characters ultimately make the series difficult to watch.
Season two of the series opens with the return of LeShaen (Melvin Gregg) after his search for help outside the school. While exploring, LeShaen is captured by officials from Keller Chemical Plant and unearths the horrifying truth about the plant’s experimentation on humans. He quickly escapes back to the high school, but is followed by agents of Keller intent on killing all witness. With the help of his remaining friends Violet (Liza Koshy), Grover (Leo Howard), Zoe (Meghan Rienks), Barrett (Tyler Chase) and Diesel (Adam Hicks), he succeeds in fighting off the agents, but not before suffering a crippling broken ankle. Without the aid of antibiotics, LeShaen’s leg becomes infected by gangrene and draws the freaks closer with the putrid smell. LeSaen’s last wish is for Barrett to kill him quickly to save his girlfriend Zoe and the rest of the group. Zoe’s shock and heartbreak at LeSaen’s death is one of the few genuine moments portrayed in the season. After already losing her best friend Natalie in the final episode of season one, Zoe is believably broken at the death of her boyfriend and the realization that everyone she ever loved is likely dead.
When Grover returns from his search for antibiotics with a small group of fellow survivors, the whole group is threatened by the presence of the newcomers. The addition of these personalities, however, unfortunately adds nothing more than high school relationship drama and new faces with the same tendency of over-acting. Among this group is Violet’s ex-boyfriend Zane (Jordan Calloway), who apparently cheated, leading Violet to place a homemade explosive in his truck. Grover, Violet’s new boyfriend, feels his relationship with Violet may be in jeopardy after Zane’s arrival. Diesel also seems to have a new love interest, Sadie (Niki Demartino), following the death of his previous girlfriend Natalie. The reunion of Violet and Zane especially seems entirely too contrived. It’s difficult to believe that Zane, who worked security at the chemical plant and was apparently working the day of the explosion, survived, only to stumble upon a group of survivors including his “psycho” ex-girlfriend. Further adding to the unrealism of their relationship, Zane still has feelings for Violet even after she put the explosive in his truck. Diesel at least does seem reluctant to enter a new relationship with Sadie, but even his short time with Natalie was a forced advancement to the plot. Despite not knowing each other until the explosion trapped them together, and being part of a group of limited choices for a romantic interest, they somehow decided they were ultimately supposed to be with each other. Apparently, no threat of death or conversion to an inhuman freak can stop raging teenage hormones.
Two of the newcomers, Anka (Saxon Sharbino) and Ollie (Ryan McCartan), seem to pose a threat, and are locked in a cage by the rest of the group. When they are discovered to be Anka and Olliver Keller, whose father owns the chemical plant, Anka reveals that they have a helicopter to rescue them. Barrett warns the group, fearing another encounter with Keller officials determined to kill all witnesses of the frightful effects of the gas released from the plant. Zoe, however, believes her brothers may still be alive and releases Anka and Ollie to try and find out. She and the rest of the group fight their way to the roof of the building, only to find out their device to alert the helicopter has been sabotaged. After a member of the group must sacrifice herself to save the others, they confront Grover and learn he was only trying to protect himself, as he is a target wanted for retrieval by Keller officials. Violet decides she can’t be with someone she doesn’t trust, so she breaks up with Grover and again falls for her cheating ex-boyfriend, Zane, resulting in another dramatic overreaction when Anka later kisses him.
Although Grover is still unsure about the reason he is apparently a retrieval target for agents of Keller Chemical Plant, he is forced out of the school by the rest of the group. Barrett, still fearful of being killed when the helicopter arrives, decides to leave with Grover. They first visit Grover’s house and find it has been destroyed in the explosion, apparently killing both of his parents. Just down the street, Barrett’s house is still totally intact, but his family is nowhere to be found. Barrett reveals his involvement with a group of hackers attempting to expose Project Wednesday, a series of horrifying human experiments at Keller Chemical Plant prior to the explosion. Grover learns that his father, who was a scientist at the plant, led the research behind Project Wednesday and is responsible for the outbreak of freaks. The connection between Grover’s dad and the explosion seems an unnecessary addition to the plot, and raises many more questions than it answers. Until the last episode of the season, it is believed that Grover’s entire family died either in the explosion or the aftermath. When Grover awakens after being shot at a nearby government camp while trying to escape, however, he appears to be visited by his father. If Grover’s father survived, did he have prior knowledge of the explosion? Why didn’t he attempt to save his family? Does the picture of Grover mean his father attempted to find Grover, or was Grover an intended experiment subject?
A possible season three of “Freakish” would hopefully answer many of these remaining questions, however, I recommend saving yourself the time and frustration of watching this series.