Netflix's After Life Review: 6 Ups & 3 Downs

2. It Misses A Huge Opportunity For Something Challenging

After Life Ricky Gervais 3

Some of the material in After Life is a little too safe for its own good. There are obviously parts that absolutely are not safe - like the episode concerning Tim Plester's tragic heroin addict's death - but the atonement element at the end comes a little too easy.

Perhaps it's because of the darkness in the show, but it feels leading up to the end that it would have been better for Gervais' Tony to be killed off. The fundamental message of the series is that what you do is revisited upon yourself and on others: like Groundhog Day's Phil Connors learning how to live well, Tony learns the distilled message that you can't change the world, but you can change yourself (and how you impact the lives of others). So why not have Tony's actions from earlier in the series come back to haunt him?

Imagine how great - or at least how impactful - it would have been for Tony to realise how he can begin to feel better or how he can help improve the world only for his attempt to foil the mugging by the hammer-wielding criminals to bite back? Those muggings are mentioned just enough times for it to feel like it's being set-up that way, but then in the end we get an easy happy ending that feels inferior for it.

Not everything has to be dark, of course, but the blue-print is there and it's a shame they didn't follow through.


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