If The Order Season 2 has taught us anything, it's that every decision comes with a price. Everything, from the pursuit of noble efforts to the bloodshed for achieving power, has its fair share of consequences.
Many of the plots and characters dealt with the blowback of their actions throughout the 10-episode second season run. And in this battle for magic supremacy, no one truly came out victorious.
That is, except, for us viewers! The Order Season 2 is a suspenseful and thrilling good time, albeit with a few frustrating plot points.
[Author's Note: Spoiler warning! There will be plot points discussed from the season as a whole. You've been warned.]
A highlight of The Order Season 2 came from its overarching plot and theme. Whereas The Order Season 1 dealt with good vs. evil (and the struggle of belonging), the new arc focused on ethics and the right to use (and hold) magic.
This is greatly framed by the discussions dished out by Jack and Gabrielle's ethics professor and his TA.
Actions by the witches weren't so black and white this time. The story expanded outside of the framework of "they're evil, and the wolves are good" to showcase the grey between. Characters dealt with the morality of wanting to be good and heroes faced making bad choices for the pursuit of justice.
Beyond the set archetypes, the lines became blurred at times. Some villains became anti-heroes, heroes acted as anti-heroes, and some heroes turned "evil." And yet Kepler still stayed true to form to her character development.
The choice felt refreshing and provided new tension to the plots.
As mentioned above, the central theme of this arc was the debate of who got the right to wield magic.
Look, if given the chance, we'd all love to use magic. (I'm still waiting for my Hogwarts letter.)
But in the world of The Order, the answer wasn't so simple. Both sides had valid arguments for why the general population should learn magic and why it should be contained. And, the faults of those who hold that privilege, but only use the power for evil and selfish gain.
The Order Season 2 did a great job of balancing that narrative and showcasing both sides, as well as the grey area in between.
This came out the strongest during Salvador's/Alyssa's mission, the Knights working with the witches, and Nicole's internal struggle about wanting to do good. They faced their internal debate about what was right and adapted to a decision that wasn't so clear for them.
Speaking of the Knights of Saint Christopher, the decision to merge the group within the coven was a smart move.
No more separate plots about only the werewolves trying to stop and kill the witches. The core sides of The Order blended for a seamless thread, and once again, it added new depth to characters who seemed only good or evil.
Jake: It doesn’t matter if we’re the Knights of the Blue Rose or the Knights of Saint Christopher. Our job remains the same: keeping The Order in check. That Tartarus eruption is as much Vera’s fault as it is Alyssa’s. Okay? They both need to be held accountable for it. They’re also the only practitioners that are capable of dealing with it.
Gabrielle: Well, look who showed up. An actual Knight.
A detriment of The Order Season 1 fell squarely on the separate worlds of the characters. Sure, we needed the set-up of the witches vs. the werewolves, but the only piece tying them together was Jack.
Now, characters like Hamish and Randall have bigger parts that affect the coven, and characters like Vera and Gabrielle get to explore relationships outside of the confined roles.
The development overall strengthened because of this decision.
That goes for the makeup and structure of the Hermetic Order of the Blue Rose as well.
Most of the witches may still be power-hungry, evil, selfish, and will do anything to slit each other's throats. But, a greater emphasis was shown to explain that it's not The Order itself as the cause of evil, it's those within wielding the power.
The Order might be teasing the future path for the werewolves and witches within the coven. If someone wants to restore the coven to its noble roots, what will they do to make it happen?
This could be an exciting development for the series, especially with the outside forces dwindling and the power struggle growing within.
During The Order Season 2, many of the cast members experienced positive character developments. You could feel more depth to their roles and a weight on their decisions outside of formulaic moves.
Jack excelled far and above without the secret of his father hanging over his head.
He faced what it meant to be a wolf AND a witch, and the big overarching debates mentioned above. This is where Jack became a lot more likable as the protagonist; part of it could be due to Silverback, but he truly wanted to make the right decisions. You couldn't help but root for him.
Hamish: Vera, I don’t think you’re selfish. You’re demanding and weirdly ticklish, but you’re not selfish.
Vera: How can you be so sure?
Hamish: Because of all the times you could have killed us, but you didn’t because you wanted us to learn, to live.
[Hamish reaches for Vera’s cheek]
Hamish: It’s alright to let someone care about you.
Vera: There’s no point.
Hamish: You performed the Fors Factoram?
[A tear rolls down Vera’s cheek]
Vera gained a lot more sympathy. She's fierce and delivers iconic moments, but a new layer of heart was explored within her cold exterior. Katharine Isabelle did a great job humanizing the character and making her more than just the grand magus!
The same goes for Hamish, Randall, and Lilith. There was a lot more to their characters outside of the Knights and beer pong.
If one character benefited the most from The Order Season 2, it was Gabrielle.
Gabrielle transformed from a selfish and vapid side-character to a more present and complex main foil. Sure, she still had her self-serving ways, but new layers were explored that showcased her heroic side and need to fit into a group.
Gabrielle: A werewolf hide jumps me and I end up in some Jungian Six Flags?
Kyle: Oh, my God. Drop the act. Okay? You wanted this.
Gabrielle: To be a werewolf? Gross.
Kyle: To belong.
The old Gabrielle turning into Midnight didn't seem like a possibility, but this new Gabrielle fits right in. She could become the anti-hero that she was meant to be.
Plus, the scene of her mind in the werewolf realm was a powerful moment. Her past and motivations got summed up in quick and easily digestible snippets to answer any questions you might have about her.
Contrasting these changes, Alyssa's character development was so frustrating! What did she want?!
At times, Alyssa seemed like her own worst enemy because she prevented herself from being happy.
Alyssa would choose and defend The Order, but then she'd chastise them from her moral pedestal. She loved Jack, but she found every reason to not be with him when he didn't agree with her views. And, she pushed Salvador's mission, even when she'd previously been a supporter of structured magic.
The Jack and Alyssa romance was kinda toxic, and it's great that they recognized the trouble within their pairing. They could legitimately be together if Alyssa gave it a chance.
It's hard to root for her when she pushed those issues.
Alyssa becoming the villain was a sharp turn. And dare I say, it came from a petty and self-serving place.
Sure, Vera lied to her, but did it warrant completely throwing out her ideals?
Jack: Alyssa is not Salvador!
Vera: She knows all our strengths and all our weaknesses. That makes her exceedingly dangerous.
Jack: Why do you hate her so much?
[Vera stares at him]
Vera: Mr. Morton, you’re relieved from temple duties until further notice.
Jack: You’re benching me?!
Vera: Your infatuation has become a liability.
[Vera walks away]
Jack: Yeah, well, you’re welcome for saving your life!
Vera: I said, “Thank you.”
Alyssa had been a big supporter of witchcraft, The Order, and the rules it entailed. Yet, the second it affected HER magic, she flipped the script on everything and everyone she previously held dear.
This change is where Alyssa's villainous hurt her. Alyssa claims the importance of magic for everyone, but she cared more about having her magic and who got to wield it. If that were the case, she would've given Vera back her magic too.
The moral hypocrisy is a bit too bitter.
Lilith's disappearance is another topic that hindered The Order Season 2. Was Devery Jacobs not available for the rest of the season?
Rescuing Lilith was an overarching plot that pushed much of the narrative and connected the characters. However, it's a shame that Lilith had to disappear so quickly after coming to terms with her feelings for Nicole.
The couple could've explored their connection and Lilith liking a girl, especially after she previously had a flirtation/romance brewing with Randall on The Order Season 1.
Lilith's new romance felt like a convenient plot device. (The same goes for Hamish and Randall kissing as a joke.)
Side and minor characters also faltered from the lack of care and attention.
The Order tends to do a lot of "redshirts" for the sake of the plot. They might get a quick line, stand in the background for a hot minute, or even get a name. But, within a matter of minutes, they're dead.
There's no pull to these faceless characters because we don't know them. And, there's no excitement since it's expected that they will die.
Not every character needs an elaborate backstory, but maybe a few consistent extras and characters in the background before they bite the dust?
Though, when it came to deaths, Alyssa was the most shocking. Did anyone see this coming?
My jaw hit the floor because it didn't seem possible that the co-lead would get murdered.
This move will turn the Knights against each other. There's no way Jack will trust any of them because he doesn't know who did it, and with Hamish supporting Vera and Randall supporting Gabrielle, the group is splintered beyond belief.
Plus, Lilith's demonic mindset could prove dangerous if untreated.
The cliffhanger has thrown everything up in the air.
Last Thoughts From The Vade Maecum:
Were you crushing on Hamish and Vera too? The build-up to their eventual coupling was teased too long and had so much anticipation. You can feel the heat between them.
Randall and Gabrielle was a surprising pair. They balance each other, but there's gotta be a word for being interested in an enemy who frustrates you...
Whenever a witchy word is said and people look scared, just go with it.
Alyssa was digging Orbin!
Jack clearing up how Salvador and Professor Foley knew about magic answered A LOT of questions. Everything came into focus after that a-ha moment.
Is anyone ever going to find Brandon?
- The surprise cameos from Jason Priestley and Ian Ziering was hilarious because of how random it was. Did that just happen?!
Now, over to you, Order fans!
What did you think of The Order Season 2?
Will Alyssa's death irrevocably tear the Knights of Saint Christopher apart? Can Lilith restore her humanity after being in the demon dimension? What was your favorite moment of the season?
Share your thoughts in the comments below.
The Order Season 2 is available to stream now on Netflix.
Justin Carreiro is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.