When Gangs of London debuted on Sky several years ago, it was the channel’s largest premiere in a very long time. The intense violence, interesting characters, and rapid-fire plot made it simple to endorse.
In many ways, Gangs of London falls into the trap of believing “more is more” when it comes to gore and uncomfortable brutality, which makes it impossible to follow up a really successful season. Unfortunately, it accomplishes it by compromising the essential components of a fascinating plot, with a narrative that disintegrates upon even the slightest scrutiny.
The episodes are easy to consume and binge-watch at the moment, but when viewed in the context of the entire series, flaws begin to appear.
This narrative takes place one year after Sean Wallace’s passing. Asif has seized control of the streets and recruited his new lapdog, Koba, to instill fear in the other gangs and maintain order. In the background, though, a rebellious force is preparing to topple this new world order from its shaky perch.
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Elliot is in the thick of this, still working for Miss Kane but primarily because his father has been kidnapped and he desires his return. Around the time when Billy Wallace returns to London after an extended absence, he unavoidably becomes embroiled in gang fighting once more.
From this point on, the show introduces a number of intriguing plot twists — one at the end of episode 2 and another at the end of episode 6 – but struggles to create a cohesive and understandable narrative. There are so many narrative holes in this story that by the end, you’ll have enough to fill The Shard in London!
The police are also nowhere to be located, despite the abundance of evidence at the crime scenes that could be traced back to the gangs.
In addition, there is a late scene in which a character takes a dead body from the backseat of a car into the trunk of a gas station while CCTV cameras are working. These clumsy and poor elements of worldbuilding really take you out of the program, which is unfortunate because there is obviously some strong material here.
Koba in particular is a standout feature. He is an excellent opponent and utterly unpredictable. This season, returning players such as Marian and Luan will have a substantial amount of playing time, whereas he is both dangerous and cruel.
However, the action will be the main attraction. There are numerous action sequences scattered throughout the season, with episode 6, in particular, attempting to replicate the barn scene from season 1 with a 15–20-minute-long battle. In addition, there is a thrilling house invasion firefight that will keep you on the tip of your seat.
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While the action is satisfactory, the narrative leaves more to be desired. Gangs of London Season 2 attempts to have its cake and eat it too, unlike something like John Wick 3, which manages to keep to a simple narrative to put its action front and center.
In an attempt to tell a complex story, the narrative is riddled with contrivances and logical leaps. Don’t get me wrong, the season is still worth watching, and each episode is a fantastic popcorn-eating extravaganza, but in terms of longevity, Gangs of London’s second season struggles to match the quality of the first.