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Saturday, March 24, 2018

Sneaky Pete Season 2: Excellent, Beats the First, Slightly

I slow-binge watched Sneaky Pete Season 2 on Amazon Prime the past two weeks - mainly because a a great trip to Grand Rapids Community College in Michigan to talk about fake news intervened - and I've gotta say this second season is a little better than the first.  High praise, given that I thought the first was outstanding, an unusual and appealing mix of con-art crime, fast-paced peril, and laugh-out humor bubbling under the surface.

The second season improves on this, slightly, by introducing at least one important new character, and placing "Pete" really Marius in situations in which his real identity is almost revealed and then ... Well, I don't want to give too much away.  But if you'd rather know nothing about about either season, don't read it on.

If you do, or don't care, here's the necessary background for the second season: Marius is released from prison.  He assumes the identity of his cellmate, Pete, who has talked his head off in prison - or enough for Marius, a past master of a conman, to go to Pete's family farm and impersonate Pete to Pete's family.  (He's been gone a long time, and they look somewhat similar, and some in the family sort of realize that something's not right but can't put it all together.)

In the second season, the real Pete is released from prison and comes back to see/reunite with his family.And the real Pete's mother reappears - she's a kind of con-woman, too.  (I'd say this a slightly unlikely coincidence, but the narrative's otherwise so good, I don't really mind it.)

Marius, being the genius at his work that he is, and also the recipient of lots of good luck - hey, some people do have good luck - manages to navigate through most of this unscathed, while pursuing his goal from the first season of using his new family connection to pull off some huge score.  But he also has to steer clear and outwit an East European crimes boss who's reminiscent of the East European crime boss from Banshee, if you can relate to that reference.

What really puts Season 2 over the top, though, are the genuine surprises and twists upon twists as the story develops.  If you're a fan of this genre - and who without a pulse isn't - you'll love this.

(Great acting, by the way, by Giovanni Ribisi and everyone else, just like the first time.)

See also Sneaky Pete: True Win (review of season 1)


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