HBO’s sci-fi-monster-killing show Astrid and Lilly Save the World has returned with another monster of the week and the continued reminder that high schoolers are the real monsters. The latest episode involves melting skin, questionable leadership, and a fair for extra-curricular activities.
Stars Jana Morrison and Samantha Aucoin continue to show why they’re so relatable. Unlike so many other teen dramas, the stars of Astrid and Lilly Save the World never try to prove to us why they’re so relatable…they just are. Navigating high school while also fighting monsters can’t be easy. Seeing the re-connection between the story’s protagonists and a former friend-now-popular girl is a reminder of that crushing feeling all too familiar when friendships drift apart.
This week’s monster was a people eating/skin melting alien in the form of another Little Mosque on the Prairie alumna Sheila McCarthy. The wig on this character was laughably bad, which actually added to the surreal nature of the story. This character was so clearly not human, and McCarthy played the role to perfection. Having her masquerade as an adult trying to help high schoolers and having them so gullibly taken in was a sickening reminder of how vulnerable kids can be and why adults need to step in to protect them.
We’re only two episodes into this series, and already we have Astrid and Lilly questioning the intentions of their mystical guide Brutus (Olivier Renaud). While it may have been a bit contrived to have them challenge their guide when asked by the skin melting alien, it’s a valid point that is good they’re considering. What do they really know about this one-horned creature? And if he’s such a good guide, where is he for the majority of the time they’re facing off against other-worldly, deadly threats? Questions that demand answers, to be sure.
We saw more of another high schooler this week, Valerie Long (Christina Orjalo). She’s the most intense kind of theatre kid and acts as a bridge between the social outcasts and popular kids of her school. Like all theatre kids, her one focus is the stage, to the exclusion of pretty much everything else, including an alien who eats people and leaves them in a pile of melted skin. She brings such comedic relief to each scene she’s in, and this character has a lot of potential to fit into this story going forward.
The language used throughout this show remains a distraction. Continuing to insist teens use acronyms and expressions that no one ever uses in real life is such a bizarre choice. It still takes viewers out of the story every time in the most jarring way. At its worst, it’s an insult to people in this age group to suggest they intentionally butcher the English language at every opportunity. If the intention behind using language no one actually uses in the real world is to be a parody, it falls flat every time.
Astrid and Lilly is just getting started, but there’s still a lot of potential in this story. At its heart are still two incredibly relatable young women that are a joy to root for. There is still so much to be explored in each of these characters, including the relationship between Astrid and her mother. Their quest to be seen, heard, and taken seriously is one we can all relate to, even if we didn’t have to prove ourselves fighting aliens from outer space.
New episodes of Astrid and Lilly Save the World air Wednesdays on Crave.