Watching Modern Love season 2 is an exercise in identifying as a hopeless romantic and wary cynic in equal measure. Binge the whole mushy, rose-tinted season at once and you might feel like the latter — surely conflicts can’t be resolved that easily? But focus on the individual romantic moments and you’ll find yourself turning into the former, swept up in the grand emotion. Here are the 5 best moments from season 2, in no particular order:
Paula and Michael have a musical meet cute
Episode: Two Strangers On A (Dublin) Train
Modern Love is full of cheesy love songs and given director John Carney’s affinity for depicting music as a medium of connection between two people (take Begin Again or Sing Street), it isn’t surprising that the episode he helms features them too. He deploys the first one smartly as medievalist Paula (Lucy Boynton) and tech bro Michael (Kit Harington) meet and begin a conversation on a Dublin-bound train. The first strains of a guitar are heard, not just by the audience, but, in a twist, by the characters too. It turns out to be a fellow passenger composing an impromptu song about their meet cute. It’s as on-the-nose as you get, but that’s what makes it charming.
The night-time date
Episode: The Night Girl Finds A Day Boy
The Night Girl Finds A Day Boy follows Zoe (Zoe Chao), a textbook editor with a sleep disorder that causes her to stay awake all night. When she meets Jordan (Gbenga Akinnagbe), a teacher, the two go on a romantic night-time date, with the empty streets making it seem like they’re the only ones in the world. It’s a nice touch, a visual manifestation of what being in love feels like.
Dr. Curran tells her new partner that she misses her late husband
Episode: On A Serpentine Road, With the Top Down
The only episode to explore the crushing heartbreak of lost love convincingly, On A Serpentine Road, With the Top Down is about a woman (Minnie Driver) who just can’t seem to let go of the past. Taking her late husband’s car out for frequent long drives ironically brings her right back where she started — to a place of grief. When she apologizes to her new husband for finding it hard to move on, her confession stems from a place of fear, the notion that he’ll leave her too. Instead, he tells her heart’s big enough for two great loves, and in meeting her, he’s lucky enough to have found his first. The inability to let go is reframed as the boundless capacity to love in this touching moment.
The exes cross paths
Episode: How Do You Remember Me?
Several of the happy endings in Modern Love feel like a quick rush to catharsis, the central conflicts momentarily put on hold in favour of a heartwarming swell of emotion. The ending of How Do You Remember Me? not only acknowledges the past, but feels like a new beginning. As two exes (Marquis Rodriguez, Zane Pais) find themselves about to cross paths, they relieve moments of their former relationship. As they pass by, their eyes linger on each other and they smile, long-buried regrets of ‘what if?’ turning into renewed gratitude for what was.
Liliane and Vince share a dance
Episode: A Life Plan For Two, Followed By One
When Liliane (Dominique Fishback) first moves to Brooklyn from Ohio as a child, her classmate Vince (Isaac Powell) takes it upon himself to introduce her to the local food, correctly deducing that she’d love a sriracha sandwich. Years later, he replicates the dinner on their last night in the city before they leave for graduation, tucking in her napkin like he did the last time. The two then share a slow dance overlooking the Brooklyn skyline. For a moment, you think he’s about to read her as easily as he did back then, acknowledge her feelings for him, and reciprocate. That he knows her so well and still decides to break her heart makes the moment more painful in hindsight.
Recommendation in collaboration with Amazon Prime Video.