Gratifying. If I only got one word to describe the second (and I think final) season of An Astrological Guide for Broken Hearts, that’s the one I’d choose. Sure, there are some aspects of the storyline that get stretched almost to the point of unbelievable in order to maintain dramatic tension, but the characters are charming enough to pull it all off, assuming you don’t overthink things. And it’s entirely worth it, in my opinion, when you get to all those parts that hit just right.
When we left Alice (Claudia Gusmano) at the end of the first season, she had just discovered Davide (Michele Rosiello) kissing another woman NOT FIVE MINUTES AFTER SHE HAD FINALLY LOCKED LIPS WITH HIM. What in the actual fuck, Davide Sardi? Season 2 wastes no time in sort of clearing things up by having him explain to Alice that it’s complicated. Oh, you think, Davide? OBVIOUSLY, IT’S VERY COMPLICATED FOR ALICE! He’s been with Barbara (Euridice Axen)—the woman he was kissing as he had not just shared a life altering kiss with Alice—for two years, but he’s liked Alice from the moment he first saw her and this has never happened before. However, Barbara has been through some shit, so he can’t leave her. That’s not complicated, Davide. That just sucks eggs. He says he’ll take two weeks off work to think things over and let it all cool down. Yeah, that’s bound to work, Davide. I’m sure the fire in both your hearts and loins will be snuffed right out. Also, how does he explain this sudden time off to Barbara? We’ve met her and the woman does not strike me as particularly un-smart or unaware.
Meanwhile, Alice tries to distract herself with another pretty man (Filippo de Carli), which works out less than ideally, but it does mean that we get to see Davide giving some very excellent rueful, longing looks across a crowded dance floor, which I am absolutely 110% here for. A-plus acting, A-plus writing, A-plus directing. After the two week hiatus, Alice and Davide obviously run into each other in all kinds of situations where they should not, and end up with their bodies very close together, but not touching. One of my favorite moments is when they are eating lunch together and the camera keeps showing close ups of parts of Davide’s face as he speaks. It’s a small moment, but it really captures how someone feels when they’re deeply lusting for another human. There are also some more explosive moments about which I shall not tell you lest it spoils the surprise. But I will say that it’s good. So damn good.
Alice also gets stuck (again) with her ex-boyfriend, the man-child, Carlo (Alberto Paradossi), whose hand she has to hold on his path to maybe finally growing up and to maybe stop screwing up his relationship with Cristina (Lucrezia Bertini). Good fucking night, this man could not find his way out of a cardboard box without a map, a flashlight, and Alice leading the way. She’ll share a long-kept secret that will free them both, I guess, though I think it’s mostly about her realizing she’s always been free. Carlo isn’t a monster, but I sure wish there was less focus on him growing out of being a man-child while his girlfriend grows an actual child. You know? Actually, now that I think about it, there are a LOT of women doing the emotional labor for men who either can’t do it for themselves or think the women are too weak to handle the fall out. This is, to put it bluntly, some bullshit.
In addition, there are turbulent waters ahead for Alice and her best friend Paola (Esther Elisha) when Alice tries to impose her star-clouded visions on a deeply personal situation. Alice tries to take her astrology into her own hands by writing homemade horoscopes, and letting the stars guide her life. She tells Paola that she feels like she’s always made the wrong decisions and she hopes astrology will lead her to better decisions and outcomes. Paola, who is facing her own difficult decision that she can’t imagine letting anyone else make for her, is horrified by this approach. Our dear Tio (Lorenzo Adorni), even with all his star charts, is headed straight for the colossal fuck up we’ve known was coming since he first laid eyes on Andrea (Alberto Boubakar Malanchino), but thankfully he has Alice to steer him back on course. Quite frankly, while I get that some of it is supposed to be humorous, most of the astrological stuff still sounds absolutely nonsensical to me, but I did really appreciate it when Alice, frustrated by a changed birth chart, says, “I am me, regardless.”
Which reminds me, there’s a part this season where a character points out that women are so often pitted against each other, especially when it comes to men, and wouldn’t it be nice if it weren’t like that, and friends, I pumped my fist in the air and shouted YES!!! And then I held my breath for the next five scenes just in case it was a set up for some trickery, which it was not. A lot of this season is about women being much stronger than they or others realize, which is something I can always get behind.
In contrast to all the personal chaos, Alice’s professional life is on the rise. Ratings for her show are super high and every idea she has turns to television gold. Last season I complained that it felt like Alice was sometimes too passive in her career successes, and, to a certain degree, it’s still a complaint this season. (If you recall, last season her big idea for the show with Tio was laid out to Davide while she was so plastered that she didn’t even remember it the next day.) Yes, she takes a more active, confident role in her career, but she still appears to be somewhat blissfully unaware of the scope and range of her own abilities. What’s done is done, but I wish I understood a little better why she never moves beyond being somewhat passive, and why it is always a man who hands her the next level of success.
Like last season, there is a good deal of humor running through the series. Claudia Gusmano as Alice is very funny to watch. Her face is incredibly expressive and responsive, which makes something like Carlo reading aloud his terrible letter to Cristina all the more comical. There’s a whole part where, based on Tio’s recommendation, Marlin (Emanuela Grimalda), the older television host, makes it her mission to find a Gemini to be her lover. A familiar face from last season returns and shows us that maybe just maybe there is a lid for every pot. It’s also a scene that demonstrates how well the double entendre “I think she’ll be coming soon” translates between Italian and English. Just in case you were wondering about that.
Let’s be honest, though, while all this other stuff is lovely, what we’re really here for is the will-they-won’t-they tension between Davide and Alice, right? And that, my dear rom-com viewers, brings us right back to that first word. Gratifying. Without giving away too much, these two end up just where you want them and it’s a fun ride watching them get there. And we were just speaking of double entendres!