When Trinkets was renewed for a second season shortly after its June 2019 premiere, few industry insiders seemed surprised. While only its streaming masters knew for sure just how many viewers were actually watching, the high school rom-dram met the usual criteria for survival: adoration from a desirable demographic (teenage girls), star-kissed source material (the show was adapted from Legally Blonde screenwriter Kirsten "Kiwi" Smith's YA novel), and the greater Portlandia setting evidently preferred for Netflix tales of frustrated adolescence (see: Everything Sucks!, American Vandal, All Together Now).
If anything, Trinkets' unique plot about a group of kleptomaniacs who bond because of their shoplifting habit appeared to be an automatic green light for continued renewal. But the latest string of 10 episodes, released in late August, will be the last. Truth be told, this particular series began coasting soon after Shoplifters Anonymous brought our mismatched trio together.
Last summer's distinctly meandering deep dive inside the pockets of three none too especially complicated teen thieves left few questions hanging. Even the climactic episode's cliffhanger—when blossoming wallflower Elodie (Brianna Hildebrand) runs away from home to follow her indie songstress crush on tour—didn't tease coming revelations, which are simply a return to dreary squabbling and court-mandated recovery programs.
Season 2 begins a couple of days after the first one left off and sees the heroines slowly returning to form. Discovering that life on a tour bus isn't all tickle fights and giggles, Elodie drifts away from the eternal after-party to pluck out tunes on a pilfered ukulele. Back in Lake Oswego, Tabitha (Quintessa Swindell) and Moe (Kiana Madeira) have mostly escaped punishment for boosting, crashing and then sinking the beloved car of Tabitha's abusive ex, Brady (Brandon Butler), and she celebrates her newfound freedom by seeking out the company of brooding bartender Luka (Henry Zaga). Meanwhile, Moe takes to day drinking her way through a brief suspension from school for hitting Brady when he threatens to go to the police about the car unless Tabitha starts dating him again.
Hardly the first show to adopt an adolescent's point of view, Trinkets perhaps uniquely relishes the blinkered perspective and skewed risk assessment teenage self-obsession affords. We root onward each crime spree. We ignore all hints of dependency issues. We bristle against every sign of parental dominance by imperfect guardians, no matter how benevolent their intentions are. Also, importantly, we forget just how young these girls are supposed to be.
While the second batch of episodes is flawed, Hildebrand (Deadpool, The Exorcist) gives a bravura performance, trading in aggrieved sorrow, active bitch face and smoldering bemusement. In the rare instances her character does lose her cool—lashing out at her harmless stepmom for modifying a family sweet potato recipe—the effect is less like roiling teenage pettiness than a hot flash of spinster aunt judgment.
Trinkets, once again, references its Portland settings so weirdly often that the Rose City feels utterly intrinsic to some underlying vision. However seriously we're meant to take the relentless upsell of Puddletown as woke Narnia for sulky "creatives," the show is an unfailingly gorgeous travelogue that throws a spotlight on the shiniest aspects of a storied cityscape colonized by younger, sleeker, steely-eyed careerists.
At the end of the day, capping its run at 20 episodes might have made the most sense, simply because the heroines grew progressively less likable. The sort of profound egotism forgivable during a first relationship reads as worryingly corrosive by the second. To a certain extent, the show always worked best as dreamily pleasant wish fulfillment: a consequence-free glide through the late wonder years where the angles always flatter.
SEE IT: Season 2 of Trinkets streams on Netflix.