Season 2 is a fun, smart, and thrilling string of episodes that closely mimics the feel and formula of freshman year--maybe a little too closely. It’s not that there’s anything particularly wrong with the new Sneaky Pete. Fans should be pleased, but whenever it’s about to do something unexpected, the narrative retreats into familiarity.
Lack of emotional depth aside, the second season is largely a success because it doesn’t shift the formula too much, instead building on it to include even more intense scenes that use the audience’s knowledge against them. Sneaky Pete is so cleverly plotted that even the most obvious outcomes are imbued with tension.
Sneaky Pete, then, is of a certain style. And one that it does quite well. But without Cranston as the magnetic heavy at the center of the action (or, necessarily, the same kind of long con that defined the first season), the effort it takes to keep up your investment might be more challenging than last season.
The gamesmanship between Marius and Luka’s people isn’t as bouncy as what we got last time, even if a lot of the individual cons are a pleasure to watch unfold. Much more frustrating, though, are all the non-Marius parts, and boy are there a lot of them. The season essentially turns into two separate shows that occasionally intersect.
The appeal of the show is in watching "Pete" (Marius) con people. There's considerably less of that in this season, so that makes it considerably worse.
The other actors are good and all, but none of them are all that interesting. The show would have been much better if "Pete" had just gone off to a new place with new characters.
season 1 was good, crisp, well edited despite the lengthy story line. It has sadly fallen apart and become way too confused and focusing on characters (Pete's family) that have been blown out of proportion with moments where credibility flies out of the window (prison release of original Pete, etc..). Too bad.