“The Get Down” Pt. Two provides visually and aurally stunning content in all five of its episodes. In that respect, it picks up exactly where Pt. One left off and fulfils the obligation that its title makes to the viewer, but beyond that, it doesn’t do all that much.
Split into two “parts,” the first season of “The Get Down” didn’t ever provide the narrative substance that one would expect from a Baz Luhrmann created/produced series. It absolutely provides the spectacle, but this is no “Moulin Rouge!”
With that in mind it is hard to call “The Get Down” a letdown, because, quite simply, it’s not. It’s very enjoyable. Especially Pt. Two.
Pt. One ended with “The Get Down Brothers” (the collaborative hip-hop/rap group the main characters make up) finally putting on an actual show. This is the only time that Shaolin Fantastic, (Shameik Moore), A.K.A, “no-attempt-to-be-subtle-with-the-Wu Tang Clan-reference,” show takes place in Pt. 1.
These performances, along with several of the disco and disco-esque songs performed by Mylene Cruz (Herizen Guardiola) keep the show continuously entertaining, but not substantial. Especially considering that Moore’s Shaolin and Justice Smith’s Ezekiel Figuero are the only well-acted characters of the central group.
That being said, this is the only show where Jaden Smith can be found in a non-cringe-y, entertaining light. His character, Dizzy, is effectively just a personification of his Twitter account, which I guess might just be the actual Jaden Smith.
Through Smith’s character, the viewer gets a series of very interesting animated sequences, which generally depict Dizzy as either an alien or Christ figure, which must be specifically denoted in Smith’s contract.
The show constantly feels like it’s on the verge of being something that I’d love and would watch over and over again, but it never gets there. Because with each successive viewing the plot and songs just seem to fit less and less with the time.
The two most explicit examples of this are Giancarlo Esposito’s Pastor Cruz, who, regardless of how well he plays the part, cannot be seen as anything but Gus Fring, and the oddly Rihanna-feeling performance by Guardiola’s Mylene in episode four of Pt. Two, “Gamble Everything.” (Also, the constant Sony plugs. It seems like Sony can’t produce a show without reminding the viewer that they made the Walkman and are still a relevant audio company.)
That’s a consistent feeling evoked by the show, a kind of non-1978 1978. A 1978 that seems much more grounded in ‘90s rap (the grown-up version of Figuero is Nas, so the ‘90s feel of the lyrics makes sense) and 2000s hip-hop (not exactly sure why, other than assumed commercial appeal, the pop music tends to gravitate toward current pop/hip-hop music). This takes away from the supposedly historical context of the show, but not so much that it makes it hard to watch, just hard to rewatch.
I would recommend watching “The Get Down” but I would also recommend doing that while holding your computer or smartphone, because there will be times where you’ll want to see what your friends are up to instead of watching the show.