‘The Tourist’ Season 2 Review — Netflix Thriller Remains Killer

The Big Picture

The Tourist
Season 2 continues its captivating storytelling in Ireland, filled with dark twists and unpredictable writing.
Jamie Dornan shines as the leading man, showcasing versatile acting and dynamic emotions alongside co-star Danielle Macdonald.
The series maintains its unique tone, blending genres like horror and comedy with influences from filmmakers like the Coen Brothers and David Lynch, as well as films like

When The Tourist first premiered on Max in 2022, its smartly written ending felt like the perfect conclusion to the puzzling, dark comedy. The neo-Western reminiscent of Coen Brothers classics like Fargo and Blood Simple about one man’s amnesia-filled romp across the Australian outback was a captivating odyssey blending action, mystery, and dark humor. But despite showrunners Harry and Jack Williams and series star Jamie Dornan, insisting it was never meant to be more than one season, an abundance of critical acclaim and an astounding audience of 11.4 million viewers following its BBC run proved there was more story to tell. With The Tourist making its anticipated U.S. debut on Netflix this month, Season 2 tonally hits all the right notes for a uniquely twisted, action-thriller that is genuinely fun and engrossing.

Originally produced for the BBC and premiering Season 2 on its new streaming home at Netflix on February 29, The Tourist continues to show its strengths by not wasting any time. Trading the desert-hued ambiance of the Australian outback for lush, sprawling vistas of Ireland where Dornan’s character Elliot Stanley is from, things take a wild turn when he returns home for answers. Though the premise feels similar to the first season, as Elliot still can’t remember who he is, The Tourist remains self-assured while crafting a real sense of distinction through unpredictable writing and authentic performances that will keep you glued to your seat.

What Is ‘The Tourist’ Season 2 About?

After a heartbroken Elliot (Jamie Dornan) swallows a bottle of pills and former Constable Helen Chambers (Danielle Macdonald) decides to give him another chance in the Season 1 finale, we learn the two nomads are eagerly traveling the globe together. The series quickly establishes their relationship, revealing the pair are very much in love. While they are in the middle of their Southeast Asian trip, Helen tells Elliot she received a letter from someone named “Tommy,” who claims to know him. When they try and meet up with the mysterious stranger in Ireland, Elliot is shortly kidnapped by the Donal family in what is also one of the funniest scenes from the dark comedy, which finds Dornan running up a hill in a heartstopping chase as his assailants play The Pretenders’ “Don’t Get Me Wrong.”

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Though it appears he’s escaped after tumbling down a long emerald hill, Elliot’s pursuers find him and things get a little ugly — think Saw. Meanwhile, Helen calls the police and reports to Detective Ruairi Slater (Conor MacNeill) that her boyfriend is missing. While at the station, she meets Niamh Cassidy (Olwen Fouéré), who was sent a photograph of her kidnapped son Elliot – except, his name is “Eugene” and the last time she saw him was when he was 27.

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As Elliott and Helen try to find the truth and get stuck in the most outlandish situations while apart, their energizing love story raises the stakes for how The Tourist has evolved from Season 1. Through smart and precise pacing that locks down interest through thoughtful writing, a lot happens across the show’s six episodes. As Elliot navigates all he learns about his past and discovers a bloody rivalry between two warring families, the Irish countryside is the perfect setting for his psyche as we go through literal peaks and valleys thanks to dark twists and turns. Whereas a barren and bleak outback served as a strong character in Season 1, the second season’s new landscape is a clever addition to this chapter of Elliot’s life.

Jamie Dornan Is the Beating Heart of ‘The Tourist’ Season 2

One of the show’s greatest appeals is its cast. Showcasing a magnetic versatility, Dornan proves he is a tremendously watchable leading man. While audiences might be quick to think of him as Christian Grey, the actor has distinguished himself as a real force with a refreshing energy. In taking on the complex role of a man continually finding new information about himself, Dornan makes profound use of his diverse acting strengths as a character who has met some painful, fragmented truths. As Elliot makes sense of who he is, the actor’s approach blends complex emotions eloquently through striking expressions and delivery. These nuances, filled with wide-eyed panic and unease, find Dornan seamlessly embodying a multitude of emotions while remaining dry, humorous, and humbly charismatic.

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Complimenting Dornan in the series is Danielle Macdonald, who is every bit as magnetic as her co-star. If Dornan is The Tourist’s heart, Macdonald is its compass. Her infectiously likable personality is a delight on-screen as she makes the darker tones of the series brighter with her genuine warmth. With all her character’s quirks and a discerning eye for the particulars, Macdonald’s portrayal gives off some big Marge Gundersen à la Fargo vitality. Her chemistry with Dornan is effervescent, giving the series the boost it needs amid shadowy elements.

The supporting cast rounds out The Tourist most impressively. While Season 2 sees the return of Helen’s (hilariously) awful ex-boyfriend Ethan (Greg Larsen) as he tries to make amends, his appearance makes for some laughable moments between him and Dornan’s Elliot. Olwen Fouréré joins the series in its second season as Elliot’s mother/badass crime lord matriarch. While her performance is focused and deep, she adds a nice weightiness to the series’ more shadowed tones. Also new to the show is the Garda detective played by Conor MacNeill (best known for The Fall, which also stars Dornan), who portrays a gripping character rooted in some deeply grim events. While his character takes a serious turn and creates one of the show’s more WTF moments, it’s an absorbing juncture straight out of the shadiness of a Coen Brothers film and sets the tone for what more we can expect from these bizarre characters surrounding Elliot.

‘The Tourist’ Season 2 Excels With Its Smartly Applied Influences

Image via Netflix

With strong writing and ambitious plot turns that will give you serious whiplash, The Tourist is edgy, brutal, and laugh-out-loud funny. Taking audiences on an unpredictable journey through the glorious backroads of Ireland, there is a lot to love about this show and the various genres it pulls up most naturally. Playing with horror through strong nods to the aforementioned Saw and even Psycho, The Tourist is clever and gripping in every way imaginable without ever feeling overdone.

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Thanks to atmospheric and unsettling sequences, The Tourist is every bit a neo-Western that sprinkles in the manic traits of the Coen Brothers, David Lynch, and Quentin Tarantino films. It might sample some of these filmmakers’ best works, but it’s a series all its own due in part to its enigmatic plots and characters. Accentuating themes of antiheroes and identity all wrapped into six compelling hours, showrunners Harry and Jack Williams have managed to create a world that evokes a deeply spirited, edgy, and pointed rhythm. Woven through a distinct narrative approach characterized by sharp dialogues and bold visuals, the series’ kinetic energy can get quite dark but is challenged by some very uncommon storytelling threads. The Tourist Season 2 can feel quirky and outlandish thanks to its consistent chaos, but it works; there is a distinguishable stylishness to the Williams siblings’ production that encompasses some deeply nail-biting suspense and snappy humor.

The Tourist


The Tourist remains pitch-perfect and hits all the right notes for a uniquely twisted and fun action-thriller.

ProsThe Tourist remains self-assured while crafting a real sense of distinction through unpredictable writing and authentic performances.Dornan makes profound use of his diverse acting credits as a character that has met with some painful, fragmented truths.

The Tourist is available to watch on Netflix in the U.S.

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