Al Rawabi School for Girls: season 2 takes stock of videos via social networks

We find the high school girls from the Al Rawabi school in the wonderful Kingdom of Jordan. As with the first season, we know that everything is not rosy, except the uniform blouses. Warning: this column reveals key passages of the plot.

New school year, new characters

Sarah is a new student of Al Rawabi. She is a lively, happy, open teenager, but, like all teenagers, she wants to be popular. Another character makes his return: the new director of the establishment. If you’re wondering what happened to the old one, watch the first season.

The latter has a more liberal approach to education, but let the reader make no mistake: liberal for a country like Jordan. It is not the self-managed high school of Paris. She decides to loosen the screws a little on her students, who have to work on an end-of-semester project. Every young girl can do whatever she wants: a film, a choreography, a scientific project, anything is possible.

Which gives rise to an almost diabolical project on the part of Shams, a student passionate about cinema. On the fringes of her comrades, she evolves in her own universe, without really being interested in others, although she does have a certain interest in them. She observes the world around her, to better highlight its hypocrisy.

It’s easy to highlight the widespread hypocrisy in Jordan, but upon closer inspection, the point is not confined to this country. In fact, the great strength of Al Rawabi School for Girls is to be able to confront us, Westerners, with our own duplicities.

Popularity at all costs

The main heroine of this new season is called Sarah and her dream is to become popular, both in her high school and on social networks. Less fortunate than her classmates, a little awkward, she tries to make new friends, without really succeeding at first.

One evening, she uploads a funny — and not very mean — video about her classmates. The video goes viral and the queen bee, Tasneem becomes her friend. At first, this friendship is very interested. Tasneem takes care of her image, because she has a goal. When you find out which one, you will understand why the series offers us a vision that is not confined to Jordan.

From there, Sarah encounters a life and a society that she only dreamed of and inevitably, she changes her attitude a little, leaving her best friend Nadeen aside. The latter experiences it quite badly, just like Hiba, Tasneem’s best friend. Who says teenage girls, says teenage stupidities.

This is where Miss Abeer, the science teacher, comes into play. Already present in the first season, she is the one who generates a disaster. But, she changed, she repented and when the students try to use her to settle their bickering, she chooses to close her eyes.

The fall

Unfortunately, Sarah’s popularity will harm her. Among his followers is what we can call a sexual predator. Unable to financially support her friends, Sarah accepts money for photos of her feet. The predator asks him for more. If she refuses, he reveals the old content.

Cornered, she accepts. Let us rest assured: the video is not shocking to us, but remember that we are in Jordan. Sarah films herself without her shirt, simply dressed in a tank top with thin straps. By an unfortunate combination of circumstances, the video was made public. As we are in a very prudish environment, no one explains to young girls the risks of social networks. Patriarchal society obliges, whatever happens, it is always the fault of women and yes, this also applies in our Western societies.

Sarah is going to be accused by everyone except Miss Abeer and the principal. Her friends turn their backs on her, her parents are on the verge of disowning her, her classmates almost go to the point of lynching her. There is only the director and Miss Abeer to remind us that Sarah is a victim of a sexual predator.

Fortunately, Sarah manages to resurface. She is not the only one to change and evolve. But everything doesn’t work out.

Impressionist photography

Is this season 2 happier than the first? Objectively, yes, but it remains a pretty sad series. We temporarily find the characters from the first season and you will know what happened to them. If you’ve seen season 1, you suspect this, but we were missing some sort of confirmation.

What is very touching is the place given to forgiveness and takes on its full meaning in the fourth episode. The new generation is also learning it, which makes for a fairly sincere presentation. In fact, apart from Miss Abeer and the principal, it is mainly the adults who are bogus, not as an actor or character, but in their attitude. Again, you will understand what I mean by watching the series.

As with the first season, the second season ends with drama. Even if the series focuses on school bullying, it is not him who is the cause of this second death and it is likely that you end this season feeling groggy and sad.

The new season of Al Rawabi School for Girls has been online on Netflix for a week, so it is too early to know if a third season will see the light of day. We chose to be optimistic and to believe in it. If you have teenagers around you, it might be a good idea to watch it with them. This can start a dialogue, on the place of social networks, on computer security – particularly in the first season – on the good reflexes to have when facing an online predator, etc. Strictly speaking, there are no scenes of violence or gore, but the concluding scenes of both seasons are quite sad.

Al Rawabi School for Girls is available on Netflix.

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