Love Life season 2 centers around a new protagonist, though it does bring back Anna Kendrick’s character in a small but significant way. In the first season of the romantic comedy anthology, which premiered in May 2020 on HBO Max, Love Life focused on Darby Carter (Kendrick). In search of her soulmate while also juggling complicated friendships and family connections, the series chronicled Darby’s most significant relationships as she moved through New York over the years. Along the way, Darby experienced exciting flings, disappointment, and plenty of heartaches.
But by the end of Love Life season 1, Darby had found her soulmate. Or, as she prefers to refer to it, her “person.” The big moment occurs in the finale of the season, which ran for 10 episodes when Darby meets Grant (Kingsley Ben-Adir) at the wedding of her friend Sara (Zoë Chao). Kendrick’s character doesn’t seem to realize how significant Grant will prove to be in her life. But the narration, which serves as something like the main character’s inner-monologue, suggests that Darby has found her happy ending. When it was announced that Love Life season 2 had been given a renewal, it was also revealed that The Good Place alum William Jackson Harper would be playing the new lead character. Still, there is a clear connection between the two seasons, and it involves a bit of timeline creativity.
That connection becomes clear in the opening scene of Love Life season 2, as it’s shown that Marcus Watkins is a guest at the wedding of Darby and Magnus (Nick Thune). Marcus, along with his wife Emily (Maya Kazan), are acquaintances of the groom. Though they’re not really close with Magnus, and they’re a little surprised to be invited. It’s at the noisy wedding, which happens in a bar in 2016, that Marcus meets Mia Hines (Jessica Williams). Marcus, a book editor who feels unfulfilled in his marriage, soon begins an emotional affair with Mia. And given that Mia works with Darby, it allows for Kendrick to continue making occasional guest appearances.
By the time Love Life season 1 had come to a close, Darby had moved on from Magnus. The two had a messy relationship, with Magnus acting recklessly, and the marriage ended in divorce. Still, prior to the premiere of its sophomore installment, Love Life hadn’t shown viewers a glimpse of what the wedding actually looked like. This means that Marcus’ story, specifically his feelings for Mia and his divorce from Emily, occurs right in the middle of Darby’s journey of finding the right partner.
In interviews to promote Love Life season 2, Kendrick compared the series to the MCU. The actress referred to the MCU as an example of how stories can be interconnected, with characters moving in and out of the spotlight depending on what the narrative requires, and noted that the HBO Max anthology hopes to be linked in its own way. But, still, even with that connective tissue, Marcus’ version of the rom-com is already very different than Darby’s. For one thing, the opening narration makes clear that Marcus doesn’t buy the idea of soulmates.