Warning: This article contains spoilers for the plot of Heartstopper Season 2.
One of the more surprising moments (there are many) in the new season of Heartstopper is when Ben (Sebastian Croft) shows up at the Lambert queer art show. More than just shocking; the scene also serves another purpose: it’s the last time we’ll see Ben in the show.
Show creator Alice Oseman recently told Netflix the news that “Ben’s role in Heartstopper is now complete.” However, Oseman also dove into that moment a bit and talked about what it meant for Ben and the show.
Seeing Ben in season 2 was also a shock for fans of the comic, because he doesn’t appear after Volume One. Oseman revealed they (for editor: Oseman uses she/her and they/them pronouns) wanted to expand the storyline of the show beyond the pages of the comics.
“As Season 2 begins to unpack the trauma that Charlie carries with him due to his toxic relationship with Ben and the bullying he has faced in the past, I felt Ben’s presence was necessary to properly address those topics,” Oseman said.
Bringing back Ben lets Charlie deal with those feelings and emotions, as well as let the two characters have an ending and something that at least resembles a resolution.
Ben says he’s sorry and tells Charlie he’s leaving Truham. He admits that he’s a “messed up person” and actually does fancy Charlie but just isn’t ready to come out. Ben, to his credit, doesn’t just roll over and accept the apology.
“You don’t get to ambush me into forgiving you,” Charlie said. “I really hope you become a better person so you don’t hurt anyone else. But I don’t want to be there to see that happen.”
Croft said he enjoyed playing a character that was “incredibly complicated.”
“Alice and I both felt strongly about him not having a redemption arc,” he said. “It’s a really beautiful way of having these two people who have been through a lot — and Ben’s been horrible to Charlie — to have that conversation and explore it on a deeper level than I felt like we got to do in Season 1.”
Redeeming Ben would have been “needlessly cruel,” Oseman said. “Particularly as the aftershocks of Ben’s manipulation are still causing Charlie pain. Ben can become a better person, but Charlie should not have to witness that, endorse it, or offer any forgiveness. And so he won’t.”
Seasons 1 and 2 of Heartstopper are currently streaming on Netflix. It’s getting really good reviews.