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  • Accidental Aesop: One can argue that the show is a widespread critique of all forms of government. Many argue that this Aesop is intentional, not accidental, as well.
    • Allie and her group are a somewhat socialist group that is able to run the society, but only because it works as a sort of police state and leaves many people upset about the state of affairs.
    • Harry and Campbell represent capitalism, interested in running the society because they want to protect their assets and private property, rather than making the society run any better or even at all.
    • Lexie is the perfect image of a populist politician, fomenting the anger that the masses already feel and feeds them half truths. She offers no real solution or changes, but amasses followers out of feeling alone, and even when pressured to tell what is her plan, she refuses to say or twists pretty speeches into a Non-Answer.
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    • The Guard makes up for the enforcers of the law, such as the police and the military, and they want more power. However, they are mostly unaware of the actual The Chains of Commanding and have no ideal of how to actually run a society, they just think they're entitled to more power than what they currently have.
    • Cassandra represents that once in a generation leader who truly wants what's best for the people she serves and knows how to lead them in a matter to bring peace and prosperity to all, which of course makes her a threat to people with more selfish ambitions. And like many of these leaders, she gets assassinated. Even her assassin, Dewey, fits the "lone wolf" profile seen in famous political assassinations with many people talking about how anti-social and weird he is.
  • Awesome Music: "bury a friend" by Billie Eilish in the promotional material. Also "Savage" by Sam Tinnesz in episode 4.
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  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: Season 1 finale induces this, making it clear that since Campbell has taken control and imprisoned Allie and Will for life, there is little chance for a happy ending for any of the characters and how much misery is gonna be there in Season 2. And it is unknown if they will ever get out of this town or not.
  • Designated Hero: Allie. She's the de-facto leader of the town, but she has a pretty poor moral compass at times, being against executing the clearly dangerous Campbell while being ok with her soldiers' mistreatment of Lexie, who's more of just a bitch sometimes.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Harry gets this treatment from many fans. He makes no effort to further the development of New Ham until he's manipulated by the psychopathic Campbell, and is responsible for Cassandra's death after joking about sexually assaulting and killing her. But many latch on to his brief friendship with Allie, his depression (which is brought on because he has to share resources and work, rather than any of the actual issues going on), and his brief look of regret in the first season finale to treat him like a woobie who just needs Allie to redeem him.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: After only a day of the series being on Netflix, Grizz was already the subject of an article titled “Your new Internet Boyfriend”. In large part, this comes from his sweet romance with Sam and being one of the few Only Sane Man in the show.
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    • Even after being killed off after 3 episodes, Cassandra still holds a strong fanbase as of today for being a strong and kind leader who wanted what's best for the people.
  • Epileptic Trees: The minute Charlie the dog appeared in the first season finale, people started trying to deduce if or how he was involved in every major event of the series. Popular theories include he's the form Pfeiffer takes in the alternate universe, he has the ability to travel between worlds, he's God and all the teens are dead, or he's a sign that those who die in one world come back to life in the other.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Allie. Though she is cold and ruthless at times, you can't help but feel bad for this woman. She gets taken to a town along with her friends where her parents are gone, then she gets rejected by Will, she loses her sister, she gets forced into being a ruler, she gets scarred by killing her sister's killer and isolates herself, gets poisoned and finally gets imprisoned by a tyrant for god knows how long.
    • Lexie. Yes, she's an asshole and a corrupt politician in the making. At the same time, she was unjustly imprisoned by the Guard and was forced to change in front of them (two teenage boys) whilst menstruating. It's also implied that she was in danger of sexual assault. Allie is relatively cold to her after this experience (in part due to Lexie's Jerkass behavior, but this treatment is part of why Lexie joins the coup.
  • Les Yay: Becca/Kelly has some going for it. The two develop a very close friendship in the back half of season one. Part of it is due to Kelly essentially becoming Becca's OBGYN, but Gordie does too and he and Becca aren't nearly as close as the two girls are.
  • Meme Acknowledgement: The show's instagram quickly picked up on which memes had traction in the fandom and began making its own variations, much to everyone's delight.
    • José Julián (Gordie) is well aware of the memes that sprung up in the fandom during the wait for the renewal, even contributing many of his own on his instagram (though those have since been deleted).
    • The renewal video shows the rest of the cast and crew are tuned in as well, with Olivia (Elle) mentioning the pie and Alex (Harry) mentioning fugitive.
  • Memetic Mutation: Despite the first season only being 10 episodes, several memes were created by the fandom.
    • Grizz's handcuffs.Explanation 
    • Elle's pie.Explanation 
    • Harry trying to play fugitive. Explanation 
    • As mentioned above, José began making memes of his own on instagram after the show premiered. Thus after a while, fans made memes about José making memes.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Campbell himself crosses this off several times. Most notably when he abuses Elle and forms a coup to overthrow Allie.
    • Clark and Jason themselves cross it by joining Campbell's coup and imprisoning Allie out of spite.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • Campbell's past, a story told by Sam: Campbell cut off the wings of the family's pet bird just to watch it crawl and try to save itself. This is intercut with a scene where Campbell drowns his girlfriend in the bathtub to assert his dominance over her.
    • The execution scene in episode 6. It's tense, drawn out and almost torturous to watch as Cassandra's killer begs for his life, saying he wants forgiveness and promises not to do it again. It's a stressful and strong scene even with basically no gore.
  • Spiritual Adaptation: Many viewers have pointed out the series' similarities to the Gone book series: a Reluctant Ruler (Allie/Sam) and their will they/won't they advisor (Will/Astrid) against a popular rich kid in over his head (Harry/Caine) and a dangerous psychopath (Campbell/Drake) while trapped in a small town without any adults. There's even a thanksgiving banquet in both. The only thing missing is the superpowers and mutant animals.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: The show's first season does remarkably little with its main mystery. The main focus ends up being a teen political drama, while the mystery of where are they and how they got there, one of the main hooks of the show, is mostly an excuse for that plot to run, and only gets any real development in the first and last episodes of season one.
  • Too Cool to Live: Cassandra is by far the most interesting character in the beginning of the story. Her bossy, go-getter personality makes her hated by everyone, but she's also the only one who has her head in the right place and is able to make everyone else survive at all, so she's killed as early as episode 3 and Allie takes over as the main character.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic:
    • Allie is shown to have reservations about the idea of executing Campbell when they have no evidence of any crime of his and accuses the people who do want to do that to only be doing it because they are afraid of him. That is, even though she knows from Sam that he is a positive and tested psychopath who killed an animal for fun, she grew up with him knowing something is wrong with him and she knows even Campbell's own girlfriend is terrified of him. While her reasoning that killing someone whenever you're afraid of them is wrong can be considered correct, Campbell is just a walking parade of red flags that she decided to ignore for the sake of principles.
    • Most of the townsfolk can come off as this. They are in a very life-or-death situation, in which they need to work together to survive, but are unbelievably quick to turn against the person that has managed to keep everything in check for so long because they want more luxury when they are literally in the middle of nowhere with no guarantee that they'll survive the winter.
  • The Woobie: Elle! Oh dear god, Elle! After everything Campbell puts her through, you can’t help but want to give that poor kid a hug. And what’s worse is she literally can’t get away even stating she could if they weren’t in the very predicament that is the town.

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