|“||I'm James. I'm 17. And I'm pretty sure I'm a psychopath.||”|
James is a one of the main protagonists of the popular television show, The End of the F***ing World.
When James was little, he and his mother went to the lake to feed the ducks. Rather than climb out of the car with him, she instead drove into the lake, killing herself while James watched. The psychological effects of this witnessing this event, compounded by his father's inability to empathize with his trauma as a child, caused James to believe he was a psychopath. When he grew older, James stuck his hand in a deep fat fryer and began killing animals, both in an attempt to feel something. At the beginning of season 1, after killing dozens of small animals, James decides he wants to kill something bigger—a human.
James and Alyssa steal James's dad's car and venture around England with the ultimate goal of finding Alyssa's father. Along the way, they stop at an abandoned house and stay there for the night. The owner, Clive Koch, comes home and find Alyssa in his bed. Attempting to make Alyssa another one of his murder-rape victims, he is stabbed in the neck by James who was hiding under the bed.
This sets up an investigation by the police; more specifically, Eunice and Teri, two detectives with a complicated past. While on the run, James and Alyssa part ways for some time Alyssa left the through a bathroom window. While on their own they learn more about who they are and what they want. They join together on the final step of their journey, meeting Alyssa's father. Once they are found by the cops, James and Alyssa make an attempt at an escape, but James, wanting to protect Alyssa, strikes her with the butt of his gun and runs away from the armed forces. With a detained Alyssa screaming after him, he runs along the beach as two shots misses and a third one is fired and the first season ends.
James ends up in the hospital from his injuries at the end of season 1, and he spends over a year in physical therapy relearning how to walk. A jury found him not guilty of Koch's murder, but he was given a suspended sentence due to the other crimes he and Alyssa had committed on the road. Alyssa's mother visits him the hospital and forces James to write a break up letter to Alyssa, and the two lose contact with one another.
After being discharged from the hospital, James and his father agree to try to rebuild their relationship. Unfortunately, due to his habit of stress eating and his poor diet, James's father has a heart attack shortly thereafter, leaving James an orphan. James begins living out of his car and takes his father's ashes with him everywhere in season 2 until he drops them with Alyssa at the park where his parents met.
James begins stalking Alyssa as a means of making sure she doesn't get hurt, as she's his "last person left." Alyssa notices his car sitting outside her job and walks up to it before he can drive away, and the two are once again reunited. However, Alyssa reveals she's being married to Todd, a man she met in the country. James, who still has feelings for Alyssa, is shocked. Alyssa does later end up leaving her wedding to run away, meeting up with James as they go on yet another road trip together.
It is revealed Clive Koch had a girlfriend who was sent to prison. Spurred by her revenge, she comes after James and Alyssa, intent on killing them.
Personality (Netflix Series)
In season 1, James believes himself to be a psychopath, but he actually has PTSD from watching his mother's death. He thinks he doesn't have feelings and wants to kill someone (namely, Alyssa) to confirm this to himself. At the beginning of the season, James is very quiet and blocked off. His agreeableness and his willingness to "let things happen" paint him a pushover, and he almost always follows whatever Alyssa wants to do. However, the more time he spends around Alyssa, the more confident he becomes; he even initiates the pair's first kiss while they're dancing together.
After killing Clive Koch, James comes to the realization that he is not a psychopath and that he must face his repressed emotions over his mother's death. When Alyssa leaves him, he's overwhelmed by the silence, as it forces him to think about it all. He purposely picks a fight with a group of men on the side of the road in order to feel something, and as he lays beaten on the ground, he realizes the strength of Alyssa's positive influence on him.
After the two are reunited, James is much more talkative, and he's fiercely protective of Alyssa after understanding what he feels for her. When the police are on their trail, James tells Alyssa to lie and say that he kidnapped her in order to prevent her from being charged with any crimes. Later, he leaves her on the beach and runs away as the cops chase after the two, protecting her from harm as he's shot.
|“||I've just turned 18, and I think I understand what people mean to each other.||”|
In season 2, James starts pursuing a much more active role in the lives of people he loves. He becomes a lot more open with his emotions and stands up for himself more. James is also much more focused on his personal relationships with others, wanting to stay close to them, and wanting them to be happy. It is unlikely that James shows the same symptoms of PTSD that Alyssa has from the attack, as he is overall a lot calmer and self-aware in the second season. His selfless nature is a lot more prominent in the second season, as well as his loyalty. For example, when he went back to the restaurant to save Alyssa from Bonnie’s revenge plan.
Even though James went through multiple traumas, he still remains passive, tranquil, and patient. In the last episode, Alyssa reveals to him that she loves him, but needs more time to heal. James responds with an “okay”; it is insinuated that he will continue to support and love Alyssa while she heals.