Beartown Episode 2 recap: Kevin commits a horrific act of violence

Oliver Dufåker, Sanna Niemi, Miriam Ingrid in Beartown Season 1, Episode 2 - Photograph by Niklas Maupoix/HBO
Oliver Dufåker, Sanna Niemi, Miriam Ingrid in Beartown Season 1, Episode 2 - Photograph by Niklas Maupoix/HBO /

The bulk of Beartown Episode 2 is about the semifinal game between Beartown and rival team HEB. This game’s importance could not be stressed enough, as both adults and teens are feeling the immense pressure to keep the town afloat.

If Beartown loses the semifinals, they’ll lose their arena and funds that would be allocated to a new hockey school in the town’s perimeters. Everything is riding on this game, and no one feels that pressure more than coach Peter and star player Kevin.

Caution: The following article contains spoilers for Beartown Episode 2 and contains references to sexual assault/rape that might be triggering to some readers.

The board members want to know what Peter’s plans are to win the semifinals; they’re concerned they don’t have the speed necessary to beat HEB. They also want to force Sune to retire, believing he’s too old to be the sports manager any longer. They even use Peter’s own words against him, bringing up the moment he said he wanted to build a “new Beartown.”

Obviously, Peter is pissed they want to bench his longtime friend, but Sune accepts the career change. He leaves behind a note for Peter advising him to look into Amat on the boy’s team. Amat is much younger than the boys on the junior team, but he’s speedy. Peter recruits him to join them for training. Practice is brutal for poor Amat. Peter is relentless in forcing him to try again and again as he’s repeatedly smashed into the ice.

It’s important to keep these smaller moments in mind in relation to what happens at the end of this episode when Kevin violently rapes Maya. While Kevin is at fault for his actions, there is a pervasive rape culture, toxic masculinity, sexism and racism throughout Beartown. All of those facets are effortlessly showcased in Beartown Episode 2.

An example of this is in the relationship between Peter and Kevin. The two are starting to grow closer on the court and off, as Peter constantly tells Kevin that he’s the star, the golden boy. He should go out and take whatever he wants. His own father is emotionally abusive and a longtime rival of Peter’s. When Mats sees them shooting pucks for leisure in his yard, he cooly threatens to call the police the next time Peter is near his son off the ice.

As for Amat, he experiences racism from his peers under the veneer of casual hazing. Even his mother, Fatima, is treated horrifically by a team mom who treats her like the help, telling her to sweep up a broken bottle near the arena entrance.

When game night finally rolls around, Peter yet again hammers in the fact that if they lose this game, all hope is lost. He tells them that HEB is their enemy who wants to take away their arena intentionally. It’s impossible to misinterpret Peter’s meaning here. He wants his team to bloody HEB, if necessary, to do whatever it takes to win. And to Kevin, Peter tells him that all he has to do is go out on the ice and take what’s rightfully his.

It winds up being a close match, but ultimately Beartown pulls ahead to win 3-2.

Beartown Episode 2
Beartown Episode 2 – Photograph by Niklas Maupoix/HBO /

Beartown Episode 2 recap: A teen party ends in horror and trauma

After, the entire team and several girls from school meet at Kevin’s house for a big party with all the staples, underage drinking, smoking, etc. He demands Maya attend, and she does with her friend Ana.

Maya and Kevin flirt throughout the evening as Maya gets increasingly drunk. At one point, another girl tries to take Kevin into another room to hook up, and Kevin blows her off. Angry, she takes her frustration at being rejected out on Maya, shoving her into a counter, causing her to scrape her elbow.

Kevin takes Maya downstairs so he can bandage her bloody wound, and they continue chatting. Maya calls him out for caring about nothing but hockey, which Kevin admits is true. They eventually get to Kevin’s bedroom, where Maya notices old photos of him as a kid or with his dad.

While they chat, Kevin reveals more of his dark point-of-view. He belittles his own father, calling him a coward who sometimes cries at night, even offering to film his dad in tears so he can show Maya and laugh at him. Kevin believes any sign of emotion or vulnerability is a weakness.

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Maya and Kevin start to kiss, and their making out leads to his bed. But Maya reaches a point where she’s uncomfortable, not wanting to have sex with Kevin just yet and tries to leave. Kevin’s persona immediately changes. At the prospect of being rejected, he becomes aggressive and violent. “You’re seriously going to turn down a winner? I’m the king of this f–king town. I could have any girl out there I want.”

He grabs Maya and forces her on the bed, brutally raping her. It’s tough to watch, and while I understand why Beartown felt the need to show the scene to underscore the harmful and toxic environment nurtured among the hockey team and Beartown in general, I’m not sure the scene needed to last as long as it did.

Also important to note is that Amat walks into the room toward the end of the assault, Kevin notices him. It’s not clear how much Amat saw. And Maya’s bandage comes off during the rape, likely leaving blood on Kevin’s bedsheets. Could that be used to prove her case later on?

Beartown Episode 2
Ulf Stenberg in Beartown Episode 2 – Photograph by Niklas Maupoix/HBO /

Beartown Episode 2 recap: Other important developments

While the bulk of this episode revolves around the hockey match and Kevin’s violent act against Maya, a few other important things occur during Beartown Episode 2. We find out that Benji is not straight, as he has been secretly seeing one of the bartenders at the same bar where his sister works. He visits him after his game for a steamy rendezvous. And Mira, Peter’s wife and Maya’s mother is offered a great new job, but she feels obligated to turn it down so she can remain Peter’s perfect hockey wife.

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What did you think about Beartown Episode 2? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

New episodes of Beartown Season 1 air Monday nights at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.