So I am late to the party on season 3, in reality, I was late to the party on this whole series. However, I have finally watched it and I am a bit torn. I certainly don’t hate it, but I was pretty disappointed by certain aspects of it.
On the pros, the series remains joke-dense. If there is one thing you can say about the series overall is that there is a lot of humor and a lot to take in. In fact re-watching it is almost a must because there are so many jokes that are happening that it’s easy to miss some. As with every season, there are many reoccurring jokes and things that take awhile to fully develop. There is a lot of fun to be had and a lot of laughs, which is something that brings people back to this show.
Peter Riegert joins the cast as a regular guest star who plays the aptly named Artie Goodman. He brings some much-needed growth to the character of Lillian, pointing out that her anti-progress beliefs are actually more damaging to the neighborhood than helpful. Lillian doesn’t completely turn around and there is still an emphasis on gentrification having a negative consequence, but Lillian tones down a lot of her rhetoric and stops doing things like trying to prevent clean water from coming in. Jacqueline is forced away from Russ (which we will discuss later) and actually, starts to come into her own more as an activist and person who wants to help. By the end of the season, she is no longer dependent on a better person guiding her through doing what’s right and instead is happy to stand on her own. Seeing both of these women grow as characters is a great thing that helps to make them more compelling on their own. Jacqueline backtracks a little, but it is yet to be seen if this is a bad thing.
Kimmy and Tituss both have pretty interesting moments of growth as well. Tituss at one point realizes that he can’t be so selfish with Mikey, and even breaks up with him for his own good. Kimmy comes to the harsh realization that women can’t simply be anything they want because men will, in fact, treat them differently. In the wake of many things happening to women, it’s nice to see some of Kimmy’s wide-eyed optimism get more of a dose of reality. She doesn’t give up on wanting to change this, but she does start to acknowledge more openly that women will have a more unique challenge in going after their goals.
Sadly the rest of the storylines from the show (and even these ones) are filled with underdeveloped plot lines and seemingly rushed conclusions. Jacqueline is forced away from Russ after one episode of his return, and their plotline is resolved in an extremely disappointing way. Tituss’s remaining stories are a bit muddled, and you are never exactly sure what’s going on with him. Kimmy’s story swings in multiple different directions, in fairness this has happened with her before, but unlike in the past nothing really wraps up in a satisfying way. She’s going to college, she’s not, she’s getting divorced, she’s not. The end of the season for her felt very rushed, and there was a lack of development as far as her growth post bunker which is a key component to the entire series.
There are a number of guest stars as with the past. Some of them work, like Ray Liotta. Some of them felt a bit odd, such as Laura Dern. Most of them (as the two just mentioned) gave the overall feeling that something wasn’t complete.
I suppose that’s really the bottom line. This season is not bad it just didn’t feel as complete as the others. Everything felt slightly underdeveloped, and it leaves a slightly dissatisfied taste. Still, the charm, the humor, and the desire to keep seeing more is there. I am hopeful that the 4th season can pick back up and bring the show back to the top. For now even feeling like “the worst season” is not a bad thing with such a solid show.
(Though on a more personal note as a huge David Cross fan I will likely remain bitter for a very long time about his resolution)