Every storytelling mark You gracefully hits in its season three premiere is so clear and unfussy. This is a show made by an experienced and diverse group of people who have experience in other shows about serial killers (Think if Dexter had a Mindhunter Bookclub with Prodigal Son and you’re halfway there). So there is a genuine shock not at the moment the first kill happens in Season 3, but at the moment the audience realizes its needed that’s a good sign.
After making great use of New York and Los Angeles settings, the show sets its sights slightly north to Silicon Valley San Francisco. Not an entirely different setting, but one justifiable enough given the story limits. What’s most impressive about the show however is how ready it is to target those limits, breezing through plot machinations in record time. Things that took half of season one are accomplished in the premiere and yet for a series initially as episodic as this it is interesting to see a show so brazen and willing to learn from the mistakes of a show like Dexter which coasted in its third season, to have it run basically like that show’s Season 4 off the bat.
If there’s one criticism about the show it is that it takes a hair too long to answer its dreaded “So what?” question. The performances are so good but it has yet to weaponize the audience’s familiarity with it. And there’s a lot to watch now. My father and I decided to watch episode 1 at midnight last night and he left 10 minutes before the end. The show has a great answer to the “So what” question, but given the show’s competition with Dexter coming back and many other Serial Killer shows on the run, can anybody hear the screams of Joe Goldberg scream in the suburbs? Netflix has as they have already renewed it for a fourth season. But what if it is not just him screaming? What if there’s a scream team? If Joe kills somebody we’ve seen it before. But what if Joe isn’t the only one doing the killing? Unlike Dexter, the show doesn’t drag itself down with the flaws of its main character. It doesn’t make excuses. It successfully points out from a distance how this protagonist is not someone to root for. Yet we, like Joe Goldberg are compelled.
These are confident performers and crew members who are well placed, with a good female writing and directing (with some men in there) that’s so natural it is easy to take it for granted. Whatever you do be sure to watch it.