Love Season 3 review: Netflix’s best romantic comedy ends with an unforgettable, 5-star season
Love Season 3 review: Netflix’s finest romantic comedy, starring Paul Rust and Gillian Jacobs and co-created by the legendary Judd Apatow, ends on an unforgettable high. 5 stars. You’re missing out.tv Updated: Mar 12, 2018 09:47 IST
Love Season 3
Cast - Paul Rust, Gillian Jacobs, Claudia O’Doherty
Rating - 5/5
The sadness is still setting in, but Netflix’s Love deserves a voice more passionate than mine, a voice that can do justice to its raw insight, to its poetic heartbreak, and to its unforgettable joys. I’ve made two attempts to evoke what this show represents — both feel equally ineffective — and I can’t help but feel it deserves better. It’ll probably take dozens of shots before something worthwhile pours out — unexpectedly, inelegantly — but this is our final goodbye. This is when we let it all out, all the secret feelings and all the jealousy and all the fears.
Love is ending. By the time you read this, it would have already ended. Believe me, it has been years since a finale has left a void as large as the one left by this show. We can take solace in the certainty that it’ll live on forever, for new generations to discover. Because even when Netlifx evolves into a tiny chip, planted into the brains of our descendants on a space colony somewhere, the story captured in the three seasons of Love will still resonate. These are truths that will never disappear.
And in all these years, very few shows have arrived at the truth quite as honestly as Love. In telling the story of Mickey and Gus, it has disguised itself as a romantic comedy, an indie drama, and a devastating tragedy. But what it really is, is what it really is — a TV show about two people meeting and falling in love and discovering each other for who they really are. Sometimes, what they learn isn’t ideal; they lie, they cheat, they’re selfish, conniving and they’re meaner than they’d like to think they are. But so are you and I. Like us, they’re flawed, both of them.
Season 2 spent a lot of time trying to antagonise us against Mickey. There were moments in the show when she became almost too unbearable, having convinced no one but herself that she was damaged goods. But in hindsight, that was a necessary journey to get to where we are now.
It’s been more than half a year since Mickey and Gus first met, more than half a year since that memorable red swimsuit and that trip to the Magic Castle. Six months isn’t a long enough time to experience significant change, but quietly, each of their lives have been altered. They’re less insecure now, having already been through the worst in season 2.
But complacency is a sneaky demon, often more destructive than jealousy or betrayal. And as Mickey and Gus settle into their lives with each other, newer insecurities emerge, ones that they didn’t even know existed before. Their fights are now over what is insinuated rather than what is actually said.
And as always, Gillian Jacobs is flat-out phenomenal as Mickey. This could so easily have been one of those characters, who feels sorry for themselves and begs empathy but doesn’t deserve it. Mickey could have so easily been a regretful fling, but Jacobs keeps digging into her, determined to show everyone the humanity that she has found. Her performance in episode 10, particularly in one scene set inside a childhood bedroom, should win her an Emmy.
What we don’t realise is that Mickey, despite her visible flaws, is a more collected person than Gus, who is perhaps more skilled at hiding his weaknesses. She’s certainly more successful professionally. And even though she’s always teetering on the edge, she has managed to stay on the wagon.
It’s also easy to forget that it takes tremendous courage to switch the narrative from being in your favour to being against you. And Paul Rust, who has co-written several of season 3’s 12 episodes with his co-creator, the great Judd Apatow, pulls this switcheroo off without attracting any unnecessary attention. I don’t care if it seems strange, especially in the current cultural climate, but a bunch of men have written what has to be one of the best, most complex female characters on TV in years. Let’s not overlook this achievement. And let’s not forget that good writing is good writing is good writing; like good food, it doesn’t matter where it comes from.
But watching the third season also reminded me of what Netflix used to be, back when it was seen as the go-to destination for prestige TV, when its name wasn’t synonymous with a mediocrity. But what do I know about running billion-dollar business? Clearly, it’s working. And clearly, if it weren’t for this model, we wouldn’t have had three wonderful seasons of this show. It hasn’t for a moment lost on me — nor should it be on you — that no one else on this planet is making shows like Love, and so we’ll take the Cloverfield Paradoxes and the Adam Sandler nonsense.
Three years ago, when I first wrote about this show, I had no idea about what it would turn out to be, or whether it would even survive beyond season 1. Better shows have met quicker deaths. And while it never really exploded like it should have, nothing this great ever does. In fact, it should wear its relatively short lifespan as a badge of honour, because one thing is for sure: people are going to be talking about Love for years. There’s nothing like discovering something for yourself, unburdened by millions of opinions, with zero expectations and having your mind blown.
The best shows, like the best movies, are the ones we can return to. In our moments of vulnerability, we will yearn for the company of Mickey and Gus. We will crave weekend getaways with them, we will tiptoe behind them as they crash parties and sneak into strangers’ homes. We will watch helplessly when they yell at each other, convinced that it’s all going to be OK. We will participate, because now, we are connected. Forever.
Watch the trailer for Love Season 3 here: