Review: Dear White People Vol 3 (Mild Spoilers)

dear white people season 3

 

Perhaps more than any other volume, Dear White People Vol 3 is a deep character study that dives into the lives of our favorite (and not-so favorite) Winchester students. Instead of having the characters remain stagnant and sweep previous events and issues under the rug, like others may have done in the third seasons of their Netflix shows, Dear White People is allowing its characters to progress both academically and as people.

dear white people cast

Characters all worthy of their own shows.

The series has always had a reputation of focusing on socially relevant issues but, until the last three episodes, this volume plays more to the underrated strength of its characters. Very quickly, we’re reminded that the characters are college students nearing the end of their third year, and thus getting even more serious about their classes and their futures. We see that demonstrated through characters like Coco (Antoinette Robertson), for example trying to get a recommendation for an academic opportunity in Paris or through Sam’s (Logan Browning) Junior Thesis. And when the characters’ focus isn’t on academia, it’s on their own personal growth. We see this with Lionel (DeRon Horton) still trying to figure out life as an openly gay man, or Troy (Brandon P. Bell) finally taking a stand and asserting his own independence. It’s a balance that the show has always achieved, but it’s done especially well this season.

Lesser shows may sweep past events between characters under the rug, but this show constantly reminds us of them and reflects on how certain things don’t just vanish in real life. It’s easy to forget that all three volumes are taking place over the course of one year, since it’s actually taken us three years to get here. Reminders of Coco’s abortion and Reggie’s (Marque Richardson) gun related trauma are still present in the mind of both characters, as they should be. Again, it’s easy to forget about “smaller” events between characters, but we’re reminded of Sam and Reggie’s one night affair from back in season one and how both characters are still awkward around each other, not to mention Coco and Troy’s past relationship also creating an awkwardness (coincidentally both relationships seem to be mending by season’s end).

Last volume ended on a cliffhanger about The Order and meeting the narrator leading us to believe that we’d get answers about the mysterious group. Not so much. We only learn that The Order has a long history with a vast amount of influence and large number of members. The narrator becomes a real character (and thus stops doing voice overs) as he tries to fix the Order via Sam and Lionel. Neither take it seriously until one of the members, in the form of a returning professor, abuses his power by being too sexually aggressive towards Muffy (Caitlin Carver), a white student at Winchester. This is the show’s take on the Me Too Movement – something it combines with racial issues expertly. By the volume’s end, Troy learns about the order and seemingly joins Sam and Lionel in their quest of sorts. One would hope this leads to a volume four, but this is the third season of a Netflix show and Netflix tends to cancel shows (especially ones with a diverse cast) at that stage. Let’s hope things turn out differently for Dear White People.

All three seasons of Dear White People are currently available to stream on Netflix.