The third season of Netflix’s consistent, reliable comedy-drama manages to course-correct some of the previous season’s ever-present hostility towards Jennifer Jason Leigh’s Elsa, which became rather punishing by the time the credits rolled in the last episode. Here, things continue to be hectic and unstable for the Gardners but this time around their approach is more insightful and thoughtful, which makes it easier to go along with the characters even when they’re making choices the viewer disagrees with. The ensemble cast remains as strong as ever, and it’s nice to see more of Leigh and Michael Rapaport’s characters working together as a team as they navigate a new stage of their married lives together without the tension and hostility that’s defined the majority of their interactions on the show thus far. We also see more of Nik Dodanik’s Zahid, whose role grows significantly here and cements itself as the show’s backbone through a variety of developments that strain his friendship with Keir Gilchrist’s Sam. This season isn’t quite as “bingeable” as its predecessors but it’s still the type of understated work that deserves a wider audience.
Rating: ★★★★ (out of 5)