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The Third Day: Series Finale ‘Last Day – The Dark’ Review

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With this week’s “The Last Day – The Dark,” HBO’s miniseries The Third Day arrives finally at a conclusion that – in however roundabout a fashion – offers some degree of closure. But what becomes amply clear when viewing the series in total is that the writers had about three hours worth of story they felt compelled to stretch out like an elastic thread to fit into six. As a result, the time I’d invested in the buildup ended up working in direct opposition to whatever degree of emotional fulfillment I extracted from the closer.As the hour begins, Helen (Naomie Harris) is at long last reunited with her wayward husband Sam (Jude Law), finally intersecting the two tracks of story that comprise The Third Day: Sam’s search for his son, and Helen’s search for her spouse. We already know there’s more than pure happenstance that brought Sam to the misbegotten island of Osea, up to and including a sanctified bloodline and demonic sacrifices, but as becomes clear now, there are still plenty of blood-drenched shenanigans yet to unfold.Add to that the question of what actually happened to Sam and Helen’s son. Add to that the ongoing mystery of what role their daughters play in all this. Add to that the question of why Sam absconded with a large sum of money at the start of the series. It’s a whole lot of dangling bits of yarn that requires knitting together, and last week’s entry sure seemed to point the way towards some kind of meaningful resolution.

Unfortunately, by the time things finally start winding down to the conclusion in this final installment, The Third Day has already been hobbled by the prevailing need over the course of the series to keep the audience on the hook and only parcel out exposition in dribs and drabs. As a result, there are simply too many things in play for all of them to be resolved, and while there is some measure of satisfaction to be found in where things end up, there’s just as much frustration in the things that remain open-ended, including the fates of several main characters and the future of Osea itself.

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Whether they’re playing coy in hopes of further stories down the line, or they simply want the uncertainty itself to be the point, it’s an unrewarding payoff to the ordeal. Even with that said, this final chapter does offer yet another opportunity to watch a cast of great actors play off each other. The backstory behind Sam and Helen is exactly as complicated as we’d expect given the circumstances leading into their respective island excursions across the causeway to Osea, and Law & Harris both add immediacy and angst to their reunion as they try to chart a path forward from a place no parent ever wants to even think about, much less actually experience.

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Also on the performances side, there’s a moment with Mr. and Mrs. Martin (Paddy Considine and Emily Watson) that genuinely surprises with the emotion it elicits. Despite their unsettling intro in the first hour of the series, the Martins became one of the bits of consistency throughout, and darned if we haven’t started to feel a bit of attachment to the crazy old couple over that span!

Given that last week’s episode already revealed new mom Jess (Katherine Waterston) as having a larger, more sinister part to play than her introduction in the series implied, things come to a boil on the island with various factions violently at odds, and Sam, Helen, and the girls caught in the middle. By the time the credits roll, there is a path forward out of their pain for our main characters, but the larger question of what happens next with Osea and its complicated familial hierarchy seems to left very deliberately unresolved, as if leaving room for some future, further exploration. It’s not the neat and self-contained story that the “miniseries” format suggested we’d get, making it feel like a bit of a bait-and-switch.Maybe it’s just the palpable exhaustion talking after having been on this journey for the last six weeks, but the mere threat of more Osea on the horizon makes one feel like this is one causeway that should probably be left sealed off.

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