‘Marcella’ broke into the crime genre with the Nordic noir feel that was given to it by its Swedish writer, Hans Rosenfeldt. The show quickly became a fan favourite due to its unique approach to the whodunit form of storytelling. Apart from the central crime itself, the show was driven by the impeccable performance of Anna Friel as the lead character who is barely holding on to her sanity.
Marcella Backland reached her breaking point at the end of the second season. In its third run, the series tries to salvage whatever is left of her, but does not succeed so well. For the fans, this season is a departure from the signature-style storytelling, which is one of the prime reasons why the show became so successful in seducing the audience. It is a very different chapter in Marcella’s life, and perhaps one that also brings her story to a proper conclusion, something that we didn’t get the last time around.
Marcella Season 3 Recap
The events of Season 3 pick up eighteen months after the ending of the second season. Marcella has gone undercover in Belfast to bring down the Maguires, a family that is involved in drug trafficking, among other things. She is going by the alias of Keira, an ex-cop who was thrown out of the force for turning crooked.
By the time we meet her again, she has already placed herself as a trusted member of the family. Her handler, Frank, acts as her anchor, not just with the mission, but also her mental state, which has fallen apart so much that Marcella doesn’t have much of Marcella left in her.
Marcella Season 3 Review
Considering that ‘Marcella’ had been a murder mystery in the previous seasons, an entirely different tone for the third season comes as a surprise, though a refreshing one. Perhaps, it was time Marcella Backland got out of the gruesomeness around her, especially the cases that would quickly turn personal for her. This time around, there are no cheating partners and there are no hateful kids. Marcella is on her own, and this leads the storytellers to focus even more on her mental state.
When the season opens, we find a different Marcella. She not only looks different, but she has also accepted herself in this new role of Keira, a spy who has been sent to bring down the criminal empire of Belfast. She seems in control of her actions and her memories. But with the passage of time, the cracks start to show up, and Friel, once again, nails the performance. Even after the removal of almost all the personal elements from Marcella’s life, there is a lot that she needs to deal with in order to heal herself. Her struggle to get back to her real self is what keeps us invested in her life.
As for the central investigation, this season, we don’t get the usual murder mystery. One of the best things, for me, about ‘Marcella’ had been the multiple storylines with which the show would reel us in. We wouldn’t know exactly how these things relate to each other until the latter half of the season, but these things kept us on our toes. You would feel invested in the case because of the guessing game. The third season takes that away from us, but doesn’t give anything much in return.
With just eight episodes, the season is easily bingeable, but not quite as engaging as its predecessors. One thing that the fans will be satisfied with is the ending. Considering all the trouble that the character has gone through, the series ends somewhat full circle for her. The arc in between might not be to everyone’s liking, especially those who are in it for a good old whodunit.
The series had stumbled somewhat in its second season, especially with several threads left hanging, with no follow-ups. But this time around, the showrunners have learned their lesson and have tried to give as neat an ending as they possibly could. The landing is not quite as smooth as it probably could have been, but it is still worth catching up with Marcella.
Read More: Where was Marcella Filmed?