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Review: The Sinner Season 3 Premiere

February 5, 2020
4 min read
The Sinner Season 3

The third season of ‘The Sinner’ kicks off with some really high expectations, which could be bothersome for a suspense thriller. A good mystery requires some room to breathe and gradually claw curiosity around the viewers. However, these days, viewers have become notorious for not being patient enough and holding sky-high expectations.

‘The Sinner’ is an anthology series that builds its mystery around the motif behind a crime, rather than the person that committed it. The viewers are made aware of who committed the crime with a degree of assurance that borders on certainty, but the reason behind the criminal activity is what the show builds its suspense around. This is the reason that the show has been termed as a “whydunnit.”

Each season of the show focuses on a different, self-sustained story and is known for casting prominent actors in the lead role. For the first installment, Jessica Biel essayed the role of a certain Cora Tannetti who stabbed a man to death but cannot recall why. For the second season of the show, Carrie Coon plays Vera Walker who becomes a key figure in the investigation of a case wherein an 11-year-old boy murders his parents.

Despite the various cases, one character who has remained constant is police detective, Harry Ambrose. He is also the central character in the third season of the show and from the looks of it, is here to stay.

The third season of ‘The Sinner’ revolves around a car crash and detective Harry Ambrose investigating it. The star of the third season: Matt Bomer plays the role of Jamie who is directly involved in the car crash. Owing to the whydunnit nature of ‘The Sinner,’ we do not yet know why or even how exactly he was involved. That is teased to be the larger mystery of the entire series.

The Sinner Season 3 Review

The premiere episode of the newest season of ‘The Sinner’ does feel like a slight let-down but not enough to completely discount the season altogether. To be fair, the first episode only depicts the set-up, but it could have been portrayed with more intrigue for sure.

To begin with, the first few minutes of the episode are devoted to depicting Matt Bomer’s character. While the fact that Jamie needs to be depicted as someone seemingly ordinary is crucial, it feels almost too normalized. So much so that the imminent sense of something f**ked up lying under the surface is not felt at all. In fact, during the initial minutes, it feels like the character is incapable of having a sketchy past or doing something morally questionable. The rest of the season will need to do something extraordinary to reverse this effect and build more intrigue around the character.

Moving on, Matt Bomer may be an experienced actor, but his performance feels extremely uneven. There are a few scenes when his subtlety is not impactful enough and some of those moments honestly warrant higher expressiveness. Inversely, there are moments when his reactions feel quite unnatural and those scenes might have worked better had Bomer’s acting been toned down.

But credit ought to be given to Bomer because of his experience and the fact that the inconsistencies of his acting are made more evident due to being juxtaposed with Bill Pullman being flawless. As detective Harry Ambrose, Pullman nails the character’s enervation. Ambrose’s loneliness and lack of drive are effortlessly felt through the screen.

Other than that, when it comes to the plot, the first episode feels quite underwhelming. The mysterious premise does not feel as mind-blowing as it should. While the plot still needs to thicken, the stakes don’t seem to be high enough and the under-the-wraps past does not feel too promising either.

That being said, the episode could still have been written and directed better. It practically shrieks for a more compelling background score to be added. Ambrose’s side of the story does seem to have been developed better than Jamie’s. Apart from all its flaws though, what the first episode does well is put its set pieces in place, ready for motion. This is the reason that the season still has the potential to be a worthy addition to ‘The Sinner’ despite the first episode being underwhelming.

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