Love Season 3 review: What is Love?
A relationship that ran out of time and care
What is Love? That's a straightforward and important question (even still, I can't resist the childish urge to answer: “Baby, don't hurt me, don't hurt me no more”). Awful 90s' dad-jokes aside, Love is in fact a Judd Apatow-themed Netflix rom-com centred on the unlikeliest of unions. On one side of the relationship, you have wild-child Mickey (Gillian Jacobs from Community), and on the other, you have bookish nice-guy Gus (Paul Rust from I Love You, Beth Cooper and Inglorious Basterds). Weirdly, what started as a passionless, chance encounter in a trendy apartment complex has bloomed into the sweetest, funniest relationship and season yet.
Gus and Mickey have navigated a series of emotional minefields in the past and we enter this season in a place we've never seen them before – in an adult-ish, mutually exclusive relationship. However, navigating this new state together isn't all smooth sailing as the basic aesthetic of this show is that life's less about destiny and simplicity and more about a hilarious series of errors and miscommunications. Basically, finding that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life can be tricky.
Does it all wrap up like a modern fairytale? I'm not going to tell you. Thanks to Love's almost-cynical vibe, you'll be kept guessing right until the end. No matter what happens, you've gotta admit, the odds have always been against this unconventional couple and trying to make a go of things in L.A. – aka shallow central – was never going to be easy. Plus, we're talking about two people who are on the wrong side of 30. By that age, your time is precious and your tolerance for idiocy is way lower than it was in your 20s. Friends you associate with are weighed against your precious (Netflix and chill) free time. When it comes to significant others who'll be in your face every day, those scales are even more lopsided.
Unfortunately, and much like the honeymoon-is-over phase of Gus and Mickey's relationship, Season 3 of Love continues the energy lull felt in the final moments of Season 2. Love is in a rut and no longer feels as fresh and groundbreaking as it did in the inaugural episodes. Sure, it's still a sharply written tale, filled with sardonic one-liners and spot-on observational humour. But it feels odd to see Gus and Mickey become a textbook power couple: the thing that they took such joy in taking the piss out of in the beginning. Basically, a switch has been flicked and these two are super happy with one another. It's a little jarring, to be honest.
That's not to say this isn't quality television or that Love has run out of ideas and relatable moments to skewer. Far from it. Despite going lovey-dovey and largely shifting the drama away from Gus vs Mickey to “Guskey” vs The Rest of the World, there's still some decent comedy gold out there to dig up. Expect plenty of hilarious real talk on deciding which friends are keepers and who should've been ghosted long ago. Not to mention a series of amusing couple outings, like going on a road trip or attending a wedding and getting a frightening preview of what may come next for the couple.
In the end, Love Season 3 sags a little in the middle, but will keep bingers well sustained for the long haul. With the end in sight, you'll want to know if Mickey can stay off the turps and hold down her producer role. Likewise, I found myself crossing my fingers for the perpetually polite Gus to grow a backbone and realise his dreams of becoming a successful writer. Secondary character-wise, there's also an interesting resolution to the Bertie/Randy relationship, and Chris becomes a lot more interesting when he decides to shift career paths into full-on daredevilry.
Sadly, these side-characters and their stories aren't allowed to grow into meaningful tales. Love comes to a screeching halt after three short seasons, and by the time the 12th episode falls, you'll be hungry for more. Though nobody can fault the snappy script and stellar performances given by Rust and Jacobs, this final outing feels rushed and needlessly compressed with a quick tie-off of events. If you've been head over heels with this series, as I have been, Season 3 of Love's gonna hurt. This is no doubt fitting, but also annoying.