'Carmen Sandiego' Season 3 Review: A perfect watch in lockdown, show celebrates masks from around the world

Carmen Sandiego searches for clues to her mother's identity, but is soon waylaid by the need to disrupt VILE's evil plans


                            'Carmen Sandiego' Season 3 Review: A perfect watch in lockdown, show celebrates masks from around the world
(Netflix)
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Spoilers for 'Carmen Sandiego' Season 3

Season 3 of 'Carmen Sandiego' — or at least, the 5 episodes of Season 3 that have been released so far — is the perfect escape for those trapped in lockdown. A beautifully-animated series about a woman and her team traveling around the world, celebrating Halloween-like traditions of different cultures, all without any fear of social distancing. Living vicariously through Carmen Sandiego (Gina Rodriguez) is always a thrill, and if you are a fan of Seasons 1 & 2 of the show, Season 3 is definitely more of the same. If you watch it for only one thing, watch it for this: It makes masks fun again.

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Hot off the heels of Season 3's revelations, Carmen and her team of rogue, anti-VILE agents are on the hunt for clues as to who Carmen's mother really is. However, that search is soon waylaid by the need to interfere with VILE's evil plans. However, between VILE's new graduating class, and Chase Devineaux (Rafael Petard) with the full support of ACME behind him, Carmen's job is more challenging than ever.

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The first thing to note is that this season is only half as long as Seasons 1 & 2, at only 5 episodes. It ends abruptly — possibly because Netflix has a Part 2 to Season 3 in the works that has yet to be announced. The pandemic may have halted the production schedule, but it's clear that there's more to Season 3 that's yet to be seen, especially as Episode 5 ends in a very abrupt place. In fact, the major revelations of Season 2 are barely touched on at all, with the search for Carmen's mother taking up a very short amount of time in Episode 1 before plans go decidedly VILE.

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All that aside, the season's fast-paced heists and informative world travels continue to be a delight. The show introduces a host of new, colorful characters, on both sides of the conflict, some of whom will hopefully return in future episodes. The new VILE graduates who are introduced are serviceable entertainment, but as of now, do not have the fleshed-out backstory of Carmen's original classmates — nor the intrigue and presence of Paper Star (Kimiko Glenn). Still, new agents mean new fighting styles, and in that sense, Spinkick (Dante Basco) and Flytrap (Sarah Nicole Robles) make their presence felt.

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One of the interesting subplots running through the series is the fact that Charles Devineaux is slowly coming around to the idea that Carmen Sandiego may not be the villain he wants her to be. The show has never relied too heavily on its established formula, and to see Charles slowly change his mind implies that things are going to be shaken up, in a major way. Speaking of shakeups, the VILE faculty have a reduced role this season, but they make every moment count as they celebrate Halloween in their own unique way, providing dark and hilarious behind-the-scenes commentary to the unfolding events.

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At 5 episodes, Season 3 of 'Carmen Sandiego' leaves you wanting more, but it's a great return to a consistently entertaining series. The show has not missed a beat, and Carmen's globetrotting ways provide a vicarious relief to those of us trapped in our homes.  

Episodes 1-5 of 'Carmen Sandiego Season 3 are now available to stream on Netflix.

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