Netflix review: GOOD WITCH (Season 3)

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For my reviews of seasons 1 and 2, click the following links:

Here’s the cast. Starring, we have Catherine Bell (BRUCE ALMIGHTY [2003]), Bailee Madison (THE STRANGERS 2 [2018], and the upcoming OFFER AND COMPROMISE [2018]), James Denton (FACE/OFF [1997], 2 episodes of REBA [2001 – 2007], and the upcoming SELFIE DAD [2018]), Sarah Power (THE GOOD WITCH’S FAMILY [2011]), and Catherine Disher (X-MEN [1992 – 1997] and video game RESIDENT EVIL 3: NEMESIS [1999]). In support, we have Kylee Evans (stuff I’ve never seen or heard of), Rhys Matthew Bond (stuff I’ve never seen or heard of), Peter MacNeill (OPEN RANGE [2003], SIMON BIRCH [1998], and upcoming films SWEET DARLING [2018] and AN AUDIENCE OF CHAIRS [2018]), Dan Jeannotte (DEATH RACE [2008]), and Kate Corbett (stuff I’ve never seen, or heard of, and upcoming films THE SILENCE [2018] and AN AUDIENCE OF CHAIRS).

Now for the crew. Craig Pryce continues to direct and write a majority of the episodes and he’s known for pretty much just the Good Witch movies as well as other projects that I’ve not see, or heard of.

This is my honest opinion of: GOOD WITCH (Season 3)

 

(SUMMARY)

In this season, Cassie (Catherine Bell) and Sam (James Denton) consider taking their friendship to the next level. An old friend of Sam’s from New York, Liam (Seann Gallagher) moves to Middleton with his own son, Noah (James Rittinger), who used to be friends with Nick (Rhys Matthew Bond), but had a falling out. Abigail (Sarah Power) is faced with more than one ghost from her past.

(REVIEW)

Whether or not I like it, I’m getting a legitimate break from GOOD WITCH after this season, as season four is still going, to my knowledge. In any case, yes, it’s still schmaltzy and corny, but it’s grown on me for the most part by now. After seven movies and thirty-four episodes later, it better be. And you know what? In a lot of ways, this might be my favorite season of the show.

For one thing, we’ve done away with the horse-dookie that is romantic triangles for Cassie. I wasn’t a fan of Ryan from season one, I was definitely not a fan of John from season two, so I’m more than happy to see that the show committed to developing Cassie and Sam as a couple.

Oh, and season two left off at a cliffhanger and we didn’t know where Sam was. Early on in episode one, THE ENCHANTRESS UNITES – PART 1, we learn it’s because he was getting off a surgery, but the patient died, which hasn’t been something he’s experienced since living in New York. I accepted this excuse. I would have preferred him to have gotten into a car accident, but this was begrudgingly acceptable. They saved the “main character in the hospital” bit for Grace (Bailee Madison). Granted, that was a rock-climbing accident, not a car accident.

But I’m not bouncing from one episode to another to talk about them. I’m just going to stick to talking about the season as a whole.

One of the key reasons why I like this season the most, as well as the reason that has kept my interest in the show this long, is Abigail. Never mind just how much I adore her snark and am madly in love with that devilish smile that sends a chill down my spine, but a lot of her backstory is revealed. In episode four: WITHOUT MAGIC FOR A SPELL, Abigail is visited by an old business partner of hers, named Kevin (Steve Lund). Apparently, she was a co-owner of a pretty big company that Kevin pushed her out of, prompting her to take her trip to Middleton. I was so worried that they’d end up being a thing by the end of the episode, but thankfully that put my worries to rest. And then in episode ten: SOMEWHAT SURPRISING, we learn more about her relationship with her absent father, who used to go on trips abroad and would bring back gifts for her. But he ended up never returning, and we see legit drama out of her. Conflicting emotions, anger, sadness, everything that’s barely in anything involving the Good Witch brand. But never mind the emotional side of things, even the comedy surrounding Abigail hits me like sledgehammer. One of my favorite moments in, well, the entire franchise at this point, is in episode two: THE ENCHANTRESS UNITES – PART 2, where she becomes a serial dater and ends up having three men that she’s constantly trying to keep apart who are all staying in Grey House. Let’s just say by the end of the episode, I couldn’t stop laughing.

Oh, and I can’t not mention episode eleven: NOT GETTING MARRIED TODAY – PART 1, where Grey House gets a special family of visitors, parents Marla (Michelle Alexander) and Eddie (Phillip Riccio), and their newly adopted ten-year-old daughter, Pavla (Keller Viaene). This episode is especially powerful to me because, as anyone can tell you, I’m a sucker for a good adoption story. While certainly I’ve seen more than a few movies about someone getting adopted into a family, or reuniting with one, or a combination of the two, very rarely does one see a movie where the focus is on the adopted kid and their complex struggles integrating into a new family dynamic. Certainly, LION (2016) approached this with Saroo’s adopted brother, but it wasn’t the central focus, nor should it have been. The subplot of this story is very much the centerpiece and it’s effective on more than a few levels. Pavla’s parents died in a car accident a year prior. Due to mixed feelings toward Eddie and Marla, she’s constantly running away and hiding from them. In the process, she finds an unlikely friend in, who else, Abigail. Somehow, Pavla is always drawn to her and Abigail shows off a very rare sense of tenderness and understanding as the two relate to one another over family that is otherwise not with them anymore. It’s downright heartbreaking, but make no mistake, this just might be my favorite episode thus far in the entire series. Oh sure, the drama could be pushed a lot further, tackling Pavla’s confusion, anger, and sadness, but even for a Hallmark Channel TV show, this was surprisingly genuine. So not only is this episode about adoption, but it’s emotional center involved my favorite character, Abigail. Home run, if you ask me.

Weirdly enough though, this season has also provided some of the most baffling and frustrating choices the series has made.

In the season finale of season two, Brandon (Dan Jeannotte) made a terrible decision to lie to Tara (Rebecca Dalton) about her mother calling her, seemingly ruining her chances of learning about why she was abandoned. At the end of episode three: A BUDDING ROMANCE, we see that not only has Tara forgiven Brandon for his transgression, which is a freakin’ load in its own right considering that he’s done nothing to earn that, but Brandon does set out to make it right by giving Tara her mother’s contact information. This entire subplot is never revisited. This was a pretty big deal for these two characters, and it’s totally thrown into the garbage, as the next time we get a good episode with Brandon and Tara, it isn’t until episode eight: SAY IT WITH CANDY, where the two basically try not to fight and get invited to the Tinsdales for dinner. The whole “mother abandoning her daughter” subplot isn’t even so much as referenced. This subplot, which was important enough for a cliffhanger in the previous season is completely ignored after three episodes here. It was likely due to pacing for more important stories, like growing romance between Grace and Noah, and certainly Cassie and Sam, but… yeah, this was a little too important to throw to the wayside, but that’s exactly what they did and it’s entirely unceremonious.

***SPOILERS***

 

 

 

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Even Grace isn’t always written to be a likable character, which is a huge turnaround for her character. Not only does she frustratingly struggle with how she feels toward Nick, but as soon as Nick comes forward to her about possibly breaking up with Courtney (Alanna Bale), as revealed in episode twelve: NOT GETTING MARRIED TODAY – PART 2 (season finale), she won’t leave Nick alone about telling Courtney about how he feels. She constantly pushing him to tell her immediately, not knowing the complex and nuanced emotions regarding a break-up. She doesn’t respect how hard it must be for Nick, and even inadvertently bursts that bubble to Courtney before giving Nick the chance to tell her in his own way, on his own time. And the season literally ends with the two fighting about it. Nick has way more of a reason to be mad at her, but Grace is still on the defensive and is mad at Nick for not telling Courtney sooner, which is none of her business. Nick and Courtney’s relationship is their business, not Grace’s. There’s other things that she does this season that annoy me, but this was the one that cut the cake for me, so there’s not much of a point in going into those.

 

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***END SPOILERS***

Overall, this was a good season with much fewer frustrations. I like how some character evolved, how some relationships grew, added dynamics, and of course, making this the best season for Abigail. It’s not without its flaws, some smaller, other major, but it’ll definitely keep me around when season four is available on Netflix.

My honest rating for GOOD WITCH (Season 3): 4/5

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