Episode 1 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 2 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 3 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 4 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 5 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 6 – | Review Score – 4/5
After Life is a wonderful show, accurately depicting the lingering ghost of grief and how hard it is to move beyond that. The first season in particular was an absolute masterstroke, balancing poignant, heartfelt drama with genuine laugh out loud jokes and dark comedy.
While the second season carried that on, teasing a will they/won’t they romance with nurse Emma, this third season feels much more self-reflective. This makes sense, given it’s the last season of the show, and everything builds up beautifully to an emotional gut punch of a final chapter. No spoilers here but good luck finishing that one without tears in your eyes!
The story this time centers on Tony, who continues to drift through life, struggling to find a purpose post-Lisa. His romance with Emma is still a talking point, at least for the first half of the season, while Tony’s estranged relationship with Matthew is quelled somewhat as the pair start to connect. And connecting is the name of the game here.
As the season progresses, so too does Tony’s feeling toward those around him. Instead of snarky comments and backhanded compliments, Tony is much more open this time around, genuinely softening as he realizes helping others and making them feel good is the way to go. Of course, that doesn’t stop him from cursing and lashing out at those who deserve it!
There are a few other subplots worked into this too, including James’s weird romance with Brian. This is tested when the former moves in with his pal, much to the nonchalance of his parents. Elsewhere, Kath continues to drift through the season, desperate to find a man of her own. This ultimately sees her off on several first dates, each worse than the one before! Finally, postman Pat’s woes involving Roxie are a recurring gag at the start of every episode too.
The second half of this season is ultimately where everything starts to shine and really stand out. There’s some wonderfully self-reflective monologues from Tony in the wake of all this, with one in the graveyard with Anne a particular highlight.
Another memorable segment involves James lashing out at his agent, Ken. It’s a wickedly deceptive scene; it’s played for laughs but has a really poignant edge to it, highlighting James’s frustrations and his own perceived feeling of being a big fish in a little pond (symbolized twice by him sitting in the bath I may add!)
Speaking of symbolism, there are several here too, including one about life itself which is explored in the final chapter. I’m prevented from actually talking about it here but suffice to say we’ll discuss that in a lot more detail in our finale recap when this season drops!
Not everything here works quite so smoothly though, and a few of the subplots do fall flat. That aforementioned story involving Pat doesn’t have much to work with, while Lenny’s role as Tony’s right-hand man at work and the butt of some jokes doesn’t progress much further than that. There is a heartwarming moment between the pair in the finale, which does help, but before that there’s not a lot to work with.
Much like the first two seasons though, After Life is an easy watch but a difficult one to sit through without getting emotional. It’s a series that completely understands the complexity of grief, how hard it is to move past the loss of a loved one and how difficult it is to keep on living on this beautiful blue planet of ours. After Life is a gem that’ll be sorely missed but what a beautiful way to round out this season.
After Life releases on Netflix worldwide on the 14th January 2022!
Verdict - 8/10