‘Easy’ Season 3 delivers the perfect open ending: Review

The following is a spoiler-free review of Netflix’s Easy Season 3.

Sometimes the best ending is no ending at all. 

Fans of Joe Swanberg’s brilliant Easy are in for a bittersweet binge this weekend, as the series’ third and final season begins streaming on Netflix. 

Throughout the show’s first two installments, viewers watched as the lives of dozens of characters shifted in and out focus of the anthology format. We saw families form, relationships change, altercations unfold, and businesses begin. There were episodes that reminded you of yourself, moments that reminded you of someone else, and narratives you’d never previously considered.

Since its premiere in 2016, Easy has progressed much like life, with uneven doses of levity and tragedy. It’s a show packed full of comedy, but with the realistic world-building of any award-worthy drama. Season 3 is no different. 

The best part? ‘Easy’ doesn’t end. 

With just nine brief episodes, Easy Season 3 continues its tradition of low-stakes, high-emotion storytelling. We follow up with the so-called “Brewery Brothers” (Dave Franco and Evan Jonigkeit), see what is and isn’t working in Andi (Elizabeth Reaser) and Kyle’s (Michael Chernus) open marriage, and watch as Annie (Kate Micucci) continues to exhaust all of her happiness options, inside and outside of the treacherous Chicago dating pool. 

We even get yet another gobsmacking chapter in the never-ending saga that is Jacob Malco’s (Marc Maron) life, as Easy takes on the topic of sexual abuse allegations with marked dexterity.

The stories are as well-written and as moving as ever, but the best part? They don’t really end. 

Now, that’s not to say the final credits come with a surprise Easy Season 4 announcement. As far as we know, the show is very much over — but the way Swanberg has written his characters’ last moments on-screen allows them to live on. 

Whereas other shows might rush to wrap up storylines and deliver satisfying conclusions, Easy digs even further into its realness by introducing new obstacles and possibilities for nearly every character. As always, this show dedicates time and effort to presenting its audience with real people. That is, after all, what so many of us real “real people” are watching it for.

In Episode 5, Andi and Kyle — whose story long-time viewers will remember opened the series’ pilot — engage in a complex conversation about jealousy and commitment that lasts a whopping 19 minutes. It is spectacularly scripted, intensely felt, and totally engrossing. 

Andi (Elizabeth Reaser) in Episode 5 of 'Easy.'

Andi (Elizabeth Reaser) in Episode 5 of ‘Easy.’

Following thread after thread with the kind of dedication and care someone actually trying to save their marriage would employ, Swanberg builds two complete lives through this dialogue alone. Had you never seen these characters before and been aware you would never see them again, you would still regard them as real people and likely be just as moved by their charged exchange.

This realness is what makes Easy feel truly timeless. While few characters receive traditional “endings,” Swanberg cherishes the fictional people his show has created. He respects not only where they have been, but where they are going, with or without an audience. When someone’s story isn’t ready to end, it doesn’t end. It’s as simple as that.

Now in its complete form, Easy is one of the most skillful displays of character creation ever rendered, certainly on Netflix and quite possibly on television at large. While fans are sure to finish the series’ last episodes with heavy hearts knowing that this weird and wonderful world is coming to a close, Swanberg has once again delivered — for both his audience and his characters.

Easy: Season 3 is now streaming on Netflix.

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