'Anne With an E' Season 3 Review

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I have been waiting patiently (a little over a year) for the third season of Anne With an E to be available in the U.S., ever since it was rumored to be the final season. It was finally made available on Jan. 3, and I have already finished the full season. Yes, I enjoy the series that much. I mean, who wouldn't? Anne is such an enthusiastic character, and, while the situations she finds herself in are outlandish - yet on brand - I see myself in her. I would love to be just like her, with her impressive manipulation of vocabulary and wildly vivid imagination. Her character, though frustrating at times, is absolutely amazing and inspirational, especially given the themes of racism, identity, romance and gender roles in the third season.

While I think this was a great season, it shouldn't have been its last. There are too many things that happened that still need to be addressed or explored further. The series finale was so abrupt that it felt awkward. For a case in point, Anne and Gilbert's relationship. For the majority of three seasons, we've watched the two of them dance around their feelings for each other while maturing on their own. It was inevitable that they would end up together, but I had hoped that we would see more of their relationship after they finally confessed to each other. The show dragged out a game of letter-tag, as Anne and Gilbert continuously failed to deliver love letters to each other, and then everything falls perfectly into place.

My big issue with this is that, again, it was abrupt. They got together, kissed and then went to separate colleges with the promise of writing letters to each other. It's still awfully romantic, but that is the last that we get to see of them. The mind races with the many ways their love could play out, and though we still have the books to fill in the blanks, ending the show with Anne and Gilbert finally getting together and immediately going to college doesn't give me closure. 

While we're still on the topic of romance, I have so many questions about the relationship status of everyone else after the finale, but let's just focus on one. There was a hint at a possible relationship between the children's teacher, Miss Stacy, and Gilbert's partner, Sebastian "Bash" Lacroix. Both characters' spouses passed away, with Bash's wife more recently, leaving him with an infant daughter, who is honestly so precious! There was a push from Marilla and Mrs. Lynde (mainly Mrs. Lynde, who enjoys making demands and decisions for others) for Bash to remarry so his daughter would have a mother to take care of her, instead of two old ladies. Mrs. Lynde was also pressuring Miss Stacy to enter the courting world, after Miss Stacy mentioned how she "missed companionship." The backstory of Miss Stacy's late husband was slightly unclear and glossed over, but it does give us more insight into who Miss Stacy is as a character and what she represents.

Those who have seen the second season of Anne With an E know of the progressive nature of Miss Stacy and how that has caused her trouble. She's not a bad person by any means; her progressive mindset and appearance rattle the town, as many people see her as a possible threat to the complacency of everything. If Miss Stacy were a Mr. Stacy, I'm sure the issues of the third season would not have existed, which is a point that was made throughout the season. I was surprised at how well this season depicted gender-related issues, such as consent and misogyny. Mrs. Lynde chastises Miss Stacy for being so progressive, saying that, unless she changes herself, no one would want to court her. Of course, we all know how ridiculous that statement is. However, that idea continued to play a role in the season. In episode five of season three, one of the male characters tells Anne that being overly emotional causes women to be barren and that he's worried about that for her since, you know, she's expressive (again, not a bad thing). 

However, Anne's passion does cause her to get in trouble, after she writes an article about feminism and consent in response to a character being the victim of shaming after a boy that was courting her spreads an inappropriate rumor at a dance. Anne meant no harm toward the girl, but, since everyone knew about the rumor, it was assumed that the article was targeting the boy, instead of making a general statement about the current society. The episode following further depicts the gender struggle, as the girl's parents dismiss the emotional damage she experiences, following the encounter, claiming that it must not have been too bad, since she seems physically okay. So much for being caring parents, right? Since Anne wrote the article for the town paper, the town council (consisting of four men and Mrs. Lynde) vote to have Anne completely removed from the paper and to give the editorial team a list of approved topics (read: censorship and misogyny). This leads to more issues, causing the children to retaliate with a protest that focuses on the concept of freedom of speech. The scene was very powerful, and if you won't watch the series all the way through, I recommend just watching that scene.

Consent and gender issues are bold to tackle (though extremely necessary), so I was already reeling from the amazing way it was addressed when the season took another turn to focus on the treatment of indigenous peoples. Coincidentally, I took a Tribal Studies course last semester that focused on the history of a particular tribe from the pre-reservation era to the modern day in the United States. There was a heavy emphasis on the pre-reservation and reservation eras, since we were approaching it from the perspective of the tribe, instead of through the eyes of non-indigenous peoples. Though each tribe has its own unique experiences, several aspects are similar, including how the government manipulated tribes into sending Native American children to boarding schools where they were essentially stripped of their cultural identity to be "Americanized".

I appreciated the representation in the season, but it felt out of place, since we hadn't heard about the Mi'kmaq until now. Everyone seemed to have known about them, yet we don't know how long the Mi'kmaq have been living near Avonlea. Their appearance in this season was unexpected, but not too abrupt for me to complain, since Anne meets Ka'Kwet and is inspired to learn more about her biological family. With the season finale, I was upset that we would never see if Ka'Kwet was able to escape from the boarding school once more. Her father has been shot, and he and Ka'Kwet's mother were last seen setting up their camp in the woods by the school, just so they could be close to their imprisoned daughter. I just want to know how that pans out. Does Ka'Kwet manage to escape with her family safely? Do her parents wait in vain, while she is stripped of her identity and forced to be someone she's not? How many more Native Americans are forcibly brought to school? I have so many questions about an issue that needs more than one season to address. 

As a final season, I am somewhat satisfied with how things wrapped up in the third season of Anne With an E. Do I wish there were more seasons? Yes. I suppose, since I want more, I could just read the books, but I enjoyed this series. Amybeth McNulty captured the spirit of Anne perfectly, so I'm really sad to see it come to an end. In my despair, however, I found an article by Meghan O'Keefe that gives me hope for a fourth season. O'Keefe goes into detail about why the series was canceled and even includes a link for you to request the show to be renewed. If you're a fan, please request a new season. I already have.