‘Dear White People’ flounders in third season

Netflix’s “Dear White People” had a great start when the series was first released a few years back. It was engaging and fiery and urged the audience to think about the issues the characters were discussing at their Ivy League university. It was great, but the newest season feels empty when compared to the dynamic moments of the first two seasons.

Character development happens, and sometimes it isn’t always for the best; after the events of the second season, it makes sense that some of the characters would lose some of their spark. However, this season it felt as if the cast couldn’t quite get into a groove because there wasn’t much of a central focus in the plot. After uncovering a secret society in season two, Sam and Lionel seem to have forgotten all about it and it doesn’t come up again until late in the new season. Instead of exploring a secret society, Sam spends the brunt of the season trying to find the narrative for her documentary thesis while Lionel abandons his journalistic ambitions to write a steamy serial series of short stories about his exploits in the college’s LGBT community. Joelle and Reggie’s relationship is disrupted by his obsession with a new professor who turns out to be unworthy of his students’ worship. The more compelling aspects of the season don’t crop up until the last few episodes, leaving viewers frustrated the plot meandered for most of the season. On the bright side, it continues to poke fun at pop culture, with a parody of “The Handmaid’s Tale” and Tyler Perry’s filmography.

Despite the plot’s lack of momentum the cast continues to provide engaging performances. Notably, Marque Richardson (Reggie) shines this season as the audience watches his apostle-like performance.

“Dear White People” has three seasons available on Netflix. Audiences might also enjoy watching “Shrill” on Hulu. The series follows a plus-sized woman as she learns it’s ok to take up space in the world.