Tuesday, 26 April 2016

The Tribe, Season 3 (1999)

Season 2 of The Tribe ended with the villainous Chosen taking control of the city.  Most of the Mallrats are captured in the process, though a few escape.  The Chosen occupy the mall and make it their base of operations for controlling the city.  They also keep their captives there, and attempt to coerce the Mallrats into joining them.

You might well think this would set up the arc for the season, with the Chosen trying to exert their authority, the captives resisting them as best they can, and those who escaped undertaking a guerilla campaign to throw the invaders out.  And you'd be right ... at least for the first two-thirds of it.  However, whereas most shows wrap up neatly when the bad guys are beaten (I don't think it is really a spoiler to tell you the Chosen lose, is it?), this season of The Tribe also covers the confusion and unrest that follows the abrupt removal of a regime.  That's actually something I quite like in conception, though as always with The Tribe, the actual execution is rather hit-and-miss.

The 'misses' are common failures of the show: uneven performances, clumsy dialogue that's more or less narration put into the mouths of characters, and a tendency to shove idiot balls into the hands of said characters.  On the other hand, I quite like that the person who comes out on top seems to be improvising their plans as they go.  While they do employ some risky gambits that pay off implausibly well for them, the show does a decent job of justifying their risk-taking and of avoiding the whole "omniscient mastermind" thing that turns up too often in fiction.

This season of the show also features a lot of cast churn.  Many new faces are introduced (and some old ones return), while a number of characters get written out either temporarily or permanently.  Most of the latter such events happen off-screen, leaving the writers options open, but we also see our first on-screen death of a main cast member.

At the end of the day this is season three of the show, so unless you're already a fan there is probably not much that is likely to make you check it out at this point.

But if anything is going to do it, it'll be the presence of a tribe that dress up as human mosquitoes.

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