As a result of so many plot points intersecting, there’s a sudden dose of forward thrust to the proceedings that feels both refreshing and (somewhat paradoxically) nerve-wracking. The tension is considerably higher in this chapter, perhaps due in no small measure to the knowledge that things are headed toward a denouement. And yet, this deep into what has at times felt like a truly interminable trek, it’s taken far too long to build up a head of steam. We’re left with a story that feels fundamentally unbalanced.
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That concern may end up null and void if The Third Day manages to stick the landing next week, but one wonders if there’s a bit of the “Lost effect” happening in microcosm here. The sinister underpinnings of the plot send us off in so many different and disparate directions that the concern — as with the controversial finale of that ABC mystery — is over whether the writers will be able to arrive at a conclusion that feels earned. (Full disclosure: I’m someone who really liked the Lost finale, even as its ambitions clearly outstripped its execution, so I’m certainly ready to be pleasantly surprised here.)
It’s worth reiterating that The Third Day is far too well-crafted and meticulous to feel thrown together (props once again to director Philippa Lowthorpe, who leverages every bit of atmosphere she can muster out of her overcast and gloomy location), and there are consistently strong performances throughout from both the main and featured players. Nonetheless, the storyline itself remains frustratingly disjointed even as it finally starts coming together as we near the finale. At this point, the only rooting interest comes from a sort of car-wreck fascination in seeing how (if at all) the creatives bring things to a conclusion, and whether that conclusion will offer enough inherent satisfaction to justify the time we’ve already invested.