After Life season 3 review – a wholesome end to a thoughtful series by Ricky Gervais

By Daniel Hart
Published: January 13, 2022 (Last updated: December 27, 2023)
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Netflix After Life season 3


With season 3 marking an end to After Life, we can conclude that this may not be the best work of Ricky Gervais, but it’s undoubtedly the most important.

This review of Netflix’s After Life season 3 does not contain spoilers.

I was surprised when Ricky Gervais opted for the third season of After Life. Not because the story is not worth the continuation, but because the comedian does not usually go beyond the second season. The Office, Extras, and Derek stayed within a healthy two seasons. Maybe it was by coincidence, but I’ve always sensed that Gervais prefers to write the story for what it is and not to take it too far.

However, After Life felt different in many ways. Due to the power of Netflix, the story of grief resonated globally, amassing incredible watch hours along the way. The story felt essential to humankind, and it extends the message beyond what was achieved in Derek. The normalcy of a community, the kindness of people, the routine nature of life were all encapsulated in the writing and direction.

With the final season arriving, I was reminded of how simple the story is in After Life, and I do not mean that badly. The series is not try-hard in any manner at all. Season 3 plays to its strengths, with Gervais centering himself, pulling the strings to relay the messages.

Season 3 enters a new phase of the grief cycle; anger. Tony (played by Ricky Gervais) has accepted he does not want to take his life (though, comedically, “can’t wait to die) and that life is worth living. It can be argued that season 3 is about purpose; the human need to find something to get up for in the morning. It’s a weird concept that “having a purpose” is the lead root to happiness, but the writing in After Life season 3 does its earnest to understand why. We are all trying to live at the end of the day.

Season 3 reminds me of the adage of “leave the world behind in a better place.” Do not bring the universe down with self-sabotage, resentment, and bitterness. If we flit our minds back to season 1, Tony was almost nasty at the concept of living, so much so, he resentfully took it out on people who cared about him.

And that’s what makes season 3 beautiful. While Tony is the lead character, his impact on those around him becomes important. Will Kath find a cure for her loneliness? Will Emma find the excitement she’s looking for outside of work? Will Matt find a way to “let things go”? Season 3 is a list of characters trying to formulate their next chapter.

Of course, the meaning of grief circles After Life season 3. It’s the cornerstone of the plot, after all. However, there appears to be more acceptance that “life goes on.” The video footage of Lisa feels less painful, but not in a demeaning way; it’s a reflection that Tony is coming to terms with living with the pain but still finding happiness.

But probably the most important message that comes with the final chapter is that we are all human. We all have our different quirks and problems. No problem is more important than another, and everything is relative. We just live. Somehow, Gervais has managed to encapsulate what it means to wake up and live each day and see people’s lives through different lenses.

With season 3 marking an end to After Life, we can conclude that this may not be the best work of Ricky Gervais, but it’s undoubtedly the most important.

READ: Ricky Gervais: Armageddon Review

Netflix, Streaming Service, TV Reviews
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