Summertime bows out (it seems!) with a predictable season that mostly relies on its picturesque visuals to do the heavy lifting.
This review of Summertime Season 3 is spoiler-free.
The problem with summer is that it doesn’t last, and Netflix’s Italian teen drama has always had that transient quality about it. The fact it has run for three seasons obviously hasn’t helped to dispel the illusion that Summer in the picturesque Cesenatico lasts forever, but this third and presumably final season feels, for the most part, like a farewell. It’s about a photogenic cast of youngsters finally realizing who they are, where they belong, and who they want to be with. And it has certainly taken what feels like a very long time to get here.
That has always been my problem with Summertime. As I said in my review of the second season, I just can’t bring myself to care about anything that’s happening. That isn’t even the show’s fault, necessarily. It’s deliberately laidback and unhurried in a way that’s obviously designed to evoke that feeling of making every day count; staving off the inevitable future because you just want to languish in the present. But the abundance of cliches and languid pacing make that feeling more pronounced than it ought to be, and in many of the wrong ways. For the most part, Summertime Season 3, like the first two seasons, feels more laborious than anything else.
This latest clutch of eight episodes finds Ale (Ludovico Tersigni) in a state of deep, self-destructive depression after Lola’s accident, while Summer (Coco Rebecca Edogamhe) gets the party started with a one-night-stand with a hot random dude on the beach. Lola herself is undergoing physical therapy after surgery, but her racing career looks to be in serious jeopardy, while Dario is doing everything he can to make things work with Rita.
There’s a bit more going on than this, but these are the key starting points for each character arc. None, it pains me to say, goes anywhere you wouldn’t expect. Once again, the visuals are doing a lot of heavy lifting when it comes to creating mood and tone. And once again the actors – talented, all – are doing their very best to wring some real drama out of material that is utterly bogged down by soapy melodrama and cliché. Conflict is rather conveniently manufactured where necessary and extended beyond the point of reason, while we’re often expected to buy into relationships based on the handsomeness of those involved rather than compelling writing.
If the hazy appeal of Summertime was enough to sustain an audience through two seasons, then the usual suspects will doubtlessly be back for the third. But after 24 episodes of this lukewarm and relatively mindless drama, it’s easy to be thankful that it’s probably over. Come for the sun, sea, sand, and Andrea Lattanzi’s performance as Dario. But don’t stick around any longer than is necessary.