TV

‘The Rain’ Concludes By Pouring A Deluge Of Hope Upon Netflix’s Sleeper Apocalyptic Series

Back in 2018, I wrote about how Netflix’s first season of The Rain washed away what was tired and weary about post-apocalyptic fiction. The streaming service’s strong genre sense had brought a fresh new take for binge-watching adults (including the younger crowd), especially anyone looking for something different than zombie fare (although the streaming service’s Black Summer plays to those fans) and completely bleak movies like The Road. The show also offered something quite unlike the multiple Stephen King options about the end of the world that Hollywood really enjoys revisiting. The Rain‘s second season further propelled the show’s action to a turning point, so I was curious to see how the series would wrap up this year. However, a lot has changed in the world since this show’s debut, and there’s no way to avoid thinking about that reality.

This presents more than a fleeting dilemma for this Danish production’s audience, who realizes that even the occasionally wonky English-dubbed dialogue (a change that arrived after Netflix saw increased viewing numbers with Dark) hasn’t taken away from the experience. Can The Rain be as engrossing during our current global situation as it felt a few years ago, when it played out like an unrealistic scenario?

Let’s just say that, although the show is a gorgeously-rendered production that’s both polished and gritty and can be viewed as an environmental parable, I definitely felt some apprehension about revisiting a series that’s framed around a deadly virus. That’s the case even though the virus literally fell from the rain, which remains a far-fetched prospect, but you know, still. Virus. What was entertaining in 2018 and 2019 had the potential to feel far too timely in 2020, so that twinge in my gut was a natural reaction, but fortunately with this third season, the disease isn’t the main focus. It’s definitely not a non-issue, but the show focuses more upon how this ragtag group of survivors moves past their individual struggles, which acted as the first few seasons’ true plague.

Netflix

The core trio of the series remains the same (this ^^ is a Season 2 still, since Netflix hasn’t issued a Season 3 image with them all in one frame) this year, and the action picks up years later when that Scandanavian rain is long gone. Rasmus (Lucas Lynggaard Tønnesen, still fantastic) is feeling full of vigor and pep despite being the main virus host, yet Simone (Alba August) still wants to cure him of the disease. Cue a massive struggle of wills, and the show’s audience won’t be able to look away from how far these two have come since being trapped in that bunker for years. They’ve seen some massive sh*t and lost so many people near and dear to them. Their bad dad is still doing potentially dumb things for the shadowy organization known as Apollon. And Martin (Mikkel Boe Følsgaard) is still transforming from hardened survivalist to being able to increasingly open himself up to others.

It’s strange, too, how this finale season could have felt ill-timed, yet the timing probably couldn’t be more right. How this season plays out, as a contrast to our current reality, is sheer coincidence, of course, but it all somehow works as escapism from our situation. A lot of that’s down to deft writing, but the show’s also reached a point where it’s no longer putting the virus’ physical effects on display (at least, not in the graphic way it did before now). Instead, there’s more of a beta-virus brewing — one that can bestow certain people with superpowers. Since we’ve already seen these characters propel themselves through nutso situations, it doesn’t seem like a huge stretch that the show edges more deeply into the special-effects realm.

In fact, this season brings a number of fantastical happenings, which I shall not spoil, but weirdly enough, the result is that the show feels almost spin-off-y while still periodically reminding viewers where it began. Funny how that works, even though it shouldn’t feel funny at all. Yet the final episode cascades over the viewer like an immense wave of relief, satisfaction, and hope. Like I said, it’s surreal to watch this show come out of a tunnel that reality recently entered, but what I’m really trying to say is this: if you enjoyed his show already, don’t shy away from leaping into the final season out of fear of not seeing a comforting resolution — because it’s there.

If you’ve never watched The Rain and are feeling moderately interested at this point, you might be a little triggered by the first season, but here’s a positive note: the series is a fairly speedy bingewatch. Only fourteen episodes transpired before this final season, in which everything gets nicely wrapped up. Yet more importantly we get one final tour with these wonderful characters. That’s one major way this show has fostered a devoted audience: these people are all (mostly) worth caring about. They’ve been forced to grow up too fast when they could have been goofing off with iPhones and attending college and parties, f*cking up and getting to know themselves. Instead, they must reckon with how their world was turned upside down.

It’s a familiar theme to us right now, but the most stressful of this show’s hurdles were conquered before the final season. Now, Simone, Rasmus, and Patrick are seeking relief from their extended trauma, which feels therapeutic not only for them but, potentially, for those of us at home as well.

Netflix’s ‘The Rain’ streams its finale season on August 6.

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