Anne with an E: Season Three (2019) 

Reviewer: Charity Bishop

The third season of the CBC/Netflix series based on the beloved Anne books tackles the confusion of young love, social prejudices, and the county fair.

Anne Shirley (Amybeth McNulty) is about to turn sixteen, that glorious age where all things become possible. She has a wonderful life at present, writing for the school newspaper, which leads her to a native village, where she meets a sweet family. But not all in Avonlea welcome the presence of the "savages" who live in the woods, much to her annoyance. Yet, soon her thoughts turn to other directions, such as her ongoing mild attraction to Gibert Blythe (Lucas Jade Zumann).

When Anne desires to learn more about her birth parents, she decides to visit the orphanage where she grew up and find out more about them. Gilbert is her semi-enthusiastic companion, since he travels into the city each weekend to study medicine at a local practice. There, he has set his eyes on a beautiful girl. She and her parents could offer him the education and advancement he wants, but ... it would need to be permanent. And though he doesn't care for it much either, there's a certain redhead who tends to get under his skin.

This season, Anne sets in motion a series of unforeseen and devastating events, in her ambitious desire to change the world with her ideas. Rachel Lynde (Corrine Koslo) thinks it is high time the pants-wearing Miss Stacie found a new husband. Matthew Cuthbert (R.H. Thompson) attempts to grow an enormous vegetable and take first place at the fair. Marilla (Geraldine James) frets about losing Anne, in case she finds her real parents or distant relatives. And Diana Barry (Dalila Bela) experiences her first love and grapples with trying to be true to herself, against her desperate need to please others.

Though this series can still be preachy from time to time, it's not as preachy as the second season, and has much more of a sense of humor to it. A lot of emphasis is placed on young people coming of age, suddenly noticing the opposite sex exists, and letting their imaginations run away with them. There is also heartache, because a beloved side character dies this season (it isn't Matthew) and some serious themes, which include consent and childhood cruelty. The episodes do tend to skip around in their focus, and they drop some plots, the most disappointing one being the introduction of a new native character, who is present for a few episodes, lands in a horrible school where they mistreat her, and then is absent until almost the end. The series leaves her plot dangling and never wraps it up, which is a shame since at least for the time being, the show has been cancelled. I felt like the writing was trying to handle too many ongoing plots at once, so she was the sacrifice.

It tackles sexism, in the attitudes of the town board toward the women not only on the town board, but also the female students. By far, however, the show is strongest when it focuses on Anne and Gilbert. And happily, there are plenty of interactions for them this season, both touching and funny. It's a lot like one of Anne's cakes. Beautiful to look at and to cut into, but with a few surprises inside.

Sexual Content
A boy tells the girls at school if they are emotional and hysterical, they will become barren, causing them to worry about it. A girl thinks you get pregnant by touching boys, and goes into hysterics about it, forcing Miss Stacie to awkwardly tell them that isn't how it works. A boy forces a kiss on a girl, and touches her inappropriately, then spreads rumors about her. The audience doesn't hear anything, other than she "didn't want to wait for the wedding," and "has loose morals." This becomes the focus of several episodes, as Anne champions for her rights.
 
Language:
Nothing of note.
 
Violence:
Nuns slap aborigine children in a school, beat them with rulers for disobedience, and call them "savages." Two men get into a brutal brawl that ends in bloodied faces and broken furniture.

Other:
Anne and the girls dance around a fire in the woods at night and perform a "pagan ritual." The town board show obvious, extreme sexism in discriminating against the women of the town. As usual, Catholic nuns are portrayed as cruel to children, sadistically locking them in and beating them for disobedience.