Three Pines suffers from it’s structure

Gianna La Fond, Staffer

I started watching “Three Pines” at the behest of my father, who was certain I would like it. For about two episodes, he was mostly right. With a weighty tone and an interesting mystery, “Three Pines” took a stab at approaching the difficult dynamic between the Canadian government and the natives of the region in an engaging murder mystery. Quickly though, the plot lost me, and I realized the many parts of the show didn’t fit into the slots they were meant to and they left me more disappointed than satisfied. 

First of all, it’s important to acknowledge the unique take “Three Pines” has on the crime drama TV formula. Instead of having episodic mysteries or a more serialized take, “Three Pines” splits the difference and presents four two-episode mysteries with one larger mystery that permeates through the whole show. Unfortunately, this structure didn’t work at all and instead of combining the best parts of either style, only the worst traits of serialized and episodic television are put on display. The show struggles both with having to give each episode a satisfying ending—a trait shared with serialized TV—but also leaving the show feeling jagged and disconnected at times because of its more episodic traits.

Nowhere is this worse than at the beginning of the third mystery- the fifth episode when the main character leaves the titular town of Three Pines and ends up at a random hotel seemingly totally disconnected from the rest of the show. The change of setting in of itself is upsetting because it detracts from the ‘promise’ the show makes in its first four episodes. The show presents the town of Three Pines and its well-developed cast as the catalyst of the show, even greater than the main character. Beyond that, the town acts as a microcosm of the relationship between the indigenous people and the SQ (police) which expands on the show’s themes in an interesting way. The movement of location is jarring and pointless and the third story arc (ep 5-6) was easily my least favorite.

Speaking as to the relationship between the indigenous people and the SQ, there’s something weird going on with the main character and it’s the first time in a while I’ve actively hated something so much in a piece of media, and I watched “Multiverse of Madness.” Yeah. Let me explain. The main character is an SQ officer with no connection to the indigenous people. Throughout the show, however, it promises the revelation of a link between him and them through two plot devices, one is mystical dreams he has about the missing indigenous girl (Blue) that point him towards solutions to the current mystery, and the second is a bluejay feather that is given to him by her mother, that also somehow connects to his past. Through this, the show suitably convinces you that his connection to Blue will be explained through his childhood connection to the bluejay feather, but when you get to the end you are rewarded with nothing of the sort. This puts the main character into an awkward “white savior” sort of position where he is given help by the dead Blue in a mystical “ancestral spirit” sort of way without any valid connection to her.

Overall, will I watch season two of Three Pines if it comes out? Probably. Would I recommend “Three Pines”? Yes, if you’re bored. Do I think “Three Pines” is a good show? Absolutely not.