Dear White People

Was DWP worth watching past season 2?

Warning: spoilers

Dear White People follows the lives of some black students in an Ivy League college, exploring the issues many black people often face when navigating white spaces. The third and most recent season seemed to turn the show on its head, and it left me confused about the future of the show, and asking myself: was Dear White People worth watching past season two?

 Compared to the previous energetic, drama-filled seasons, this season was a bit of a lull. The focus moved towards observing each individual character’s self-discovery, and away from to the dramatic, wider-group interactions that occurred more regularly in previous seasons. This season presented a take on everyday life as black people studying at an Ivy which, in fairness, did come with some interesting, thought-provoking experiences and important discussions as we saw in this season, but it did not leave enough scope for the level of drama the first two seasons left me expecting. Instead, this season was more of a revamp. The characters as we know them are gone, and ‘New Season, New Me’ seems to be the running theme. For example, Sam (Logan Browning) is no longer on her podcast, Dear White People, as she has left it to Joelle (Ashley Blaine Featherson) while she works on her junior documentary, Troy (Brandon P Bell) has left Pastiche and started up his own activist magazine, and Lionel (DeRon Horton) channels his romantic adventures into a new ‘fictional’ column he has been anonymously writing for. We spent the last two seasons getting to know these characters and their goals and passions, and it is now unclear what the purpose of that was. This season felt like sitting in on a character development session, watching the writers brainstorm where to take each main character’s storyline. At the same time, perhaps the show had to strip everything down to take it in a new, even more exciting direction. Even if this is the case, I would have preferred it if this breaking down and rebuilding process did not take the entire season to implement. I guess I just have to wait and see what season four will bring to know whether this season was truly worth watching.

 Speaking of the future of the show, we need to talk about The Order. At the end of season two,  The Order, a secret group of elite, powerful black people, is introduced in a way that made me think that this would be a very significant theme in season three. It was not. The Order reared its head at a few points in the season, but its dramatic potential was certainly not met in season three. However, with the implications of Moses’ connection to The Order, there is a possibility of an explosive fourth season, and this season might just have been used to set the scene in preparation for season four. In that case, to me, it would definitely be worth carrying on with Dear White People. I am hopeful that the pace will quicken next season, and that this season of groundwork will lead to many new plots unravelling next season - I am not sure that I can stick it out for another season of restructuring.

  

Despite my disappointment with season three, I am grateful that Dear White People exists as a TV series, due to the representation that numerous black people, especially those who often have to navigate white spaces, can feel when watching this show and relating to the many traits that can be found in this diverse group of  characters on screen – this experience is a luxury, as not many shows provide this opportunity. Not only is this representation important, this show’s cinematography also always makes for an aesthetically pleasing experience. To answer the question about whether Dear White People was worth watching past season two, if you are looking for a light, easy season, then I would definitely recommend watching season three, but if you are looking for a thrilling season of Dear White People, season three is not for you - I would suggest you read a quick description or watch a recap in preparation for what I hope to be an explosive, exciting fourth season.

Subomi Odanye