Carmen Sandiego is back, even if only for a short stint. The third season of the acclaimed Netflix animated series starring Gina Rodriguez dropped on October 1, except its only five episodes. Still, the show manages to pack a lot into those episodes, including beginning the search for Carmen’s mom, new characters, new twists, and Day of the Dead and Halloween themed episodes.
To recap, season 2 ended off with Carmen (Rodridguez) finding out crucial information about her past. VILE told Carmen about how Shadowsan (Paul Nakauchi) was dispatched to assassinate her father, hoping that it would turn the partners against each other, but they didn’t know the full story. Shadowsan was supposed to kill her father, who it turns out was VILE faculty, but hesitated when he realized her father was leaving VILE to be with his new family – including a baby Carmen. Before he knew it, the FBI showed up and it was actually Chief (Dawnn Lewis) who killed Carmen’s father! Shadowsan burned down the house to cover it up, and took Carmen with him back to VILE Island. After hearing that, Carmen renewed her friendship with Shadowsan, and hacked ACME to confirm that what he said about Chief was true. The result was that Carmen is now once again at odds with ACME, VILE has new headquarters (they blew up their old one), and Carmen knows that her mom might still be out there.
The new season jumps right back into the plot with Carmen searching for her mother with precious little to go on. After a fun episode where Carmen teams up with a luchadora (Krizia Bajos), she decides to get back to going on capers, fearing that continuing to search for her mother will only put innocent people in VILE’s crosshairs. She’s sure to return to this particular storyline soon enough though, probably in season 4.
Season 3 also has some fascinating new characters including a new VILE faculty member named Roundabout (Trevor Devall) to fill Shadowsan’s seat. Roundabout is head of her majesty’s secret service in England, and as such has all sorts of high level connections around the world, with which to pull strings.
There’s also a new charming young art thief named Sonia (Jeannie Tirado), who draws the interest of both Carmen and VILE and appears in the season’s Day of the Dead themed episode. I very much hope that we see her again in future seasons, even perhaps as a series regular.
There are also a host of new VILE operatives from VILE’s latest graduating class, although they seem, as Carmen gleefully points out, rather pathetic. Despite acing the new beating-Carmen-Sandiego class, they find the actual Carmen a little harder to pin down. And then there’s The Troll (Osric Chau), who’s basically an evil version of Player (Stranger Things’ Finn Wolfhard) as VILE’s top hacker.
It’s a shame that Chief and Carmen are opponents again because one can imagine that they would make a rather impressive team. But Chief returns to hunting Carmen this season since she watched Carmen have Player hack ACME’s servers, and she doesn’t yet know the personal connection she and Carmen share. Unfortunately, we don’t get the confrontation between the two that we know is coming this season, but hopefully when the show returns for season 4.
And what of Chase Devineaux (Rafael Petardi)? We know that Chief hired him back to track down Carmen, but with Jules (Charlet Takahashi Chung) making a career change, Devineaux inhabits an interesting new role. Devineaux is known for being the series buffoon, relentlessly stubborn in pursuing Carmen no matter what evidence points to Carmen actually trying to help return stolen items. This season, however, he starts to see the light, and may actually prove to be an ally yet. And don’t worry, he still trashes plenty of government issued cars.
The capers this season are fun, colorful, packed with culture, and make excellent use out of the Halloween season within which it’s airing. And the season finale is a heist with more twists than a Good Place episode, and a very glitter target in the form of England’s crown jewels. Yes, it’s short, but this is a season that you won’t want to miss.
As for season 4? It’s already been confirmed! The Carmen Sandiego Twitter account assures us that it’s coming soon, and that may be sooner than we think. Yes, both seasons 2 and 3 premiered on October 1, but with this season being shorter, I wouldn’t be surprised to see season 4 in six months or less. So stay tuned.