Filus must save Kubus from the hands of the devil, Miss Kelis is spending more and more time with the boys, and hell is still plotting how to get them all. Nothing new, but somewhere in the middle of it all, we get one of the best Christmas episodes of the season. And ten fillers.
I’m still incredibly impressed with the speed at which Netflix spits out the next episodes of The Cuphead Show!. This is the third season THIS YEAR. In total, we got as many as 36 episodes, all very visually pleasing and filled with humor. The problem is that the final quality of individual episodes can be very uneven – the concept of the series may not be confusing, somewhere the humor may fail, and so on. The third season is the biggest disappointment in this regard.
The Cuphead Show! (2022) – review of season 3 of the TV series [Netflix]. All the same, but worse
The first episode of the season, again, like the beginning of the second, continues the story of the cliffhanger that ended the previous episode. And just like in the second season, in these rushes, the guys got out of prison, so this time Kubus does not spend too much time with the devil. Then we get a series of not very related stories. The boys and the devil want to be actors. The Devil pretends to be a kitten for Grandpa Pitcher. Philus, Kubus and Kelis have to deliver the package. King Dice dreams of becoming a star. Toward the end, the plot becomes more focused again. We learn how it came to be that Kelis can move freely between her spirit form and her body, the bonds of friendship become important, and the devil once again finds himself perilously close to achieving his goal. The finale has the makings of high emotionality and, perhaps, stays with the audience even longer, but the scriptwriters do not use this opportunity at all, being content with a series of rather low-quality gags. However, I respect how the ending relates to the game, neatly merging both works into one sane whole. It is a pity that individual episodes cannot boast such a thoughtful structure.
The humor in this portion of the episodes was probably my least favorite of all the seasons. I don’t think I ever felt that the creators even tried to come up with a more ambitious joke. Allegedly, “The Cuphead Show!” was always aimed at the comedic flair of the younger part of the audience, but sometimes their ideas could even be appreciated as old gingerbread. Season 3 jokes about someone doing something stupid that defies logic, someone saying something unexpected or misheard, someone hurting themselves (or almost hurting themselves) and… That’s all. Every Christmas there is a joke that makes you laugh. The kids will probably still have fun up to their armpits, but in the case of previous seasons, I also experienced the joy of watching. However, this time I ended the season mostly on duty. I really have no idea what happened that the bar was so low.
The Cuphead Show! (2022) – review of season 3 of the TV series [Netflix]. Devil and Santa – a surprisingly great combination
The creators of the series were also seduced by two Christmas episodes and just like the first one – with the boys gathering around the Christmas tree – they were not too impressed with the implementation (maybe except for the elegant morality at the end, coinciding with the atmosphere of Christmas), so another where the devil would love to have choo choo choo for Christmas, but he’s not likely to be on Santa’s list of well-behaved children, this is one of the most charming and touching Christmas television shows I’ve seen in years. It’s like all the creative power of the writers was used for this one episode. The dialogues are fascinating with their colorfulness, the episode itself is quite long, and the ending really touches the heart.
Even such an obvious thing as animation regresses in the third season. The shots are still good and the character movements are smooth and fast, but in previous seasons we regularly received images that could be compared to the extreme close-ups typical of classic Warner Brothers animations. They were essentially clear, detailed paintings rather than simple drawings. Where did such artworks go in the latest episode pack?
The third season of “The Cuphead Show!” seems to be done quickly, within the budget, more out of necessity than the call of the heart. Episodes lack focus, claw animation, maturity jokes. There is still so much content in the game that could be adapted, and the creators of the series chose to focus on the characters and themes already introduced. It’s still a mostly enjoyable, non-committal television piece, just in time to play one episode every now and then – let it fly – but either the formula is over or the writers are tired. Or maybe this is the effect of cutting funds for our own production, which was discussed a few months ago? Either way, facts remain facts. The show is in decline, and while the animation is still beautiful, I wouldn’t say it’s a must-see for everyone or the world will collapse. A pity.