The Pretender: The Complete Third Season Review
When I first starting watching The Pretender I was a little unsure that I would ever truly warm to it, the premise – a young man searching for his family and identity after being cruelly used for years for his intellectual talents by the mysterious Centre – didn't quite grab me. And yet, three seasons in, it's fair to say I'm hooked. The second season really helped by developing the central characters to a stage where I felt a real sense of care about them. And now, season three manages to take this further and let us explore the characters further while also developing the conspiracies that form a central core.
Jarod's search this season takes him towards finding his father. He's still out there using his skills as a 'pretender' to help the innocent, the abused and those in need of help from somewhere, but he's also managing to find something out about his past. Miss Parker has a hell of a journey this series. Not only does she unwillingly gain a step-mother, she also learns more about her mother's death and has to deal with the ramifications of falling in love herself. Even Sydney gets some major revelations this series, which is great because it gives all of these talented actors another level to explore around their characters. Broots may not get serious development, but he gets quite a bit of air time and actually teams up with Jarod in the episode 'Betrayal' and that's pretty good going for him.
It's a good, solid series of The Pretender, the episodes continue to entertain and I didn't find myself disappointed at all. The cast (Michael T. Weiss, Andrea Parker, Patrick Bauchau, Jon Gries, Ryan Merriman) all know their characters well by this stage in the game, and they continue to turn in enjoyable and sometimes impressive performances in their roles.
While the show maintains its episodic feel, there is a definite story arc to this season with the core characters all learning new things about their families. It's also good to see the helping people take a back seat sometimes, as the action in some episodes focuses much more on the character development I've been enjoying so much. If you enjoyed the first two seasons of The Pretender, I can't imagine that you wouldn't enjoy this one – I think it's the best so far and look forward to the final season to see how everything is brought together.
Jarod needs to use all his Pretender skills to become a mental patient in order to discover the truth behind the murder of another patient. Miss Parker looks into her twin's identity.
2: 'Hope and Prey'
Jarod learns a lot more about his father when he turns bounty hunter to protect an Native American activist whose life his father had saved a long time ago. In the parental theme, Miss Parker finds out some more about her mother's death.
3: 'Once in a Blue Moon'
Turning criminal behaviourist to find a serial killer, Jarod needs to work fast to protect a teenager.
4: 'Someone to Trust'
Everything seems fairly normal as Jarod pretends to be an arsonist, hoping to show an attorney's corruption. But when the same attorney is found dead, Jarod finds himself under unwanted attention.
An interesting episode – the Centre is trying to track down a mole and Broots comes under suspicion when he's the only survivor of a shootout at the Centre's data annex. Jarod takes Broots under his wing and works on exposing the culprit – a former operative and enemy of Jarod, Damon.
Sydney is in line for a surprising revelation in this episode, as he goes to help out an old girlfriend whose husband is fatally ill. Jarod meanwhile is helping a widow out.
Jarod pretends to be a major arms dealer to help a divorced woman get to see her children again. But to be an arms dealer, you need cash – so he steals millions from the Centre to help him, causing a heightened need to catch him.
8: 'Flesh and Blood'
When someone connected to Sydney gets kidnapped in the Appalachias, Jarod gets personal and takes on the persona of a tracking expert to help track the kidnapees.
9: 'Murder 101'
Jarod becomes a teacher. Teaching a class in criminal psychology (good job he was a criminal behaviourist earlier) he goes through how to commit a perfect murder. Then he himself has to put things to the test again as he has to track down three suspected murderers.
10: 'Mr. Lee'
A mysterious blind man and his assistant want to kidnap Jarod – who wouldn't? To execute their plan they try and put a profile together of Jarod's personality, which is very interesting for the viewer.
11: 'The Assassin'
Miss Parker gets a new neighbour – and gets to meet them in this episode. Jarod helps out a former computer analyst for the CIA whose facing demands to turn assassin if she wants to keep her children safe. Lots of conspiracies to face in this episode!
Argyle, the dodgy guy from a previous series, makes a reappearance here, much to my delight as I thought the character was great. He seeks out Jarod because he's in need of some help and of course, our man gets involved to help pay off Argyle's debts to loan sharks.
Miss Parker is getting concerned over her father's impending marriage and does all she can to stop it. At the same time Jarod challenges a pool hustler so he can investigate another murder.
14: 'At the Hour of Our Death'
Both Jarod and Miss Parker recall the same childhood incident at the Centre and this is the central theme of this episode. In the incident, they and Angelo met a dying girl at the Centre and it affected them greatly.
When a child with a rare blood condition gets injured, Jarod gets involved in the race to find the child's father – the only person who might be able to help at short notice.
Jarod makes contact with a radio talk show host who's into conspiracies and fights against the PTB (Powers That Be). When the radio host disappears after a threatening caller Jarod stands in! Miss Parker's relationship with Tommy gets closer and we get to see a more personal side to her, which is sent into turmoil as he asks her to relocate.
17: 'Ties That Bind'
Miss Parker decides to leave the Centre and breaks the news to her father and colleagues. Of course, no-one is happy with this situation and it's more important really than Jarod's undercover investigation at a law firm.
18: 'Wake Up'
Once again Jarod's storyline comes in second to the trials and tribulations of Miss Parker when her domestic bliss is shattered. Meanwhile, Jarod follows clues to a drug addict.
19: 'End Game'
In a cross-over with the TV show Profiler Jarod searches for the kidnapper of a young chess prodigy (which reminds Jarod of his own prodigy status). It also brings Jarod to the attention of a criminal profiler with the FBI! Brigitte has uncomfortable news for Miss Parker.
Jarod steps up the search for his father and this takes him to a research facility in Alaska. Finding the research team, he also discovers their numbers are bloodily depleting. Obviously, he has to work out what's happening before it happens to him.
21: 'Donoterase (pt1)'
Jarod has found his father and the pair are reunited. However, in a kick to the shins, their happy reunion gets disturbed by news that the Centre has cloned Jarod and the clone has now reached teenage years. Jarod and his father need to rescue the clone before he also gets too involved in the Centre's machinations.
22: 'Donoterase (pt2)'
Jarod and his father plot to rescue Jarod's clone, with resultant big action sequences pitting the pair against Centre assassins and shooters. Miss Parker, meanwhile, has to face disturbing new truths as she learns more from the Centre, especially about her special subject – her mother's murder.
The picture is presented in anamorphic widescreen, with a 1.78:1 transfer which serves the show well. There's no huge problems here, the odd bit of grain, but generally a picture where skin tones, blacks and rich colours are all exactly as you'd expect and like from the show.
The sound is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround in English, French and Spanish. The English mix is clear and audible throughout, and doesn't make a lot of use of directionality. In fact, it's a little flat but it didn't really detract from any enjoyment of the show. I didn't expect much more from a TV show, and this sound mix definitely gets the job done, even if it doesn't show off at the same time.
There aren't many extras, but just enough to add a nice touch to this boxset. The show's creators (Steven Long Mitchell and Craig W Van Sickle) record three commentaries on important episodes; 'Crazy', 'In the Hour of Our Death' and 'Wake Up'. The commentaries are functional and interesting, with the pair showing their knowledge and fondness for the show with their recollections and insights. It's not an entertaining set of commentaries, but at least it's informative!
The other extra is a making-of featurette which is split into three parts across three of the discs. As I've mentioned before, I would have preferred to see this featurette intact on the final disc, but I'd also rather have it than not, so no real complaints here. It's actually a fairly enjoyable featurette with contributions from cast and crew, all clearly displaying their love of the show with their anecdotes and comments on this season.
The third season of The Pretender shows the characters develop further and the conspiracies developing their own conspiracies. If you enjoy the show, you'll definitely want to catch this series on DVD and watch some of the more interesting episodes a few times.
Last updated: 14/06/2018 17:41:05