The curtain has eventually fallen for Sotiris Tsafoulias's The Other Me (original title: Έτερος Εγώ) saga which began back in 2016 with the release of the feature film and continued as a TV series, airing 3 seasons from 2019 till 2023. It saddens me to have to write a negative review for a show that I loved for various reasons, not least because it is a Greek production, but the ugly truth is that one could hardly expect such an uninspired and hackneyed denouement, even if they were not major fans of Tsafoulias's series. The previous two seasons kept the bar high in terms of screenplay ingenuity, dark cinematography aptly fitting the show's mood, performances by a wide set of acclaimed Greek authors and a suspenseful plotline that glued the audience to their seats in order to see what's coming next. In both seasons 1 and 2 a well-placed and highly effective ending plot twist elevated the level of the audience's engagement while earning top score as far as the whodunit element is concerned, even if such tricks were not decisive for the show's rating as a whole for the reasons I cited earlier in this review. The final cycle of The Other Me, subtitled Nemesis in a clumsy attempt by the creator to give credence to the story through its connection with Ancient Greek mythology and philosophy, left me with a dejected feeling, wondering how things could possibly have taken such a nasty turn in the conclusive installment which is -always- suppose to be the brightest gem of the whole production.
The most striking flaws of this third season have to do with the non-existent main storyline which is unfolding through the muddy workings of a stilted screenplay and a chaotic plot that is more concerned with what happened in the finale of the second cycle than in presenting a sophisticated, autonomous tale, meant to stand on its own feet narrative-wise. The first episode commences with a bang, an explosion in a funeral home in a neighborhood of Athens which proves to be a rather puzzling case when the victim found inside is not the one expected by the authorities based on the CCTV recordings of the area. This event, which is supposed to be the foundation upon which the season's plotline would evolve, remains unexplored until the last episodes without the screenwriters providing us with as much as a proper criminal investigation, the case dragging throughout the course of the season and the rise in body count does nothing to redeem the story from its shortcomings. New characters keep appearing in each episode adding nothing to the narrative and there are many scenes of pointless dialogue that could be entirely missing from the script but are still there to painfully remind us of the disaster that we are witnessing from episode 1 onwards.
The sheer number of the cast's members is indicative of Tsafoulias's failure to build something original, in the tradition that himself created in his prior work, with the majority of the country's actors and thespians having a small role in this hodgepodge of a season, with some pretty heavy names disgracing themselves by accepting to participate in a production that would very much like to come across as galore, nevertheless ending up being a rollercoaster of triteness, forever tainting The Other Me brand. There are several characters with no significant role, the most prominent one being the tough-as-nails Alkis Masatos (Dimitris Kapetanakos), who became one of the audience's favorites during the course of the previous seasons but in this one, he lacks a meaningful positioning within the narrative as his presence is meant to provide moments of comic levity that is derived from his excessive use of profanity in his speech. Vulgar language is a new one for Tsafoulias who used to write plausible dialogue but in this season, he opted to use extensive swearing that rings hollow and unnatural, thus making us question the actor's performance, perhaps unfairly. Kapetanakos does a fine job, it is the screenwriters' lazy writing that makes his lines sound pompous and overblown.
As I've already mentioned in the beginning of my review, the third season deals with the aftermath of the tragic events that marked the ending of the second and the most outstanding loose end is the apprehension of "The Lizard" ("Το Ερπετό"), the head of a stark organized crime group doing business in Athen's underbelly. After the revelation of the "Lizard"'s identity in S02E08, we were all anticipating a lot from this particular plot strand but guess what: the villain enters the story in the penultimate episode during a -redundant= shootout that finally leads in his arrest. However, what follows is a brief interrogation scene between the "Lizard" and the head of the Homicide Unit (Mariana Toumasatou) that leaves us hanging and feeling frustrated for one of the most anti-climactic finales ever shown on -Greek- television. Furthermore, the lack of a definitive protagonist makes the over-the-top plot even harder with Criminology Professor Dimitris Lainis (Pygmalion Dadakaridis) being sidelined for this season as his character is completely out of picture until the sixth episode. Here, I would like to add something that I feel is necessary to mention: Dadakaridis's performance in the role of a person suffering from Asperger's is comes across as rather flimsy and is way inferior to the portrayals of similar characters in the European television, think of Saga Noren (Sofia Helin) in Bron/Broen or Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace) in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo movie trilogy.
This review may feel like a tirade, and perhaps it is, but I have to admit that it was the last thing I expected and wanted from the conclusion of a show that marked the genre's television productions in Greece. Tsafoulias was the first to introduce a gloomy fictional universe where serial-killers and super-villains stalk the streets of Athens and his example was followed by several other creators and producers with the results being more than satisfying during the last few years. It is a shame for The Other Me to end on such a low note and the loyal fans of the series will be certainly feel betrayed by the the director and screenwriter who I hope has better things in store for the future. Watch it only in order to form a detailed opinion on the show as a whole but beware: this season is devoid of any joy.
Έτερος Εγώ: Νέμεσις