Top Boy season three
Top Boy, and its world run by blood, money and drugs, culminates in season three. Its long history might be daunting for newcomers at first (an initial television show released through Channel 4 in 2011 that ran for eight episodes until 2013, and then a revival that began streaming on Netflix back in 2019); anyone just tuning in might feel hesitant because of how much time and investment is needed. However, season three of Top Boy does a good job of welcoming new characters and exploring fresh storylines that newcomers can sink their teeth into without having to worry about the greater lore of the show, while simultaneously giving longtime, loyal viewers a well-deserved denouement.
The series follows the love-hate relationship of best friends Dushane (Ashley Walters) and Sully (Kane Robinson) through the thick-and-thin of running a drug empire. It focuses on the effects of poverty and how it can lead to children and teenagers finding no other escape besides a life of crime. It’s a vicious cycle of violence: the lack of empathy that a world so terrifying can induce, an “every man for himself” mentality that tests even the strongest of bonds, money over human life – and a strong community that fights against the injustice of corrupt government policy. What makes these themes so visceral is the constant presence of youth: young individuals affected by the choices adults make.
Of the new characters in the mix, Barry Keoghan’s entry as Johnny Magee is a standout. His screentime is short but perfectly menacing with a levelheadedness that recalls the phrase “still waters run deep”. Of the returning cast, Jasmine Jobson is fantastic as Jaq, her character going through situations that force her to consider avenues of life that don’t include crime. The rest of the cast remain consistent in their performances as well, giving weight to the emotional junctures and departures, and overall delivering the important messages of the show.
The production goes over the top with quick and hard cuts to elucidate the volatile chaos of Top Boy, but it also lingers when needed, letting moments of impact breathe and allowing space for characters to lament their actions. High contrast and saturation exude danger, heighten the colour of blood, and emphasise the cold and remorseless world of drug dealing. The well-executed rap soundtrack complements action sequences while also continuing to underline why these people are fighting and what they are fighting for.
Top Boy season three wraps with a final and abrupt scene, hitting a climax point and just never coming down. The years these characters spend amid bloodshed revolving around tainted cash prove that while some violent loops can end, others breed on; and the higher one goes, the harder the fall.
Top Boy season three is released on Netflix on 7th September 2023.
Watch the trailer for Top Boy season three here: