Goliath Season 3 Review: Engaging and Unpredictable

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When Goliath Season 3 opens, the story takes such a bizarre turn that it's easy to forget what you're watching.

The Billy Bob Thornton starring vehicle has always leaned just outside a flat out drama, let alone a legal thriller.

And during its third season, Goliath goes to great lengths to ensure you know the fantastical is knocking on its door.

Goliath Season 3 Poster

Goliath begins its new season with two stars who aren't strangers to the surreal.

Sherilyn Fenn (Twin Peaks) and Griffin Dunne (This Is Us) star as a married couple, Bobbi and Gene, seemingly terrorized by unseen forces while they try to spend an otherwise uneventful evening at home.

The events that kick off the season-long legal arc play like a feature from M. Night Shyamalan and set the tone for the following four episodes that were available for critics to review.

Billy Bob Thornton on Goliath

Choosing the appropriate cast to pull that off was imperative, and with Fenn's Twin Peaks experience and Dunne's work in shows such as the film After Hours, they performed beautifully.

While the full scope of the story isn't clear even after four episodes, what is clear is that Thornton's Billy McBride gets another opportunity to seem like the straight man in comparison to those around him.

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McBride is a man down on his luck professionally and personally who still manages to kick it up with some imposing legal cases and who is never too far from the warm bed of an available woman even if it seems he doesn't have a lot to offer.

Goliath Season 1 introduced his former partner and nemesis Donald Cooperman (William Hurt) whose antics made even the swimming-in-alcohol Billy seem like a primary school teacher.

Dennis Quaid and Amy Brenneman on Goliath

Billy's legal assistant, the former prostitute Brittany (Tania Raymonde) rode the waves with him while also receiving his protection and legal counsel and still managed to stab him in the back, and Patty Solis-Papagian (Nina Arianda) joined him with her hard-nosed legal skills and refreshingly straightforward (yet snarky) wit.

Billy saw victory against the legal giant of Season 1 only to get his ass handed to him during Goliath Season 2.

Taking to the political arena and falling for his client, Billy grew closer to his daughter, but justice didn't prevail, and his heart got shattered.

While Cooperman's eccentricities dominated Season 1's oddball qualities, Season 2 had everything from a man with an amputee fetish getting his just desserts to Billy and a woman who began as a stranger to him getting kidnapped and held in Mexico.

Dennis Quaid on Goliath

So by the time we get to Goliath Season 3, we know that Billy consistently finds himself in some pretty awkward company, and although he hates to lose, when he does, there's usually a reason for it (shame, alcoholism, or being blinded by love come to mind).

The case for the third season is personal. Billy suffers another loss (as if the man hasn't suffered enough already) that gets him directly involved with a convoluted case about water rights. I think.

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The latest arc has a little bit of everything from Erin Brockovich to Longmire (or Yellowstone). From Erin Brockovich comes the water aspect including a Water Board snuggled inside of another building making the entire operation so nondescript that it's begging for oversight to keep the criminals at bay.

Dennis Quaid plays a wealthy farmer of the corporate variety named Wade who might believe that all the water nearby has been marked for his needs and his alone.

Amy Brenneman on Goliath

From Longmire or Yellowstone comes not only the ten-gallon hat atop Wade's head, but the inclusion of a Reservation casino and a security guard of ill-repute who could very well find his hands caught in the candy jar I.

To make the season feel even more familiar, Amy Breneman joins the cast as Wade's sister, Diana.

It's a role that brings to mind the lost mother from The Righteous Gemstones as well as Sharon Lawrence's Louise Garbeau in On Becoming a God in Central Florida and even a bit of Yellowstone's Evelyn Dutton -- all women highly revered by those around them with an inordinate amount of pull.

Proving that there is no shortage of talent willing to get in on the Goliath fun and games, Beau Bridges is also attached as a fellow corporate farmer, and Billy catches the eye of guest-star Illeana Douglas as the two pound back a few cocktails at the casino lounge.

Billy McBride Gets a Drink

The more I think about it, the easier it is to think that the cast and the story could be a satire or parody of many productions that have come before it.

There is even a scene in which Dennis Quaid sings karaoke that could be a far-less-moving sendup to the scene from Brennaman's tour de force The Leftovers in which Justin Theroux belted out a soulful tune, albeit with a lot more purpose than Quaid's outing with Wade.

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There is even a scene in which Patty, like Erin Brockovich before her, uses her wiles to get closer to the evidence that could be residing at the Water Board.

All of this is to say that by the time four episodes of Goliath Season 3 are over, the only thing of which I'm certain is that I have no idea where it's going, and that doesn't matter to the level of enjoyment in the slightest.

Beau Bridges on Goliath

I gobbled up the early episodes and got rewarded for my efforts with callbacks to the earlier seasons that it seems will have to pay off high dividends before the season is over.

Thornton is, of course, marvelous as Billy. He's almost getting suspect of his own life himself right along with viewers as the peculiarity of his surroundings increases.

Given the location of the latest case, there isn't enough of Patty, but the new cast is intriguing enough that the wait seems worth it.

Quaid is almost Jerry-Lee-Lewis-esque with Wade, while Brennaman is as good as she always manages to be while Bridges manages to be both commanding and confused as Wheeler.

Wheeler Lights Up

There is bound to be more than meets the eye to Dunne's character. Even on This Is Us he seems somewhat absurd in comparison to those around him, and I expect Gene will prove to have more bite than we witness initially on Goliath, too.

Overall, Goliath Season 3 appears to be as elusive plot-wise as the first two seasons while filled with electric performances that make the entirety wholly engaging.

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Its unpreditablity is, oddly enough, is becoming Goliath's trademark, and that's what makes it so watchable.

Goliath Season 3 is available to stream on Amazon.

Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Broadcast Television Journalists Association (BTJA), enjoys mentoring writers, wine, and passionately discussing the nuances of television. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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