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Carmen Sandiego Series Finale

by Mary Knutson about a year ago in tv
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Finished with a Flourish or a Flop?

Image owned by Netflix

Since 2019, loyal fans of all ages have tuned in to the modern adventures of Carmen Sandiego. Then Netflix had to do what they always do and screw it up.

The two things I hate most in this world are unjustified character deaths and unjust endings. This was both the metaphorical butchering of several character arcs as well as an ending that left many fans lacking. As a fellow writer, Warren Johnson, said, “They [Netflix] can start something, but rarely do they ever finish well.” Fans have devoted hours to analyzing the show and enjoying its content only to be let down in the final episodes.

While the show itself was detailed in artwork, storyline, and characters, the ending felt rushed and as though they didn’t have the time and jammed four or five episodes of information into four or five minutes. Many choices the characters made were very different from their usual behavior, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

In the finale, Graham made the decision to help ACME catch Carmen, that checks out. But it never says whether or not he continues his life of crime or not after he helps save Carmen. He is dropped from the show in the middle of his character arc leaving viewers with more questions than answers.

There is also a popular cliché where the main character finds some long lost relative or whatever and all you see is a shadow or the back of said long lost relative. Netflix did exactly that. Carmen spent a good portion of the show looking for her mother and everyone felt her pain and heartache at continually being so close yet so far. In the final moments of the finale, Carmen finally made it to her mother and got to see her face, but the fans did not.

Then to add insult to injury, when Carmen leaves Zack and Ivy to find her mother simply leaves a note saying, “Keep fighting the good fight. Love you both so much. Carmen.” For her character, it doesn’t quite make sense, the last time she left without saying goodbye, she was kidnapped by VILE for six months. She couldn’t have waited another ten minutes for them to come back? However, she did leave a pen so they could contact the Chief of ACME.

On another interesting note, Carmen found out her real name apparently, but fans do not, which I can understand. In the classic cartoon, she was only ever known as Carmen Sandiego so to have added the alias Black Sheep was to take a risk and to add another name may have been pushing it too far.

Not to mention the fact that towards the very end of the episode, Shadowsan says that anyone who has her “heart, wisdom, and courage can become Carmen Sandiego.” In the final scene, it’s shown to be two years later when Zack and Ivy roll up with ACME while a figure who looks like Carmen Sandiego is standing on the roof. But Because of what Shadowsan said, it could be someone who simply took up the mantle because it never shows her face.

There were a lot of things about this ending that stood out and not many of them were good. As I mentioned before, fans do see that Zack and Ivy made it in with ACME to continue fighting crime together but there’s no evidence that Carmen ever reaches out to them. She exists more as a phantom of their past than a figure in their present which doesn’t make sense since she had dropped them for over six months when she was brain wiped by VILE.

Overall, Netflix had an amazing show that was entertaining while also being beautifully written and having gorgeous artwork but rushed the ending. What could have been a monumental series for Netflix became nothing more than just another script to be finished by the deadline.

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Mary Knutson

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