“Young Royals” Season 3 Review: Should Have Been a Movie

Young Royals season 3 review
Wilhelm and Simon in Young Royals Season 3 (Image via Trailer)

After a stellar debut season and an enjoyable second season, Young Royals Season 3 left me wondering if the conclusion to such a queer love story should have been a movie instead of a 6-episode long final season.

This might come across as harsh to certain fans, but about two episodes into Young Royals Season 3, it became clear to me that the creative team didn’t have enough material to properly justify doing 6 episodes (approximately 1 hour each), and that too divided into two parts. Part 1, consisting of 5 episodes was released on 11 March 2024 on Netflix, with Part 2 following on 18 March 2024. I thought Part 2 would serve a longer finale due to being a single release- but nopes, it was basically the same length as the rest of the episodes. So, I don’t know why the streaming service decided to add a break in there in such a manner.

The entire thing felt repetitive to me. Even after Wilhelm came out as queer to the world during the finale of season 2, the third installment didn’t allow him and Simon to have much fun together. Wilhelm continued to be bombarded with royal responsibilities (accelerated due to his mother’s declining mental and physical health), and Simon got to experience the “control” that comes with being the public boyfriend of the Crown Prince. So random social media posts, taking a strong political stand, etc, etc.

What followed was the same old same old with Simon not wanting to be controlled in such a manner and Wilhelm trying his best to balance wanting to be with Simon and his royal duties. In my opinion, the writers could have done something interesting to showcase how an openly queer young Crown Prince would operate during current times. I really thought that the third season would continue Wilhelm’s “Queer Crown Prince vs Royal Tradition” arc. However, the creative team had other plans (which I’ll get to in a bit).

The rest of the cast didn’t have much to do during the final season. However, I have to say that I did enjoy Sara and Felice reconnecting as friends. I wanted more moments between the two. I also enjoyed Sara breaking things off with August. She’s right, in my opinion. August had to find a way to deal with his personal issues by himself instead of looking to someone like Sara to help fix him. August needed professional help.

Sara telling August that he was in love with the person he became when they were together and how that wasn’t the same as him actually being in love with Sara… so good!

Sara also got to spend some time with her father. Those scenes allowed her to see for herself why Simon and their mother warned them to stay away from such a man. He wasn’t a bad person per se, but he definitely wasn’t ready to be a proper father without professional intervention. At least, such an experience helped Sara strengthen her relationship with Simon.

The narrative was padded with Hillerska being investigated for improper conduct and facing the possibility of being shut down. Apparantly, there were concerns spanning 10 years or something close enough. That particular storyline helped flesh out August a bit more as a troubled young person as well as his complicated past with Wilhelm’s dead brother Erik. I’ve never been a fan of hazing, and kudos to the creative team for bringing up such an issue. Academic institutions that don’t do enough to stop such problematic practices and protect their students need to be investigated and penalized.

And again, though Felice’s racial heritage and how it related to her experience in Hillerska was brought up again, the narrative still didn’t manage to do much with it.

Coming back to Wilhelm and Simon, I couldn’t help but roll my eyes when the creative team decided to break them up… again! And that too during the penultimate episode.

I mean, if a show keeps saying two characters can’t be together, then why should I, as an audience member, root for them? With how boring I found the final season of Young Royals to be, frankly, I wanted Wilhelm and Simon to break up for good, with maybe a slight possibility that they might find their way back to each other a decade or two from now.

The story concluded with Wilhelm having a very quick discussion with his mother about never wanting to be the Crown Prince. He wanted to live a royalty-free life with Simon. Surprisingly, she was cool with his decision and was okay with training August as the next heir in line to the throne because she got professional help offscreen and it apparently worked its magic in under a week (as far as I can tell).

With Wilhelm, Simon, Felice, and Sara driving away somewhere to spend the summer together, the ending to Young Royals felt a bit too convenient to me. If the finish line was always going to be Wilhelm stepping away from royalty, then why make him and Simon go through all of the trouble to begin with? Why not have Wilhelm take a stand in front of his mother without adding yet another predictable breakup in there? Hmmm.

Again, I do feel that all of the character-centric decisions would have come across as more impactful if the creative team focused on delivering a tighter story in an approximately two-hour-long streaming movie. In my opinion, trying to stretch out the final chapter over 6 episodes really messed with the pacing. I found myself checking my cellphone and scrolling Twitter through most of Part 1 and Part 2 (and that’s saying something considering Part 2 was just one episode).

However, having brought all of that up, I don’t want people to not give Young Royals a chance. As I mentioned in my review of the first season, it’s definitely a well-written show. The actors are likable and it’s well-shot. However, for some reason, the overall narrative didn’t pan out the way I expected it to. And for a show that began by depicting young queer romance in a surprisingly mature manner, that’s unfortunate. But it’s not so bad that you can’t binge-watch the three seasons (a total of 18 episodes) if you haven’t already.

As a farewell to the fandom, Netflix has also released Young Royals Forever. About 50 minutes long, it’s a behind-the-scenes look at the cast and crew getting ready to film the final season, saying goodbye to the fandom, and looking forward to the future.

What did you think of Young Royals Season 3?

Feel free to share your thoughts with us.

Author: Farid-ul-Haq

Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.

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3 thoughts on ““Young Royals” Season 3 Review: Should Have Been a Movie

    1. I wouldn’t call it “toxic”, but there are definitely glaring issues in their relationship the two needed to address. – Farid

  1. i just got done with binge-watching the whole season and i agree with almost everything you mentioned. the creative team could have done a way better job at this. i expected so much more.

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