Thursday, January 28, 2010

Review: Republic of Doyle, Ep.4

So this week on Law & Order, torn right from the headlines, the Randy Druken murder case....

Oh, wait, sorry, it was an episode of Republic of Doyle. Seriously, I know Randy isn't hurting for money these days, what with the cash he got from his wrongful conviction settlement, but did he get a kickback from the producers on this episode?

For those of you not from Newfoundland hunting out for reviews, seriously, type Randy Drunken into a Google search and you'll get an idea. So yes, not a lot of hard writing required from Allan Hawco and the boys on this one. The reference to one of the brothers having a place up on Shea Heights was just the icing on the cake (again, for those of you not of the St. John's persuasion, Randy Drunken was from Shea Heights. So was the rest of his....charming, family. Let us just say the Heights has a certain...reputation).

Anyway, yes, a recap. After Randy Druken (oh let's just call it as it is) is released from prison he decides to hire the Doyles to figure out who really killed Brenda by stabbing her to death. He's pretty sure its his brother (let's call him Paul, just cause) and offers Jake $100,000 to solve the crime. He's flush, after all, with a $4 million settlement. And even after the house, the hookers (clearly he did not find those girls down by the courthouse) and buying Walter a dozen beer, he still has money to burn. Jake's gung ho for the case, what with him thinking he might be a father after finding a pregnancy test at Nikki's. Malachy would just as soon throttle Randy. Hmmmm...

Back at the homestead, Tinny is still being a brat, having moved out of the house and in with her boyfriend Dwayne, in an obvious attention grabbing move. Who knew 16 year olds were so high maintenance? Rose would like to strangle her, but tries to deal with the situation in a manner pretty much doomed to awkward failure. Not so much with Cst. Bennett this week, other than an unsubtle remark to to Jake if he'd really like to get a look at "her files". Jake is with Nikki at the time, trying to awkwardly look for information on her possible pregnancy and completely muffs it.

Meanwhile, we also have a shoot out at the scrapyard between the two Drukens featuring more gunfire than an RCMP stand off at a Canadian Tire parking lot. Oh, and also a Druken sister who is a stripper that takes care of the senile mother. Des gets to follow her, until he runs out of money and they kick him out.

Oh, and I know I said I had a man crush on Sean Panting in my post yesterday about music, but I really didn't need to see him appear topless and being oiled in this episode. When I said I wanted to see more of Sean in the show, this isn't quite what I had in mind.

It was a fine enough episode. As I said, a little too "ripped from the headlines" for my liking and I managed to figure out the murderer pretty quick. The guest acting, mercifully, was pretty good this time. And the father/son stuff is sliding right into place, just as I hoped it would. It's also nice to get some background on why Malachy was so obsessed with the case the first time around, even though he didn't work on it. We're four episodes in now; it's all right to starting getting some background information on who these characters were before we met them.

What's not working? The women on the show, oddly enough. Rose was fine as always and got to deliver the line of the night - "Are you ever going to look at my computer or use the word 'GILF' in my house again?" while holding a knife to Des throat. Rose is the smartest person on the show, and the scariest. I just wish they'd give her a bit more to do. Cst. Bennett popped up long enough to give Jake information and flirt with him a bit, but not much more. Time to do some more character development with her as well.

Tinny veered over that line from sort of annoying into really annoying. Time to explain this better or give her less to do, because what they have going right now isn't working. And neither is the stuff with Jake and Nikki. Their scenes are inevitably the weakest part of the show. The whole "are they married or getting divorced?" is getting deeply old and we're only four episodes in. Thank god the pregnancy was a red herring, as I kind of figured it would be.

It was a fine enough episode and hell, I was glad to see the cast of CODCO didn't make an appearance again this week (one online wag said all that was missing last week was zombie Tommy Sexton). However, each episode was better than the one before. This one kind of feels like it was in neutral. A decent enough stand alone, but doesn't really feel like it advanced anything very much.

On the upside, next week has Gordon Pinsent. And dudes, if you can't put together a fun episode with Gordan Pinsent, pack it in now. Seriously.

Last Five
1. Presentation check - Sean Panting
2. A villa in Portugal - The Pursuit of Happiness
3. Viva la Vida - Coldplay
4. When the deal goes down - Bob Dylan
5. Frankfurt I'm sorry (live) - Spirit of the West*


Anonymous said...

Don't be so critical of the similarities to the Randy Druken case. Every story line for every t.v. show gets it basis somewhere!! I thoroughly enjoyed the show. I tuned in the first week to see the scenery and keep coming back for the story lines. Congratulations to Alan Hawco and the cast and crew. Keep up the good work. In my opinion - definitely deserving of an award.

Ron said...

There is something about Sean that does make you want to pinch his cheeks (and if you want to interpret that as a double entrendre go ahead but it wasn't meant that way). Sadly though only a small percentage of guys will ever be able to advertise underwear. The rest of us have to settle for being the "before" picture in weight loss ads. Kudos to Sean for being secure enough and gutsy enough to flash his at the viewing public. "Honey quick turn off the TV - I just caught a glipse of reality and need to find my sedatives".

towniebastard said...

I think I'm going to keep being nitpicky and critical of the show, because I like it, think it has a lot of potential and want it to succeed. One of the ways to do that is to find the faults, point them out and hope someone is reading and makes the necessary adjustment.

For instance, true or false, the show would be better off right now without Nikki and Tinny in it?

Anonymous said...

Again - every show has characters that are not at the center of a story line every single week. Give it a chance. It's only been on 4 weeks, for Pete's sake!! Nikki and Tinny could have some very big episodes in their future. Nikki, especially. And if you want to see the show succeed, may I suggest that instead of being so critical and sounding like you don't like the show so much, be more positive and give more CONSTRUCTIVE criticism.

Adam Snider said...

Nikki can/should be a more important character than she is, but I don't think she's being written very well, at this point. She seems, in many ways, more like a stereotype of the "crazy ex-wife" than a well-rounded, fully human character.

Tinny, though, I could do without. At this point, her presence feels completely pointless. Although, more Tinny seems to equal more Rose, and I agree with you that the Rose character doesn't get enough screen time (which is understandable, I suppose, since she doesn't go out and work the field portion of the cases). Hopefully, that will change in the coming episodes.

towniebastard said...

My problems with Nikki, Tinny and even the constable, is not with the acting, not anymore. I think it's the fault of the writers, who don't seem to have a good enough grasp of who these characters are supposed to be. As a result, they tend to be a bit all over the place and a touch erratic.

Tinny is the bratty teenager for no reason.
Nikki is the erratic, marginally pyscho ex-wife. Loving one minute, ready to kill Doyle the next
The constable flirts with Jake one minute, wants him gone the next and provides info to him, regardless of how she feels, to help move the plot along.

I'm just saying, I would hope for a bit more for these characters. And yes, I know it's only episode 4. And yes, they still have a chance to grow and develop into something more well rounded and interesting. But on network TV, these flaws are serious. They've got to fix them up or do something before it becomes a bigger problem. Because if they're still this way by episode 9, well, then they have a big problem.

SRD said...

what i find bizarre - never having seen an episode - is that all you blokes keep complaining about the female characters/actors. is there a single female character you haven't whinged about? okay, so it's a cop show, and those are rarely known for strong/developed female characters (I miss barney miller!!)but although PI shows sometimes better. either way, i find the dynamic slightly wierd

Ruth said...

I'm enjoying your R of D reviews. Some of the many purposes of a review is to evaluate, criticize, promote, etc. To solely point out the positives would greatly weaken your review, and it would be boring to read.

It is possible to support a show while pointing out its flaws or weaknesses, which is what I think you've been doing.

I've restated much of what you've already said, but that's my long-winded way of saying that I agree with you!

towniebastard said...

Sara, a good cop/mystery show on TV right now is Castle. While Doyle is going for the Rockford Files vibe, Castle is doing more of a Moonlighting thing (although with considerably less zany). But I think Det. Kate Beckett can be considered a fairly strong, well written female character.

Plus, the show is a breezy bit of fun in one hour. Doyle could serious learn from it. Not just in how to write strong female characters, but also in how to better utilize your supporting cast.

Ruth said...

uggh..I should really edit better before I submit. Oh well.

Anyway, any predictions for other well known, Newfoundland headlines that Jake might encounter in the future?

towniebastard said...

Oh, just off the top of my head:

1. A candidate in an election (played by Cathy Jones) hires the Doyles to see if her opponent in the upcoming provincial election has been taking money from a constituency fund he isn't supposed to.

2. A heritage group hires the Doyles to see if the loud, obnoxious mayor is taking money from developers. In turn, the mayor hires the Doyles to find his missing dog.

3. Surely god there will be one on alter boys and the Catholic church at some point. Andy Jones will play the priest

4. A group of sealers hire the Doyles to get dirt on an anti-sealing activist who has been causing problems for them in town.

5. A prominent open line host (played by Rick Mercer) has his life threatened and hires the Doyles to find out who did it.

How's that for about two minutes of thinking?

Winston Smith said...

Two quick questions. Was that Hawco's older brother, Greg, in the bar scene? If so, it was a nice touch.

Also, what was up with the over-the-top gun (silver Glock-style, with a pistol-sight, of all things) used by the Druken-esque character? The actor did a good job in the part, and it was unfair to have him do the shoot-up scene with such a stupid prop. I guess the writers were going for comic relief (though they gave his brother a .38), but the actor played it straight. For a PI show, it's a bit surprising that the writers don't seem to know what to do with guns.

I liked the episode. CODCO-free is definitely the way to go!

Adam Snider said...

My $0.02 regarding the gun: I think it was supposed to have something to do with the character having more money than he knew what to do with.

Either that, or it was just shoddy writing.

Alan W. Davidson said...

He, he, he...I loved your five predictions for upcoming episodes.

And I would agree totally with Ruth: you provide a well-rounded review of the show with the pros and cons balanced equally.

I would also like to see more depth to Nikki (aside from hinting at her MD and wanting to regularly jump his bones). Agreement on Rose and Tinny. More of the former and less of the latter.

Winston Smith said...

I think you're right, Adam, in which case a Tony Montana gun, or an AK-47 at the very least, would have worked better. It will be interesting to see when and how the writers finally depict Jake handling a gun. And, by the way, if Hawco can go shirtless, then it's only fair for Panting, too.

Andrew said...

The complete lack of recoil from the handgun was a bit off putting. However, I must have been adsorbed in the show, as I didn't figure out the bad guy until the end. Hrm.

Ruth said...

The issue with the guns aside, one of my favourite lines of the night came from that scene:

"deadly, two crazies with guns" (can't remember the exact line but it was something like that)

Seemingly simple, but it was well executed and made me laugh out loud. Might not say much for my sense of humour. :)

Chris said...

Your assessment that the episode was based on the infamous Druken clan is spot on.

The episode could have been entitled “Natural Born Drukens”.

As for upcoming plot lines, how about ones where:

1. Local politicians are seen driving around town in expensive cars, living in posh houses and are seen accepting brown bags in the Confederation Building parking lot. The Liberal opposition hires the Doyles to investigate.

2. The Doyles are hired to investigate where money, funnelled into the $100 million harbour clean up infrastructure project, goes missing causing cost over runs to the tune of $30 to $40 million.

3. The Doyles are hired to find out what happened to our disappearing water.

4. A local politician who opposes development of high rise buildings in the downtown is found murdered.

5. And there eventually has to be a kidnapping episode. The Doyles are hired and of course, the RNC are to be kept in the dark.

Anonymous said...

Sorry but the following assertion is false:
"Randy Drunken was from Shea Heights. So was the rest of his....charming, family."

Anonymous said...