Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Review - Republic of Doyle, Season 2, ep 13

So here we are at the end of the another season. This normally means bad things for the Doyle family. Last year we had heart attacks, a frame up for a murder and Ron Hynes closing out the season. So what's going to happen this time?

Well, Tinny and Des get kidnapped, an old partner of Jake's comes back looking to settle a score and about the only person safe for next season appears to be Jake. Everyone else is up in the air. In other words, another eight months or so of pure torture for fans of the show. Anyway, let's get started.

So it seems back in the day, when Jake was with the RNC he had a partner - Crocker - who was a wee bit of a scumbag. And Jake helped to bring him down. The only thing, of course, is that he got away before they could arrest him. Now, 10 years later he's decided it's time to come back and take care of Jake. And the best way to do this is to kidnap Tinny and Des and force Jake to rob several million dollars for him.

It's an intense episode, which is fortunate because if you pause and stop for a minute and actually start to think about it, you realize it's also a pretty stupid one. I'm tempted to use the phrase "intensely stupid", which is accurate, just not in the way you would normally think.

This has always been one of little annoyances with the show - good stories, but you sometimes get really stupid plot points. Jake's ex-partner kidnapping Tinny and getting Jake involved in a heist he didn't want to save her life is a good idea. It's just the execution that was weird. The robbery was weird, Jake turning on Crocker and getting him thrown in jail feels just like an excuse to get the police involved in the plot and to stage a dramatic jail break later.

Once Rose had it narrowed down to about seven places, that should have been it. No need for the big jail break. Once they knew it was an abandoned warehouse in St. John's they could have gone to the police, who arrest Crocker, organize a big search of the city and that's it. The only way to throw a wrench into that is if Crocker alluded to having a partner watching Tinny and Des. They can't go looking then because a partner at least puts the fear in them for trying something like that. But he never does, which is again, stupid. I know Crocker isn't supposed to be a criminal mastermind, but still...

As I said, intense, but not all that smart. This was an episode that counted on people who are supposed to be smart being very stupid. When the cop at the end compliments Jake for being clever, I burst out laughing.

However, I will give props to a few things. First, Paul Gross looked like he was having a blast being a bad cop. So here's hoping they can find an excuse to bring him back sometime soon. Bring him back instead of that idiot author character.

Secondly, for a show settled into a nice, comfortable routine they certainly blew it up really good in the last 10 minutes. Jake possibly rejoining the police, Leslie fired, Tinny off to Europe and Mal and Rose running off into retirement. Now, the reset button can be hit quick enough, but it's an interesting cliff-hanger to end the season.

A couple of other points.
1. The actual mayor of St. John's, Doc O'Keefe, was in the scene at the Duke. So was John Crosbie. It occurs to me that Andy Jones hasn't appeared in the show yet. If he does, clearly he needs to be the premier. It would be a lovely in-joke, as he was the premier during the movie Secret Nation.
2. Trimmed Navel Beef (the name of the salt meat in the warehouse) was a local band that was quite popular about 10 years ago. Your in-joke for the week.
3. There was clearly a bit of money blown in this episode, what with the big car smash-up on Water Street, plus a Pogues song ("Dirty Old Town") to close out the season and a Bruce Springsteen song ("Mrs. McGrath" off the excellent Seeger Sessions recordings) for the dramatic jail break. I'm always surprised by the music choices on the show. They're mostly excellent, but I always figured they'd use more local music.

I'll do a wrap-up of the season in the next few days.

And now, best quotes:

"Obviously I ended my personal relationship with the mayor when I arrested him." - Leslie
"Dessy’s being a good little housewife." - Tinny
"How is our plucky little PI connected to all of this?" - RNC investigator (blanking on his name)

"I don’t want you to starve, so you can eat my corpse." - Des to Tinny

"I’ve always been one more of a curling fan, myself." - Mal

"Another 50 and I can pretend to be a cop in private." - A hooker out in the Battery to Jake
"I don’t think you should eat 20 year old salt beef." - Tinny to Des

"I love you (pause) You can shoot me later if you want." - Jake to Leslie
"I wanted to kill you for a long time…I just needed something to get me off the couch." - Crocker

"You can shoot me now if you want to."
"Don't tempt me." - Jake and Leslie

"To not getting shot." - Rose

Last Five
1. She will be loved - Maroon 5
2. Burn your life down - Tegan and Sara
3. Bobby Jean (live) - Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
4. Glamourous death - The Pursuit of Happiness
5. U.R.A. fever - The Kills*


Jerry Bannister said...

You're right about the plot holes. The bigger problem is that the writers are veering into Jerry Maguire territory. I don't know how many more scenes of Leslie crying and Allison abandoned the show can support, but the writers are reaching their limit. I'm not sure why the writers revel so much in Jake's awful treatment of women, but for a series that's supposedly in the Rockford Files/Magnum tradition, it's starting to take over the show. And why did Allison and Leslie have to lose their backbones so much as the season progressed?

Next season Jake will either have to do a Jerry Maguire and grow up, or risk becoming an Energizer Bunny whose awful treatment of women just keeps going and going without any point. I don't see the writers allowing Jake to settle down happily with Leslie anytime soon, so the challenge will be to develop the character enough so that he doesn't get trapped in his own romantic Groundhog Day. A scene in which Leslie kicks Jake in the crotch would be better than having to watch her breakdown again in helpless vulnerability. (The problem here is with the writing, not the acting, and I think the actor playing Leslie is doing extremely well with what she's given).

I think that the rest of the show is working really well, right down to the music choices -- so if they can develop Jake's character properly, the writers are set up well for next season.

Adam Snider said...

So Jake's now a cop who is part of a special task force. Newfoundland Five-0?

As for them pretty much blowing up the entire cast at the end of the episode: I'm fine with no more Tinny, no more Rose, and even no more Bennett. But no more Mal? Most of the best moments, comedy-wise, are between Jake and Mal.

Hell, even Dez has started to grow on me lately and, since I'm assuming that he won't really be around much, since Jake is no longer his boss...they really did give them an excuse to fire (or at least greatly limit the screen to of) all of the cast except for Hawkco.

Keith said...

I generally like the show, but yeah, that last episode had me screaming "Are you kidding me?" at the screen at least a few times.

If you look at it as though they were trying to be ironic, it makes for a very funny experience.

Even still, I'm looking forward to the third season. Having been to nearly every location they've filmed, I've really noticed how they bring out the beauty of St. John's really well.

Anonymous said...

This is how Republic of Doyle producers take care of their own