Double Decker! Doug & Kirill
by Christopher Farris,
How would you rate episode 10 of
Double Decker! Doug & Kirill ?
Double Decker still has time to find ways to weave episodic detective stories into its runtime, even as the overarching plot still builds up to the oncoming finale. Doug's recovering in the hospital after his rescue, giving Kirill and the others a chance to run across some new Anthem-related antics there. There's plenty going on in this episode from the plot to the social themes this show likes to play with.
The plot concerning the hospital mystery has some appreciable layers to its setup. The kid Kirill meets, Gus, provides a nice personal connection to tether the cast to the situation emotionally. At first pass, I wasn't crazy about Gus's various character foibles, even if I could guess that his habit of propositioning women had some deeper impetus. Indeed, the reveal of what he's trying to do for the benefit of his dying dad turned out pretty sweet. But the humor mined from it is too simple, rooted in the show's recurring ‘Kirill looks like a woman’ gag that it's well worn-out by this point.
But the other parts of the drug-dealing doctor storyline work well as that setup gets expanded. As a drug, it would make sense that medical professionals of a less scrupulous nature might be experimenting with Anthem on a medicinal level. The doctor behind the scheme, the hopped-up patient that Doug and Kirill encounter, and Gus's dad provide some varied perspectives on using the drug in this way, and figuring out how they all fit together provides the mystery hooks needed to keep the audience invested. There aren't any huge shocks in the revelations that ensue, but the emotional pathos still lands, and it's neat that the plot point concerning the AMS bullets from last episode rounds back into the story as well.
I was at least pleased to see Double Decker touch on the possibility of the Anthem drug's legitimate medicinal possibilities. To its credit, the show has made a clear effort to avoid some of the black and white framing of its cop-show brethren; Doug's acknowledgement of classism and poverty driving crime is the clearest example of that. But with any series where the villains are powered by some kind of evil superdrug, there's a danger of equating drug use with criminality entirely, sympathetic or not. This week, Double Decker sees both Doug and Kirill bring up the more nuanced reality. “It's men that make a drug a poison or a cure,” as Doug says. However, I'm not sure the episode's final say on the subject landed for me. It makes the point that Anthem and its side effects are still too dangerous to be indulged, and the doctor's shady way of conducting his experiments ends up causing more harm than good. But the possibility is still there, though unexplored, with our heroes decrying Anthem because it would make the user a ‘monster’. Some acknowledgment by the end that research into Anthem as legit medicine could be worth pursuing would have been nice.
The character depths that get mined in this episode come out cleaner and provide some strong entertainment too. The best point that comes up is the revelation that Kirill is actually an educated expert on genetics, even having written an influential paper on the subject while in college. Kirill's always come across as ditzy, but I always felt he was smarter than he lets on, so this reveal totally works for me as an expansion on his character. Besides, the sequences that follow between him and the others are delightful as the rest of Seven-O tries to reconcile the dissonance of the Kirill they know with the knowledge he demonstrates. It's the stronger side of Double Decker's humor in action.
Other characterization lands on the more serious side, letting Kirill bond with Gus over their fixation on their family. I'm still unsure what the series is doing with Valery, but keeping the character in the picture as we head for the finish line is wise, and it also keeps Kirill more endearing. The ultimate point this episode makes about treasuring time with our loved ones is simple but effective, reflecting well on the main cast and the guest stars. So overall, this was a satisfying episode of Double Decker. My only major issue is that it couldn't follow through on its more nuanced points about drug use.
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