Double Decker! Doug & Kirill
by Christopher Farris,
How would you rate episode 12 of
Double Decker! Doug & Kirill ?
Despite my feelings on Double Decker's recent ridiculous narrative choices, I've got to at least give the show credit for just committing to them. The plot elements that spun out of Kirill's spaceborne heritage (he's not technically an alien, as I hastily assumed last week), as well as the sub-stories with the military and issues internal to Esperanza keep right on going in ways that do maintain the show's internal logic. As the show crests its final hour, you basically have to accept that this is the plot now or just write it all off. For better or worse, Double Decker manages to craft an eminently watchable story out of its many bizarre twists in this penultimate episode.
If that feels like nothing but back-handed compliments, that's because even committing to its out-there choices doesn't mean Double Decker can do so perfectly. A large part of the tension of Kirill joining the military and Seven-O being temporarily suspended comes from waiting for the other shoe to drop. We already know Brian Cooper is Bamboo Man, so it's just a matter of waiting for him to show his hand and explain why he wants Kirill so badly. The inevitable revelation turns out to be completely on-brand for this show; Anthem being an experimental sun-station-society super-soldier serum that Kirill carries antibodies for does manage to fold multiple plots back into a singular simple explanation. Military weaponization would also be the next step in the show's exploration of narcotic themes after potential medicinal use, but I feel like each of these steps gets further from the social issues of classism that the story was trying to tie drug use into from the beginning. There's potential to frame the Nikai space-people as a ruling class above the entire Earth, but that element hasn't been brought up in any meaningful thematic way yet.
Bamboo Man spilling the beans on all this to Kirill at least fits with his plan here at the end and his confidence in having thrown the cops off his trail, but these plot twists and revelations just end up falling into the Seven-O crew's lap in parallel with Kirill and the audience hearing about it from Brian/Bamboo. There's one clever callback when Apple gets footage of the killer clown from outer space via Zabel's view-jack installed in the previous episode, but after that it's all too-convenient infodumps from a surprisingly surviving Zabel or a conveniently appearing Valery. Since we're already getting this information dispensed well enough from the Bamboo/Kirill part of the story, this portion feels like a shortcut to get the other Detectives up to speed and position them for the big blow-out finale.
The sloppiness of that aspect is too bad, since some of the more conceptual elements of the setup do land despite all the rushed narrative stumbles. Seven-O being suspended in the wake of the Esperanza massacre works on the dual ideas of a specialized organization questioning its purpose after their primary target has been wiped out, and the consequence that they'd be suspected of the attack in the wake of the losses they suffered last episode. They also reach for a poignancy I felt was missed last week with Yuri's death, seemingly confirming that her core is beyond repair and giving Max some breathing room to actually grieve and receive comfort from Deanna in her own odd way.
The series does seem to be putting together a showstopper set piece for the ending next episode. Elements like Derick's bus-bar being used as a distraction or the multi-layered tease of Doug's drug-based plan keep viewers guessing even as these plots get blown up by Bamboo Man, making it fun to watch even as you grapple with the fact that the story now revolves around a space Illuminati extracting special antibodies from a detective in the name of producing super soldiers. After all that came out in the last episode, Double Decker simply embraces it going forward, and this episode succeeded at being the best version of what the series now has to work with. I gotta hand it to the staff for an unflinching refusal to backpedal or compromise at this point.
Double Decker! Doug & Kirill is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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