Double Decker! Doug & Kirill
by Christopher Farris,
How would you rate episode 16 of
Double Decker! Doug & Kirill ?
The last of these ‘Extra’ episodes of Double Decker actually takes place after the end of the series, rather than being an interstitial like the others. Don't expect any sort of stakes-raising sequelizing though, since it's largely as inconsequential as all the others. It also seems designed for a certain degree of fanservice, with the whole SEVEN-0 crew, plus Derick and Valery, road-tripping down to a hot spring. The episode tries to camouflage its light ambitions by foreshadowing an apparent murder-mystery that's going to occur, with an ominous timer straight out of 24 counting up to it. But even then, it quickly becomes clear that nothing so serious is actually going to happen—we're just here for a good time once again.
That pleasant, sentimental tone of just hanging out with these characters recalls the first extra episode, though this one is more eventful. That's even enforced by Kay, whose sweet insistence on properly spending time on activities and bonding with everyone make her an endearing MVP for this episode. Overall, there seems to be kind of a meta element to this aspect, letting us get one last batch of good times with these characters, complete with a photo montage over the credits. Even all the fanservice comes off relatively good-natured, with many shots of the characters in bath towels and generally being equal-opportunity, even if Travis is too uncultured to appreciate any of the man-service that gets trotted out. Travis's antics in this episode are generally the least entertaining part of it, which is saying a lot given how hard this one goes back to the Milla/Valery well.
This episode's bath-house premise seems primed to milk that particular avenue for all it's worth, but in practice, it's not as uncomfortable as it could have been. The possibility of Derick finally ‘discovering’ Valery's gender is teased out all episode, and it's pretty clear from the start that it factors into the ‘murder’ somehow. But it's surprisingly low-key; Kirill and Valery even frankly discuss the latter's cross-dressing, wherein he reveals that though it started out as a necessity, he does actually enjoy it too. It's another one of those endearing moments this episode does quite well, along with other little asides between Max and Yuri or Kay and Deana.
So much of the runtime is spent on the characters just screwing around that when the ‘murder’ does actually occur, the subsequent mystery-solving feels more like a momentary detour from everything else than an actual plot kicking in. The pacing in general is the biggest issue with this episode. All the disconnected momentary events make everything seem so much longer. The murder-mystery does end up forming the most entertaining chunk, but then it wraps and the story just keeps going, leaving me wondering when the episode would ever end. The ending sketch was a random panty-thief-catching detour that really didn't add anything worthwhile.
But back to the murder-mystery: the actual mechanics of Derick getting dropped end up being more clever than I expected, as well as playing far less into antics around Valery's gender reveal than I feared. The highlight of the whole thing ends up being Derick's reaction; Doug just blurts out the reveal during the requisite cliffside scene, and Derick effectively shrugs it off. After a season and change of build-up around this otherwise mean-spirited ‘joke’, I almost appreciate that the final punch-line is Derick basically going “oh my bad, no big deal”. It certainly doesn't redeem everything about that plotline, but it does make it ultimately come off better.
As with all of these extra episodes, your enjoyment will largely hinge on how endeared you were to the cast of Double Decker. The disparate sketch-comedy that makes up this adventure could make it feel like a chore to get through if you aren't already here for these characters' antics, and anything involving the characters who are less entertaining (like Travis) just drags even more. But what's here for established fans is fine to somewhat rewarding depending on the vignette. It's just ironic that this episode has such a ‘thanks for the memories’ vibe when it still comes off feeling mostly disposable, much like Double Decker! Doug & Kirill itself.
Double Decker! Doug & Kirill is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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