Double Decker! Doug & Kirill
by Christopher Farris,
How would you rate episode 7 of
Double Decker! Doug & Kirill ?
So let's get this out of the way first: the gender-reveal of Kirill's sibling (still referred to in this episode as his ‘sister’) has not been clarified yet. They're referred to with the term ‘josou’, which would typically simply translate to ‘cross-dressing’, and the characters generally regard them as a guy now, with Kirill not treating the situation as a big deal one way or the other. All the other confounding issues I mentioned from the end of the previous episode carry over, but it seems that trying to figure out if there's a deeper reason to Milla/Valery's dual names would be futile. At this point, I'm not certain what they're doing with this character, and the show comes across as uncertain too. (It does build up to an extremely poor-taste punch-line of Deana deciding to hide Valery's secret from Derick because she thinks it will be funny to ‘trick’ him.)
So if there is any interesting backstory waiting to be explored in all that, perhaps it's for the best that Double Decker happily sweeps the situation under the rug in the first few minutes to go into a completely different storyline. Just as the previous episode finally gave us some proper information on Kirill's past, this one is a serious look at Doug's history. And ‘serious’ is definitely the operative word. Coming off the ill-handled jokes about Valery and going straight into this surprisingly gritty detective revenge story could almost give the audience whiplash. What's here does work, but it's another case of Double Decker adhering so closely to its genre beats that it almost obfuscates the entertaining parts of the execution.
Most of the setup this week will be familiar. An antagonistic figure from Doug's past is back in town, prompting him to track them down to exact revenge while Kirill orbits him hoping to learn the full story and talk Doug out of it. In this case, it all rounds back to Doug's earlier ‘partner’, one other than Derick, who was mentioned as having been killed. The mystery of how Pat Morino died and what that has to do with Doug now is teased until the end. It seems to mainly be in service of driving up the ‘mystery’ element rather than making for a truly shocking reveal; it's similar to the way this ‘Good-Looking Joe’ villain doesn't have his titular face revealed until the final confrontation. The driving question of what Joe's return means for Doug will have answers that mean more for the characters than the audience.
The episode seems to have a knowing sense of the obvious beats it's following even as it dutifully does so. I liked Doug's line about not being so old-fashioned that he'd chase Joe down for noir-esque revenge, which also fit into the show's previous strong points about detectives not getting too emotionally invested in their cases. But that element is undercut by the fact that Doug is playing out a stock revenge plot. By the time he was retrieving a symbolic revenge revolver from a secret compartment on Pat's grave I was thinking that this really could be a parody based on such blatant execution.
The way many details link together in-universe helps this episode feel like more beyond its relatively simple spelled-out story beats. The plot with Zabel and Bamboo Man that was set up a couple episodes ago has elements back in play here, intersecting with Joe and the aforementioned Pat. So it's neat that these bits work with each other, because it helps the world of this show feel more interconnected. Even as it's shoving details like Kirill's situation from last episode aside, that at least gives a sense of multiple things happening at once in this setting.
But it might feel like too much being tied together by the end. Upon first pass, finding out the true tragedy of Pat and how her death relates to Doug is emotionally solid, tying into the overall themes of classism that Double Decker has called attention to so far, and you can see how rage against the idea that Pat's life didn't matter would work as a motivating embodiment of that concept. But then the episode pushes things too far, having Travis explain that virtually all of Doug's mannerisms and motivations are tied up in this singular origin story of one girl getting killed. It feels like it's trying too hard to cleverly explain everything, and it just comes off as contrived storytelling.
At least the wrap-up isn't all bad by the end. Doug's gambit against Joe's gang plays out cleverly, and the idea of demonstrating the ‘morality’ of the detectives in Seven-O has some nice nuance, that Doug going to all this trouble just to get revenge for a humble shoe-shine girl is a ‘moral’ thing to do. I also like the somewhat heartwarming punchline it finishes on, where Doug was willing to exact lethal revenge on Joe but the old gun misfired, interpreted by Kirill as Pat's spirit not wishing to go that far. It all fits together in a way that's fun to watch and keeps your mind on the story's main themes, but then it unravels if you think just a little harder about these narrative choices. Double Decker had a decently interesting idea to start with, but then felt like it wasn't really sure what to do from there.
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