Double Decker! Doug & Kirill
by Christopher Farris,
How would you rate episode 9 of
Double Decker! Doug & Kirill ?
Have I been overly hard on Double Decker the past couple weeks? It kind of feels like it. But for all the show's attempts to tie its themes of classism and detectives getting too emotionally involved in their cases into some deeper character development for the last few episodes, it seemed to be continuously coming up short. So maybe it's for the best that it feels like the show is hitting the reset button this week, going to back to a simple crime-solving episode and giving us a great dose of action alongside it. Double Decker worked so well at the beginning because it seemed like it just wanted to be fun, and that feeling is back this week.
That isn't to say it's completely ignoring the characters it's been endearing to us for nine episodes now. The titular Doug and Kirill are back in the spotlight, as a whole avalanche of plots tumbling into each other sees Doug captured and Kirill having to save him. Kirill even comments on how Doug's taken up his dude-in-distress role, which also gets a punchline payoff by the episode's end. But the real purpose of getting Doug into this situation is to pay off some other points of characterization. Doug's mantra as he's being tortured for information is “I've finally found a way forward”, marking a notable lesson learned from the previous episodes about angsty detectives being too beholden to their pasts. As much as I wasn't crazy about his focal episode tying all his previous issues to one event, seeing how Doug has grown past in this episode was a welcome little touch.
The rest of the payoffs are less emotionally impressive but still strong in the ways Double Decker has shown it can be. Zabel is back, more concretely explaining the mob-boss hierarchy twist from the end of his previous episode. It's interesting to think that we're already headed into the final stretch of this show given its early start, but with that in mind it's good to keep these things rolling. Zabel's whole plan is to try and get Doug to spill the beans on Seven-O's anti-Anthem bullet-mixing mechanism, an element that now seems oddly under-explained given how key it was to the early spectacle of the show. But either way, it's good for keeping us reminded of every thread in this story as it goes on.
Anyway, aside from those ongoing plot and character development tracks, this episode seems dedicated to being as fun a police procedural as possible. It opens by teasing the possibility of using some wacky new gadgets, dashes those hopes by daring to bring realism into our expectations, then immediately picks up again as the narrator tells us the new toys will actually end up getting used. It's emblematic of the silly back-and-forth game this episode plays, starting with a kidnapping plot ripped straight from Final Fight before detouring through a couple twists and shake-ups to arrive at the captured-Doug plotline. Those twists all seem formulated to prolong the episode's action more than surprise us, but they do at least keep the momentum going.
A lot of this episode seems to be built around showing off the whole Seven-O team in action with less character development getting in the way. There's some entertaining big-picture plotting in how everything shakes out in this adventure. Maybe the only shortcoming is the handling of tech and monitoring specialist Apple Bieber. The beginning of the episode makes it seem like we're actually going to focus on his role, maybe even getting some character development along the way. But it's just in service of having the other characters get a couple of jabs in on him, and by the end we really don't learn anything about him. It's not a huge drawback since the character simply remains as moderately uninteresting as he was before, but does feel like they set themselves up for a missed opportunity.
Everything else about this episode is simply Double Decker going back to the fun elements that worked so well for the show starting out. There's lots of suspenseful detective drama and lighthearted action, giving way to absurdly escalating action set pieces until we're up to Doug riding around on a rocket-skating Kirill's shoulders shooting a bunch of dudes. Even as the episode threatens somewhat-serious elements like Zabel forcing drugs on Doug to torture him, minutes later we're cutting to a comical scene where Doug beats up his captors off-camera while Sophie does a terrible job describing it to Kirill. It's weird to think that a spectacle-heavy core-plot episode like this one could be considered a ‘breather’, but after the mishandled attempts at deeper character development over the past couple episodes, this felt like the refresher this show needed.
Double Decker! Doug & Kirill is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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