REVIEW: Republic of Doyle - "Head Over Heels"


Now this feels familiar. Last night’s episode of Republic of Doyle had all the trappings of Doyle episodes we know and love. Let’s see: Jake getting naked, Des getting injured and Tinny getting into trouble. And don’t forget Malachy and Rose bickering and Leslie complaining. It would seem that the characters are all back to their old tricks.

Other than those series tropes, the episode “Head Over Heels” still managed to be a fairly entertaining hour of TV. Read on for the full review, including my ranking out of four stars!

The episode kicks off with Des being sent to the hospital after he’s mowed down by a mysterious driver. Jake and Malachy resolve to track down who’s responsible, and in the process uncover a counterfeiting ring whose members aren’t all that bright. Meanwhile, Rose’s ex-husband Martin Poole pops up again, leading to another Malachy-Rose-Martin side narrative.

As with most episodes of Republic of Doyle, the plot here is fairly thin, giving the characters a lot of room to bounce off each other. The mystery of who’s responsible for the counterfeit bills is just connective tissue for the show’s best material: the funny back-and-forth scenes between series regulars.

The problem with the counterfeiting story was that the criminals switched sides way too easily. I understand the concept of “No honour among thieves”, but these people betrayed each other so often that it bordered on the ridiculous. I wouldn’t be surprised if they themselves lost track of which side they were on.

As a result, I wasn’t all that excited by the gang of criminals who appeared here - even the show’s guest star, Shannon Tweed. Tweed, as some may know, is a former Playmate and wife of Gene Simmons, as well as being from St. John’s. To be honest, it was more fun watching Nicholas Campbell play off Tweed in his scenes as Martin Poole. In a series that loves its guest stars, Tweed was the forgettable one this week.

Sergeant Leslie Bennett (Krystin Pellerin) has been a thorn in my side since last season, and she’s not doing the viewers any favours this week. I was disappointed by what the writers did with her character at the end of the premiere, in that they have her ask Jake if he’s going to be her partner, and when he declines, she pretends like he’s the scum of the Earth.

Most of us can see through her blustering about Jake being a terrible person, because we know she’ll be all over him in an episode or so. It’s too bad that Leslie is being kept in this box as an authority figure/antagonist. After more than two seasons, it’s about time the writers let Leslie and Jake start an actual relationship. Otherwise, the façade she puts up each time she sees him just becomes less and less credible, and more painful to watch.

Some of you might be thinking that I’m being overly critical of a series that’s only supposed to be a bit of fun. Fair enough, but unless Republic of Doyle aspires to be some sort of stream-of-consciousness comedy show, it’s worth evaluating how well Doyle’s stories work, and whether there’s any substance behind the local charm and beautiful scenery.

I did like the little love triangle that developed around Des (Mark O’Brien) this week. As I said in my review of the premiere, Des is my favourite character on the show, and I never get tired of his quirky behaviour or awkward conversations with women. I’m far more interested in what happens between Des, Tinny and Chandra over the next few episodes than I am with Jake’s love life.

As for the camera work, it’s as pretty as ever. I guarantee you that some colour-correction was done on one of the aerial shots of Signal Hill – I’ve never seen it that green before in my life. In terms of locations, though, I wonder why the show hasn’t visited the provincial legislature yet. What I wouldn’t give to see Danny Williams cast in a recurring role as the eccentric premier of Newfoundland and Labrador.

As much as I enjoyed “Head Over Heels”, it still felt a bit rushed, and more of an excuse for character work than a proper story. For those reasons, along with the continued misuse of the Leslie Bennett character, “Head Over Heels” gets two and a half stars out of four.

What did you think of this episode of Republic of Doyle? Did you like its return to Doyle form? How did you feel about the episode’s guest stars? Are you as frustrated as I am with what’s being done with the Leslie Bennett character? Let me know in the comments section down below.

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