REVIEW: Republic of Doyle - "The Dating Game"
Now we’re getting somewhere. After a string of mediocre installments, Wednesday’s Republic of Doyle was a return to the fluffy action/comedy we remember. Jokes worked, the story flowed, and we made some real progress with the characters.
I don’t know if the writers have been holding out on us, or if “The Dating Game” simply struck a lucky balance between humour and story. Whatever the reason, I hope to see more episodes like this in the future. Read on for the full review of “The Dating Game”, including my ranking out of four stars!
Right off the top, the episode hits us with a dose of instant charm. Jake’s decided all of a sudden to chase after Sergeant Bennett full-time, and he literally tails her down Freshwater Road, trying to seduce her the whole way. Don’t ask me why this started to happen now, but the fact that the writers are doing something with these two was enough to win me over.
Back to the plot: Jake and Leslie witness an armoured car robbery in progress and throw themselves into the back of the vehicle. They’re trapped with the thieves, and now it’s up to Des and Malachy to find them. Meanwhile, Rose and Tinny decide to get to the bottom of Kathleen’s sudden appearance in "Rusted Steele".
The whole “trapped in an armoured car” idea was fairly inventive, and the action sequence that set it all up was pretty exciting. I kind of wanted that part of the story to last longer than it did, to get some good banter working between the leads. The episode made up for it, however, by tacking on a couple of extra escape attempts by Jake, so that kept the story moving. (Side note: Someone has to teach the Doyle police extras how to hold their guns. They look frightened to death of their own props.)
I’ll admit, I’ve been waiting for a solid episode of Doyle for long enough that I’m probably being a bit forgiving with my critiques here. Nevertheless, the scenes between Jake and Leslie were pretty funny, especially once Leslie took her blouse off (if you haven’t seen it yet, I’m sure I piqued your curiousity). The writers are still hesitant to move Jake and Leslie’s relationship beyond stolen kisses and charged eye contact, but at least we got a break from Leslie’s pretend loathing of Jake from episodes 2-5.
The Des love triangle took a few steps forward this week, which I was glad to see. As always, it’s great to see Des dithering about the two ladies in his life. I think what I like most about this storyline is how it makes Tinny stew a little bit – she’s been overly chill for two whole seasons, and it’s good to see her struggle with something.
Another redeeming feature of “The Dating Game” was the resolution of Kathleen Doyle’s backstory. It really should have been dealt with either when she was introduced or in the following episode, so to see it play out now was a relief. Maybe her character can start participating in some of the “real” stories from now on.
We got another crop of dumb villains this episode, though they at least had the sense to do some savvy bargaining in the third act. Because of the softer relationship theme of the episode, it made sense to have them be more sentimental than most of the crooks that cross paths with the Doyles. The only line that got to me was “she took everything…including my heart!”. All right, I get it - Valentine’s was the day before, move along…
The question is, can Doyle keep the momentum it established in this episode going next week? It would be a shame if “The Dating Game” was the one bright spot in an otherwise dull season. As it is, “The Dating Game” gets three stars out of four.
What did you think of Episode Six of Republic of Doyle Season Three? Like/Dislike? Where do you think the show’s relationships are going? How do you feel about the season as a whole so far? Join the conversation in the comments section. If you’re behind on my Republic of Doyle reviews, you can catch up by browsing through these links: