REVIEW: Republic of Doyle - "Two Jakes and a Baby"
It looks like Republic of Doyle is on a roll. This week’s episode “Two Jakes and a Baby” was the strongest installment yet, delivering a kidnapping story that was both plausible and entertaining. It also included some noticeable character work, a rare feat for a series that likes to keep its characters in one place, for fear of disrupting its successful formula.
“Two Jakes and a Baby” really worked for me because it tried to break out of the Republic of Doyle mould. Too often, Doyle “erases” the progress it makes with its characters. While they still fall prey to this habit at the end of this entry, the episode should be a model for the rest of the season.
We check in with Jake three weeks into his latest stay at Her Majesty’s Penitentiary. A local deadbeat has stolen Jake’s identity and turns up dead at the scene of a kidnapping. Sergeant Bennett (Kristin Pellerin) and Staff Sergeant Hood (Steve O’Connell) recruit Jake and another inmate (William MacDonald) to help track down the suspect, in exchange for early release.
Things go snaky when Logan the inmate reveals that he’s mixed up in the plans of the kidnapper. Then a mysterious woman turns up at the Doyle residence claiming to be the mother of Jake’s daughter. Jake has to get on top of all these developments while still watching out for Leslie, whose job depends on placating her new superior officer, Staff Sergeant Hood.
What sold me on the episode was the opening scene, which started out like a sequence from one of Jake’s dreams. Suddenly, we learn it’s Leslie who’s dreaming, the first time we’ve been inside her head on the show. It was refreshing to see Doyle do something with Leslie that didn’t involve her yelling at Jake for something trivial.
From there, like in the Valentine’s episode, story bits and jokes simply connected. The episode devoted a good bit of time to the “Jake as a father” side-story, but it didn’t distract from the main case. I actually became interested in the secondary characters – a fairly novel experience with Doyle. And the show finally took a step back from the Des-Tinny-Chandra triangle to let the other stories breathe.
I’ve got to say, I didn’t expect that bit between Walter and Kathleen. While I won’t ruin the scene, as soon as Walter spent an extra 30 seconds in that room, I could tell where the writers were going with it. It made sense, given what we know about the two of them. Now I’m waiting for when Jake inevitably finds out, which should make for some very funny material.
What helped the episode pull together was how the side-story about the baby informed the main case. Logan the convict has his own problems with his daughter, and when he asks Jake, “What kind of father am I?”, it felt like the first time a side-story on Doyle had shared a theme with the main tale. With that kind of synergy, I felt far more immersed in the episode.
The only part I didn’t like about “Two Jakes and a Baby” was the structure of the ending. The climax happened early, leaving the other strands of the story enough time to unravel slightly before the episode ended. There was about 10 minutes at the end where we revisit the convict character and then work through the paternity of the baby, and it felt like we were dragging our heels.
Even though Doyle did come up with a way to “explain away” the baby, it was exciting to think that the show was going to let Jake be the father. The scene where he finds the baby in the office hooked me in. Unlike what the show has done with other character “developments”, it didn’t introduce the possibility and then promptly rip the rug out from under our feet.
For its solid storytelling and improved character work, “Two Jakes and a Baby” gets three stars out of four.
What did you think of Episode 8 of Republic of Doyle Season 3? Anything you’re excited about for next episode? Does it feel like the season is going somewhere all of a sudden? Would you like to see the series get renewed for a fourth season? Join the conversation in the comments section. If you’re new to my Doyle reviews, browse through these links to catch up: