REVIEW: Republic of Doyle - "Mirror, Mirror"
Whenever I hear that Gordon Pinsent is going to be on Republic of Doyle, I get a little excited. Everyone who knows Pinsent would probably refer to him as a Canadian icon (he even made fun of that idea in this 22 Minutes sketch). Pinsent sauntered into his third appearance on Doyle this week, reprising his role as villainous rumrunner Maurice Becker. In classic Pinsent style, the episode “Mirror, Mirror” was better for it.
Without the Becker character, this would have been a ho-hum Season 3 entry. As a result, the roll Doyle has been on over the past few weeks is intact – for now.
“Mirror, Mirror” demonstrates my theory that Republic of Doyle episodes are always stronger when they start out in media res – in the middle of the action. The episode begins with a little framing narrative: Jake and Becker are in police custody and are being questioned about a mysterious set of events that ended in a shootout. Jake and Becker have very different recollections about the details of the story, and their bickering is driving Leslie Bennett up the wall.
Apparently, Becker is on the run from a cop with the Sûreté du Québec, while also trying to reconnect with his wayward niece (Julia Taylor Ross), who’s been running her uncle’s smuggling ring. Jake, meanwhile, tries to keep Becker on a leash while fending off the Québécois cop’s interest in Leslie and dealing with Walter and Kathleen’s current tryst.
To be honest, I enjoyed this setup. Becker is enjoyable in large part because he’s one the craftiest recurring villains on Doyle. There’s a sense that he really challenges Jake, and it’s refreshing to watch the show when the villain at least knows how to outwit Jake in a way that doesn’t (always) involve blunt force trauma.
The framing narrative was clever, too. To see Jake and Becker tell different sides of the same story was kind of entertaining, especially when Becker’s flashbacks portrayed Jake as even more dull-witted than usual. What I didn’t like was the execution of the flashbacks: Becker’s were presented through sepia-toned photography, and Jake’s were in a sort of heavily desaturated footage. For me, this approach didn’t add anything to the episode. More often than not, I found it distracting because it was so unnecessary.
The little side narrative about Jake coming to terms with Kathleen dating Walter was short and to the point. I didn’t have much stomach for a lengthy arc where Jake was mad at Walter, and so I’m glad the episode wrapped up the conflict nicely. I’m still disappointed by the use of Kathleen in the season so far. Is there nothing for her to do but smirk and bounce from guy to guy? Why not pull her into one of the main cases?
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but we could have done without Des this week. The love triangle with his character is very tired at this point, and so I don’t have any patience for the will-they-or-won’t-they drama between him and Tinny. What’s more, the editors made the mistake of playing out part of their scene in a Becker flashback, when Becker couldn’t possibly know what Tinny was saying over the phone. “Mirror, Mirror” could have been a leaner, meaner episode without the youthful relationship drama.
As much as I like Becker being the smarter villain, the climax between he and Jake was poorly handled. At the helipad, Becker brags about his plan and Jake claims to have been one step ahead of him. At no point during the episode did I get the sense that Jake was doing any real detecting – it was your standard menu of fistfights, chases and Jake cracking wise.
So when Jake says he knew what Becker was up to the whole time, I called “b.s.” If Jake is going to pretend to be Hercule Poirot, we’d better see him noticing clues and making connections, or else the whole private detective thing feels like an afterthought. As it is, “Mirror, Mirror” gets two and a half stars out of four.
What did you think of Episode 9 of Republic of Doyle Season 3? Like/dislike? What could the show be doing better? Are you excited for next week? Let me know in the comments section. If you’re behind on my Doyle reviews, catch up by browsing through the links below: