REPUBLIC OF DOYLE
Season 4, Episode 10 (Gimme Shelter)
Dream sequences are wonderful. In the case of television and film, however, dream sequences are hard to pull off successfully. Either it is extremely obvious to the audience that this is a dream sequence (at which point, it can be hard not to have the scene come across as silly), or it is not obvious at all and the audience is strung along until they realise – sometimes abruptly at the end – that the whole story that they had been following was nothing but a hallucination. To avoid either scenario is difficult. This week’s episode of Republic of Doyle did a very good job.
In the opening scene, Jake is hit by a truck while working a case. Luckily, it is not a very fast-moving truck and he escapes with some broken ribs. For most of the rest of the episode, he is lying in bed under the influence of pain medication, waking up occasionally to interact with characters who are not figments of his imagination. Other times, it is very clear to the audience that he is dreaming, but these dreams do reveal interesting insight into the character of Jake, particularly into his fear of commitment.
With Jake largely out of commission, the rest of the cast (minus Tinny) get their chance to shine. Malachy and Rose, along with some help from Des and Leslie, are the ones on the case this week, and they are no less entertaining without Jake than they are with him. The episode is brilliant – the right mix of funny and dramatic, while all of the characters are used well.
The only drawback of the episode was that there was a lot of product placement. The CBC Sunday night lineup is sponsored by McDonald’s and there were lots of coffees and one visit to McDonald’s by the main characters. Of course, in this show, that really isn’t that odd. It is a modern setting and it is quite logical for private investigators and cops to be drinking cheap coffee and meeting at a fast food restaurant. While the product placement is blatant, particularly when paired with the ads for McDonald’s during the commercial breaks, it fits in so as not to be too distracting. Besides which, it comes across as funny – if Sunday wasn’t a work night, I’d suggest making a drinking game out of it, with something much better than McDonald’s coffee. Starbucks? Tim Horton’s? Jameson’s?
Season 6, Episode 12 (Crime and Punishment)
This being the penultimate episode of the season, Crime and Punishment took a turn at a courtroom drama and set up a two-part episode for the finale. Arguably, I think this is a good way of crafting a season’s end, rather than going with a “fun and fluffy” episode followed by a big dramatic finish. This dramatic two-part finale allows for the audience to feel as though the season has come to a conclusive end. It also leaves us guessing at the outcome. Earlier in the season, the fate of the characters would be a lot more certain, but in the finale, anything is possible.
The victim this week is Dr. Darcy Garland, Dr. Julia Ogden’s estranged husband and Detective William Murdoch’s romantic rival. Dr. Ogden is adamant about her innocence and shocked that she is even a suspect – which is slightly unbelievable, as she has assisted with many investigations in the past and should know how her situation would look. She is unable to provide a confirmable alibi for her whereabouts. There are countless pieces of evidence pointing to her, including eyewitness testimony and fingerprints on the bullet casing inside the murder weapon. This is actually fortunate for Murdoch, since he would likely be the chief suspect otherwise.
Of course, Murdoch is determined to prove that Dr. Ogden is innocent, as are Inspector Brackenreid, Dr. Grace, and Constable Crabtree. Their efforts are hampered by Chief Constable Giles, who hates Murdoch and who is convinced of Dr. Ogden’s guilt largely because it makes a convincing story. It does, and in the end, Dr. Ogden is convicted – setting up the cliffhanger for next week.
The story does make sense: the jury is convinced of Dr. Ogden’s guilt not because they are stupid or misogynistic (although the idea of a controversial female doctor seeking a divorce to marry a Catholic policeman does factor into their opinion), but because the prosecution paints a compelling narrative and all of the evidence fits best with it. That is the problem with juries, and with the investigating and reporting of crimes in general. We need something to fit our story. Random crimes do not fit – arguably why the first thing that most of us think of criminals is that they are crazy. The idea of a crazy person committing a crime makes for a good story, and it reassures us that we would not do the same thing. It also reassures us that most of our friends, family, and neighbours would never hurt us, because they are not crazy or evil.
It is not certain what will happen to Dr. Ogden in next week’s episode. I doubt she will be hanged, since that would make for a depressing finale and Murdoch Mysteries is not that dark. However, she might very well leave again. Since the show has been renewed, she probably will be back so that the saga of William and Julia can keep going. Constable Higgins did have a good point, though – it is much easier to marry a widow than a divorcee!
Although under the circumstances, it is probably unwise to break out the champagne.