Season 6, Episode 1 (Dirty Deeds)
Like the last book of a series, the last season of a television show is a chance to up the storytelling level. There is no chance of cancellation, no chance of rejection, no need to fear for the future. One has the freedom to do whatever one wants with the plot and characters to bring the story to a satisfying conclusion.
The last season of Republic of Doyle has thus been able to depart slightly from its usual formula and tell a longer, interconnected story (albeit in a shorter span of time) to bring the show to an end. The premiere episode broke the tradition of skipping significantly forward in time between seasons (except for between the first and second season) and picked up only three weeks after the finale. Granted, that is still longer than immediately following – we skip the discovery of the missing money, Leslie’s immediate treatment in hospital, Jake’s bail hearing, and all of the characters of the ensemble cast catching up to each other. Clearly, despite the drama involved, this is actually a good thing! We don’t need to see any of that when a few lines of explanation delivered in context will bring us up to speed on what we’ve missed. After all, we watch the show for the hijinks, not for screaming matches.
Within minutes, the story has moved on to Jake’s adventures in the jail, surrounded by inmates whom he caught, and trying to solve a new mystery while keeping the ongoing storyline moving along. For being a season premiere, it was actually quite watchable as a standalone episode. The loss of their savings means that the Doyles can’t afford Jake’s bail money, so they are scrounging around while comatose Leslie prevents them from finding further evidence to prove Jake’s innocence. By the end of the episode, Jake is still in prison, the Doyles still have no money and a bad reputation, and Leslie has only just woken up. Whether or not she even remembers what happened remains to be seen, although it appears that Jake gets out of prison by the end of next week’s episode (judging from the promo).
However, since this is the last season, there is less of a need to get back to the status quo. This is a race to the finish with only nine more hours left to go.
I can’t wait to see how it all turns out!
Season 4, Episode 3 (Rocky Road)
Such a thing as the status quo is non-existent in this show. The closest that we come is finally meeting this half-season’s main villain: the Snow Queen, who may or may not be Elsa’s aunt. She believes (or leads us to think that she believes) that eventually, non-magical individuals will turn to hating magical individuals and call them monsters. Her motivations in Storybrooke are less clear, but she chooses innocent Marian as her sacrificial lamb: by attacking her with a poisoned ice cream cone, she easily shifts the suspicion away from her and points it at either Elsa or Regina. Since the ice magic isn’t really Regina’s style, suspicion around her is cleared. Instead, she chooses to help save Marian rather than letting her die and making Robin available again. This proves what Henry has always known about his adoptive mother (and what Snow White strongly believed about her): she is a very caring and loving person who easily gets hurt and who could be wonderfully heroic if she makes the choice to do so. She wants to help Marian because the woman is a) suffering needlessly for something she didn’t do, and b) incredibly important to Robin and Roland. She knows what it is like to lose a mother, after all, even if that was the best thing for her. For her good deeds, unfortunately, all she gets back is the satisfaction of knowing that Robin has fallen in love with her but is going to remain faithful to his wife. Were it not for Henry’s support in her newfound mission to change her fate (is her middle name Merida?), she might have melted into a puddle of wax. For his part, it was incredibly trusting of Robin to admit to Regina that he no longer really loved Marian – did he have a smidgeon of hope that she would let Marian die and then make his decision for him?
In other news, Anna is still missing, Emma decides to let Hook into her life (even if it means he might die and she would be hurt), Hook successfully blackmails Rumplestiltskin, Jiminy Cricket schools Snow White on her being too attached to her son (in my opinion, she really should invest in a sling or backpack carrier if she insists on carrying him everywhere), Grumpy is still mad at Elsa for freezing his truck when he was about to run her over, and Elsa does not remember the Snow Queen.
Season 8, Episode 2 (On the Waterfront – Part II)
With On the Waterfront – Part II, the mystery of the dockside murders is brought to a conclusion and we can indeed come back to the status quo, albeit a little shaken. Brackenreid’s fate is sealed, as much as his replacement was likeable. I do hope that they keep Det. Slorack on the back burner as a guest character in the future. If he had indeed become the new inspector permanently, it would have changed the dynamic of the show but ultimately, I think audiences would have warmed up to him. He is lighthearted whereas Brackenreid is tough and cynical. For the purpose of the show, someone needs to be the darker character – so I am happy that Brackenreid will be back in office.
Drs. Ogden and Grace avoid extensive jail largely through connections, including the first female lawyer in the British Empire, and Lesley Garland’s horrible plot against his former sister-in-law and Det. Murdoch comes back to haunt him. The doctors and a few remaining suffragettes vow to continue on fighting for women’s rights, perhaps leading to an ongoing side-plot. I would love to see a flashforward of them at the ballot box in 1917! For us in the present, we know that women did indeed receive the right to vote only a few years later, but while they in 1901 sensed that women’s suffrage was achievable, they had no idea how soon it would be. Furthermore, it was a hard-won fight and while the opinions of many men in that era seems laughable in 2014, in reality, it was not funny at all. A woman voting and having political rights (let alone run for office) was as offensive to tradition and order as homosexuals being able to get married. Science, religion, social order, government, tradition…all of these supported that women should not be able to vote. That a woman currently is Premier of Ontario, working the very offices depicted in the protests in last week’s episode, and that a woman is currently one of the top three contenders for the office of Mayor of Toronto, is only because of a lot of campaigning along with a world war or two. That campaigning was necessary to change the minds of society, women as well as men.
Season 7, Episode 3 (Clear and Present Danger)
Last week’s episode brought back Castle’s status quo, but this week was the first episode in which we felt truly at home. Here was a murder with a quirky, possibly supernatural explanation, and plenty of time for Castle and Beckett to interact and flirt with each other. Everyone seemed lighthearted and jolly. It was a fun adventure that the viewers have come to expect after six years.
The long and the short of the plot is that a man is killed by a seemingly invisible force. The killer is brought to justice thanks to Castle and Beckett getting their groove back (sorry, mind melds), thinking quickly alike to catch an otherwise un-catchable murderer. We had pool hustling, demonic spiritualism, online gaming, science, and government conspiracies all rolled into one logical story. It was colourful and enjoyable, if somewhat unbelievable.
Moreover, I really don’t want to believe that it is technologically possible to render a person completely invisible. Harry Potter’s Invisibility Cloak should remain something of fantasy, or else it should remain a big, bulky, awkward blanket, not a suit or anything that would make it easy for a concealed person to move. Imagine what criminals could get away with! The fact that someone could be entirely invisible would indeed make them feel powerful and outside the law, no different than a firearm. An invisible suit would be a weapon of a different kind. One could alter data, rig elections, steal items (if they can make a suit, surely they can make an invisibility tote bag), and attack people both psychologically and physically. Even the threat of being caught later would be little deterrence if the damage got done.
So despite being a hilarious episode, the underlying premise was terrifying.
Thank God for pots, pans, and fire extinguishers!