Our coverage for this series returns.
Coming as only a surprise to Kirill, Doug’s old partner Derick was not killed, as he was led to believe, but has been in the hospital for the entirety of the series so far. He is released and decides to open up a bar. Meanwhile, at Seven-O, Pink and Rookie are sent undercover to investigate possible connections to Anthem. Rookie wants to play things by the book, but Pink has her own, unorthodox, methods for dealing with criminals. When they can’t seem to make any progress together, Rookie reaches out to her old commanding officer, Gary, at the drug enforcement division. They go back into the club, but Gary double-crosses her and captures her, along with Kirill and Agent Robot. Pink rushes to save them, but first has to defeat Gary, who’s overdriving on Anthem.
The interesting thing about fantasies is that they tell you as much about the dreamer as they do about the dream. For instance, Superman was the dream of the sons of Jewish immigrants who imagined that the most powerful man in the world actually cared about the weak as much as the powerful, if not more so. Double Decker, by contrast, imagines a world full of essentially motivation-less criminals deciding to undertake multiple felonies and risk death merely to satisfy their petty grudges.
The past two weeks of the show have shown a union boss who cared for the finer things in life and now a cop who threw his whole career away because he didn’t get the transfer he wanted. There is just no way that Double Decker would portray their drug addicts so heartlessly and their cops like such mavericks if they were interested in anything other than the myopic, shallow fantasy that they’ve constructed for themselves so far.
This week’s episode is named after Doug’s old partner Derick, but he’s only in two scenes this episode, for less than five minutes, leaving the bulk of the story to Pink and Rookie. I’ll get to that in a minute, but I would be remiss for not pointing out that the one dark-skinned character we’ve seen in the series so far a) was shot, and b) is no longer a cop, but a bartender. On the one hand, it is annoying that a show boasting over seven characters doesn’t have one of color in on the action (yet. I acknowledge that Derick could help out in future episodes). But on the other, I am very glad they made him the voice of reason against Pink’s police brutality.
Through cursory research, it seems that Japan doesn’t have a police brutality problem. My understanding is that the perception of Japanese police is that they have nothing to do because Japan’s crime rate is so low. I further learned that this is because many crimes, especially those of a sexual nature, go uninvestigated. All of this is to say that Japan and the United States have wildly different policing structures and problems, but with the DeLorean police cars, naming clubs after Trainspotting and the wholesale adoption of American cop-film tropes, it’s obvious they mean to draw the parallel.
So, what happens when you import cultural imagery without thinking through its implications? You get a cop story with as few characters of color as possible. You get drug addicts portrayed as violent, inhuman monsters. You get a story obsessed with punitive justice.
This is where Pink comes in. She is a case study for the exact kind of behaviors that the police enable, and one of its largest problems in society at large. Pink is from a rough background, and the way that she pulled herself out was through her toughness and tenacity. These exact qualities were valued by the police force she applied to, and she was promoted to a special task force with practically no oversight for the methods used by their officers. As a result, she beats criminals as she pleases and no one, not even her partner, can stop her. I have my problems with Batman’s methods too, but at least it isn’t implied that the taxpayer pays for the privilege.
This is the core of my issue. Giving characters in this light, fantasy setting dark backstories leaves a lot of bad implications hanging around in the air, and knowing that Pink had a cat when she was a kid does little to alleviate my misgivings. I see the same problems looming for Doug, Boxer, Robot, and probably the boss too. This is not to mention Kirill, who’s nonsensical cluelessness I’ve already touched on in previous reviews. I hope Seven-O proves me wrong, but at this stage, I don’t see how it can inject the thought and pathos necessary to turn this fantasy into something that tells me anything positive about the people who dreamed it up.