Zabel returns, and Kirill steps up.
Another day at the Seven-O precinct, another eccentricity. Apple shows off three new gadgets—rocket boots, jetpacks, and cameras in contact lenses—to the field agents, but they’re less than impressed. Furthermore, the female agents are worried about Apple spying on them while they’re changing. Apple struggles to defend himself, when Travis’ secretary, Sophie, walks in and tells the gang there’s a new case.
That new case turns out to be the kidnapping of the daughter of a prominent politician by the anthem-peddling Esperanza cartel. After Travis reminds Kirill that Seven-O also has some military jurisdiction, the race is on to protect the politician who has insisted on making the drop himself. It’s all hands on deck to monitor the exchange, but Esperanza is one step ahead of Seven-O and gets away with the money, the girl, and Doug Billingham. When Doug comes to, he finds Zabel waiting for him.
Zabel tortures the detective for information about Seven-O’s patented Anthem-neutralizing weaponry, and Doug deduces that Zabel has been in charge of Esperanza the whole time. Zabel doesn’t want to kill Doug, as Zabel is grateful to him for ensuring his release from prison, but he needs the information more. Zabel leaves his lackeys to dose Doug with anthem and shoot him dead if they don’t do what he wants.
Luckily, Doug had his camera contacts on, letting Seven-O track his whereabouts and allowing Kirill time to come up with a convoluted rescue mission. Once again making use of the entire Seven-O team, Kirill coordinates a smash-and-grab operation that uses all of Apple’s gadgets and gets Doug away from Esperanza safely. Kirill goes to visit Doug in the hospital and runs into Seven-O’s military liaison, who strangely recognized Doug’s battle cry. Doug mentions that he got it from his grandfather.
Later, in a post-credits scene, it turns out that battle cry is part of a secret prayer that only a few people are privy to.
This is definitely the best self-contained episode of Double Decker’s entire run. The case of the week wasn’t immediately boring; it had stakes that I actually cared about, and it didn’t want me to be surprised by the telegraphed twist after the first act. Besides a few minor gripes, Double Decker turned in some solid work this time around.
I think that while inelegant, introducing some new gadgets into Seven-O’s repertoire felt pretty in character for the show. They do have a super genius tech officer mostly just sitting around in the office, so giving him something to do (not to mention some motivation) was a good idea. I don’t like that one of his major character traits is being both guilty and embarrassed every time someone accuses him of being a peeping tom, but you can’t win ‘em all.
Our title characters were both at an all-time low for annoying me as well. Doug’s aloofness and Kirill’s naivety didn’t come up as often as they usually do, and I attribute that to the show’s ensemble focus this week. It’s funny, I don’t think any of these characters really have what it takes to hold up their end of a two-hander episode, but as a squad, they work pretty well together.
Seven-O has also given a fairly interesting antagonist this time around. Esperanza comes up with an overly-complicated plan, but it’s in service of something that the organization would logically be doing. They want to be able to counter Seven-O’s countermeasure. This escalating arms race and the property damage it causes (that the show actually brings attention to) is maybe the most incisive criticism the show has ever made about the war on drugs. So, good on you, Double Decker, maybe you do have a few things to say.
The show’s deep lore seems to be finally coming in from the margins this week. The military secretary talking about Kirill’s grandfather makes me think we’ll have at least most of the secrets to his ancestry by the time the season is out. For the first time, I have questions for the show that aren’t either rhetorical or sarcastic. What does Doug’s sister know about their lineage? And what is Kirill’s grandfather’s connection to the Lisvaletta military?
I still have my qualms about the episode, however. We yet again spend a lot of time going over the minutia of jurisdiction only to have extralegal action approved anyway. The show wrote itself into a corner by making Seven-O a drug task force, and this is at least the third tangential reason they’ve used to cheat out of doing a drug bust story. If Double Decker wants to be a show about cops who break the rules, it can be. I don’t see why it continues the charade.
The only reason I can think of might be to eventually make a point about Seven-O not ultimately being a force for good, or that this jurisdictional quibbling is pointless red tape to stop good guys from stopping bad guys. I just think that the seeds are too few and far between for Double Decker to function as effective critique. This doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be engaged with, but I am still dubious of what the show can do with (presumably) only a few episodes left.
This week, though, the devil was really in the details. Some translation issues in the dub made the show less effective overall than it could have been. The butchering of whatever, likely coherent, verbiage of the prayer (and by extension Doug’s battle cry and the episode title) left me scratching my head. I also didn’t understand why we were still using the alphabet code for Esperanza. To explain, Esperanza’s leaders are ranked in order of their first name’s placement in the alphabet. Seven-O initially thought that A was the leader and Z (Zabel) was the twenty-sixth ranking member. It turns out that the alphabet code is right, but it’s backward, so Zabel is the leader and Bamboo Man, an antagonist we’d seen previously, would be lower ranked.
It goes without saying that this is incredibly stupid. I don’t know if that was the case in the original script, but if there were ever a chance to improve something in translation, this was it. This seemingly minor flaw is really synecdoche for the whole episode though. Double Decker badly wants to be cool, and while it almost succeeds sometimes, it’s often let down by its inability to pay attention to detail.