“Doug gave a gun to a child?”
Doug’s usual stance of being detached from his cases is challenged when he hears about the return of a gangster named Good-Looking Joe. Doug becomes obsessed with finding him and begins to worry Kirill. He soon learns that Good-Looking Joe is the one who killed Doug’s first “partner”, a twelve-year-old girl named Patricia who he took a liking to. Doug arranges a showdown with Good-Looking Joe and his men, where Kirill thinks Doug is going to murder Joe. Doug easily outmaneuvers Good-Looking Joe and his men, but ultimately his gun misfires. Though he was trying to kill Joe, Kirill convinces Doug that it’s much better this way.
This week’s villain is named Good-Looking Joe. It’s hard to feel like Double Decker is even trying anymore. This episode is meant to be the Rosetta Stone to Doug’s enigmatic character, but I’m left with more questions than answers. In addition to this paint-by-numbers revenge story that is borrowing as much from Cowboy Bebop’s famous church sequence as it is American cop drama, Doug’s motivations themselves seem to stem from a deep misunderstanding of anything more than the aesthetics of suffering.
Doug is apparently motivated to follow regulations, as a detective, by Patricia’s death, and this is treated… like a cute but ultimately fruitless affectation? For a show that mentions regulations so much, it really has no sense of why they’re important. It’s not particularly interesting for a show to keep telling me that every character is constantly walking the line of breaking the rules. In the first place, I know they’re going to break any rules that help them solve the case, but never any that will make them irredeemable, and in the second, as of yet, there have been no consequences for any member of Seven-O doing anything out of bounds. The only rule that Seven-O seems to care about is their jurisdiction, but once again A) it seems to only be part of some kind of inter-agency gamesmanship rather than any kind of understanding for the law, and B) Seven-O is willing to follow that rule, even if it means letting violent criminals go free.
It’s just hard to not get angry watching Double Decker. Each episode presents a new flavor of a broken cop tries to make good in a world that has no goodness left in it. Each of the rookies naivety should be bringing in a dose of positivity to the proceedings, and admittedly Kirill’s aside to Doug is the best part of this episode, but for the most part, this arch world seems to care little for the optics of who is trampled when trying to create a darkness to be brightened.
Why fridge a child that we’ve never seen before in order to make Doug care about class politics? I honestly can’t fathom it. Patricia seems to be a synecdoche for all of the noble poor, just trying to eke out an honest living in an unequal city, but Double Decker also wants to kind of make Patricia’s death her own fault for not getting out of the information selling business. The show seems to think that it’s horrible that poor people are forced into bad situations, but they still deserve what comes to them when they break the law, victimless crime or not.
The actual worst thing about this episode is that it puts Doug’s politics into stark relief. Doug’s high-minded hatred of the class system and his actions as a cop go unremarked upon because they can’t be reconciled. Doug seems to have no idea how to truly go about any sort of poverty relief. He doesn’t like unions. He has seemingly no interest in politics. How does Doug think poverty ends? He wastes fancy whiskey on the grave of a child that never drank. He imprisons and abuses those he seeks to lift up. He speaks out of both sides of his mouth, and each spews more nonsense than the last.
Kirill wants to be a “hero cop” whatever that means in his warped mind, but Doug is even more deluded. Kirill seeks a self-validation in his work that will never come because there is nothing heroic about his job, but Doug is worse. He doesn’t think of himself as a hero; he thinks of himself as a crusader. Kirill only does damage through blind selfishness, but Doug actually works counter to his goals. I’d be afraid to see what a cop does when he realizes he’s not John McClane, but I have no idea what it looks like when one realizes he’s not Vladimir Lenin. And the very worst thing about all of that is that Double Decker doesn’t even realize what a fertile premise that is.