Oh, they did remember to create characters!
We begin the episode with Doug and Kirill in the middle of a pretty fruitless stakeout, when they get a call from Travis about a public disturbance in a ritzy part of Lisvaletta. The two don’t think it’s going to amount to much but decide to go check it out anyway. While there, they find themselves the subjects of an episode of the nation’s most popular cop reality show. The disturbance ends up being merely a run of the mill drunk, but the tape the precinct makes of the episode reveals a lot more. For Doug, he finds the drug mule that he and Kirill were looking for at the beginning of the episode. Kirill, however, sees his long lost sister. After some misunderstanding, the duo set out looking for her. They all but give up, but then find out that she’s taken a job at Derrick’s bar, and she’s got one big secret left to share.
Our Take (Spoilers Below)
This is probably the best episode of Double Decker so far. I think that this is owed almost entirely to the fact that it focuses more on the character development of the two leads than its case-of-the-week format. While I have found both characters incredibly annoying thus far, when put together on a mission that doesn’t involve police brutality and the violation of civil liberties, they can be tolerable. We’re finally seeing past Doug’s intentionally off-putting exterior, and we similarly get a look into what makes Kirill tick, as well.
The Cops knock-off was definitely necessary for this episode to function, but for me, it creates more problems than it solves. Firstly, it introduces yet another narrator in the series. I’m already annoyed with the one we have, another was not going to endear itself to me. (Speaking of announcers, this episode, the main announcer’s function seemed mainly to take any drama out of the second act of the episode. Double Decker set up a contrived misunderstanding, but rather than write a better episode, they merely hang a lampshade on it via voiceover).
More than just the voiceover, the cop show served as the vehicle for my usual set of qualms for the show. First, the idea of scanning surveillance cameras was brought up as a way to find people seen on television, and we’re re-introduced to Doctor, the technology specialist of Seven-O. We come to find out that he has unfettered access to the surveillance equipment, and may or may not be using it to spy on people in bathrooms. Cool.
Similarly, Travis pawns Doug & Kirill off on the cop show and opines that he wishes that he could be the department that sends other ones on useless errands, not the other way around. The other characters call him out on this, but it functions very similarly to critiques of Pink’s police brutality: a harmless character foible that the show has no interest in tackling head-on.
As for Kirill’s sibling, I don’t know what to say. I am sweating bullets about how they’re going to handle it next episode. This show has not had the deftest hand when it comes to tackling sensitive subjects, so the idea of a trans woman as a major character of the show has me very worried. At the end of the episode, we find out that Kirill’s sister was seemingly AMAB (assigned male at birth) and Kirill had no idea.
I’m curious if this is why she ran away in the first place. I actually have a lot of questions about this decision on the anime’s part, but I have very little faith that it’s going to be able to navigate this idea with any sort of sensitivity. If police brutality is a joke, I shudder to think of what this show thinks of people who are not cisgender. I will admit that we did see some gay extras earlier in the season, but trans issues are at least an entire league more complicated for people not versed in LGBTQIA culture. I also wonder what, if anything, this has to do with the incredibly unfunny running joke that Kirill looks like a woman. Is it foreshadowing? Is he going to transition? I don’t know the answers, but I don’t think any of them are going to be good. In an absolutely ideal case, everyone but Kirill is fine with it and he needs to learn to get over himself, but that’s not an episode that I’m particularly excited for.