no fair

After establishing that Kirill and Derick have become friends, there is an unusual summons for Doug. One of the members of Esperanza – a cartel-like organiation involved with Anthem – who is on death row is desperate to save himself from his impending execution. Given that SEVEN-O have the power to arrange plea bargains for cases involving Anthem, the man in question – Zabel Franken, AKA ‘Z’, offers information in exchange for this. Allegeldy he had killed ‘A’ – the highest ranking member of the alphabetically organized Esperanza – and if Doug, Kirill and crew can find where he buried  him in time, they’ll have the proof they need. Due to the limited time, they end up having to bring the (guarded) Zabel with them to find the location – however the chap with the jewel teeth- AKA Bamboo Man, AKA ‘B’, attacks en route.
While Kirill and Doug are spared for the time being, it turns out the entire thing with Zabel was a carefully planned trick. The inmate kills his guards and escapes to Esperanza, revealing himself to actually have been not Z, but A all along.

Kirill is a really cute kid…

I think your one-liners need some work Doug.

To be honest, for most of the first half of this episode I was finding it kinda disappointing. It was just lacking the spark of the previous episodes, and a few things about the writing were aggravating to me. The aggravating thing is what may be Double Decker’s greatest weakness, even though its also one of its strengths. Let me explain – it’s the humour. I do like the humour in this show and the matter-of-fact delivery of a lot of the lines from both the characters and the narrator is often masterfuly done. There’s also this running joke that absolutely no one cares about Kirill’s backstory, and every time he starts to talk about it people stop listening. That is pretty funny, because ‘I have to find my missing sister’ isnt a terribly original motivation and its good to poke fun at these cliches. But the problem is its hard to be sure if we are supposed to be taking it seriously if the characters aren’t. Kirill even gets a brief moment of angst in the opening that hints to his past, and it will probably come up in the show at some point, but is it actually serious or not? It feels like if his sister shows up, the narrator could say something like ‘anyway she was actually just living down the street the whole time, and Kirill was to dumb to notice!’ and at this point that wouldn’t even feel out of character for the show. And I’m in two minds about how I’d feel about it – on one hand it would be pretty funny, but on the other… it really does seem like this show can’t decide if its a straight comedy or not, and almost every time anything happens now I have to wait and see if its actually serious or just another joke.

I mean…is this Esparanza stuff even serious? How can we tell just yet? It’s the tonal confusion of things like this that, I think, will ultimately make or break this show. I just hope it figures it out soon and strikes a better balance, and doesn’t completely rely on the narrator to tell us what the joke is almost every time.

Now that that’s off my chest, the episode did pick up in the second half. I personally don’t really like Bamboo Man as a villain very much, so I’m kind of glad to see that he’s at least second in command and not the actual boss. That said, the scenes with him were where things really picked up, because now that we see him fight, the dude is fucking scary. The action scenes with him had a lot of suspense to them and despite my griping about the tonal confusion in the show, actually made me believe Doug and Kirill were in danger. I was actually expecting them to have to narrowly escape with horrific injuries and spend the next episode rehabilitating in hospital, but B spares them, for reasons unknown.

The reveal that Zabel planned to double-cross them from the start was a little too obvious though – I knew it as soon as they decided they were bringing him along. The episode was basically just a way of getting to that point, so I hope things improve in the next one.

Bamboo Man’s design looks like a particularly obnoxious Joker like Jared Leto’s god-awful one so he’s really annoying to me

holy shit it was walter white all along

Out of 5,

 

Episode 6

Nice to have a convenient pic of all the SEVEN-O ladies together.

While on a stake-out, Doug and Kirill receive a call for backup to a situation unfolding at a nearby casino with a drunk man who may or may not be on drugs. This incident is apparently exciting enough to be filmed at featured on TV as a behind the scenes look at the Lisavelletta Police. It turns out to be nothing, although Kirill is absolutely over the moon about getting to be on the telly, even with a blurred face and distorted voice. He watches the recording of the TV show afterwards and notices his missing sister Milla walks past in the background. After a pointless misunderstanding with Doug about realizing something in the video that they need to track down (for Doug, it was another criminal), the two eventually enlist the help of Apple Bieber, who can control the city’s security cameras, to see if they can narrow down where Milla is.

Which ultimately turns out to be pointless, because Milla shows up out of the blue at the bar as Derick’s new helper. There is a heartfelt reunion, and then after the credits, spoiler alert, Kirill runs into her in the men’s bathroom at the urinal. Wait just a second.

I just wanted a pic that showed Lisvalletta, as it really is a pretty place.

why dont you just marry him

holy shit Double Decker I was joking. I was making a joke. I didn’t actually expect Milla to have been down the road the entire time. What the hell.

So uh…yeah. This episode gives us quite a lot to talk about, but I’ll leave the obvious stuff until later. Firstly, the Lisvaletta Police show was quite funny – completely deadpan in its delivery, but it did work for the most part. Its main issue was that it went on for far too long, and didn’t seem to offer anything of actual substance beyond a means for Kirill to find out his sister was close by. However, there may be a little more to the man’s drunken ramblings than meets the eye (or ear). It’s played for laughs, but he starts talking about coming from an alternate universe ‘above’ the one the show is set in, where there is only one sun (I did not actually notice until now that the world of DoubleDecker has two suns) – and that this world is a test for the other world. People have pointed out that this could be a reference to another Sunrise property I admittedly dont know anything about – Big O – but it could also be setting the stage for a completely ludicrous reveal later on. Perhaps this ties into Tiger and Bunny by being a reality tv show in Tiger and Bunny’s universe. Either that or its just a red herring and the narrator will scold us for even considering something so ridiculous.

If the whole thing was just a mechanism to make the episode be about the search for Milla (which…the other characters are actually taking seriously now? This almost confused me more than the other stuff. They actually ask questions and want to know more now?), then it really makes the middle mini act – ie the misunderstanding with Doug about who they were tracking down – even more of a pointless diversion. I liked that even the narrator had to comment on how obvious it was that there was a misunderstanding – but it still didn’t seem to serve any purpose whatsoever, other than to squeeze in another segment where the narrator explains the joke before it happens, and my patience is wearing a little on these.

Anyway, the big reveal – Milla herself. Of course, apparently her name isn’t Milla, it’s Valerie (which is a male slavic name, apparently), and she may not even be a she. The episode does end before one can really draw any conclusions about where the hell the narrative is going with this, but I admit it does make me flinch and tug at my collar a little. Now, a lot of Double Decker has been decently progressive in its portrayal of female characters, and also things like them commenting on sexism – so if it completely dropped the ball on its portrayal of what may or may not be a trans woman, it’s going to be disappointing indeed. That is – if Milla/Valerie actually is a trans woman. On one hand, she uses feminine speech (albeit with an obviously male voice actor) that isn’t exaggerated in a stereotypical way, and there is the implication that the other characters who arent Kirill accept it without barely as much as a blink. Before the reveal, she also mentions choosing Derick’s (who introduces her with the female pronoun ‘kanojo’) bar because it is unpopular and not many people would visit, as she doesn’t like to draw attention. Apple also notes that on the security cam, she seems to be trying to hide her face. Those things would point to her being a trans woman – and one trying to keep a low profile. As for why Kirill wouldn’t have known that – he was apparently 9 when she disappeared (he states in this episode it was 10 years ago, which also tells us he is 19). She could have transitioned when he was far younger, and thus his only memories of her are as his sister. Looking back at the flashback scenes with her, she definitely doesn’t seem to have breasts, and looks and dresses pretty androgynously.

However, on the other hand, she was encountered in the mens restroom, at the urinal, which…just doesn’t seem like something a trans woman would even be willing to do. She also switches to masculine speech – including the pronoun ‘ore’ – when telling Kirill her real name. She is also extremely matter of fact about it. Those things point more to a crossdresser, or a different person altogether who is still related to him (they still share a surname). With so little to go on, the audience can only be as confused as Kirill right now. So, is she a trans woman? Is he a crossdresser? Someone else? Is there going to be a mega uncomfy joke? Is the real joke going to be ‘actually she was literally always his brother but Kirill was a real dumb kid’?

Only a week or so ago I was praying that this show would be good enough to be popular, and now I’m only praying that it just…doesn’t fuck this up and get incredibly uncomfortable about whatever is going on here in regard’s to Milla’s/Valerie’s gender. And I probably wouldn’t be as worried as I was if it wasn’t for the fact that the show has aready treated so many things that were initially regarded as serious to be fakeout jokes already. The narrator was mercilessly absent during the end credits scene at least, but at this point, more than ever, I have no idea where this show is going or what it’s trying to be. To feel that way at the potential half way point may not be a good sign. Seriously. What is happening here.

And speaking of getting to the half way point – where is the Yuri and Max content already.

she definitely is just an elongated Kirill, huh

that outfit is pretty cute tbh

Out of 5,