By John Doyle
Far be it from me to speculate about your taste and the vital importance of Michael Bublé hosting the Juno Awards (see below) but I’d guess that for a lot of people the big deal this weekend is the two-hour season finale ofRepublic of Doyle (Sunday, CBC, 8 p.m.).
Yes, boys and girls, it takes two hours of thrills and spills to wrap up the season. And what a mad, wild ride it is, without a Bublé to be seen.
Things open with Jake Doyle (Allan Hawco) visiting the hoosegow to have a word with his nemesis Crocker (Paul Gross) who, as constant viewers will know, is Tinny’s (Marthe Bernard) dad. On an unrelated matter, Crocker makes a point of telling Jake, “I did not murder that hooker!” To which Jake replies, ‘Maybe you shoulda thoughta that before you started acting all murdery.” This will mystify people who haven’t watched all season, but you’ll catch up, no worries.
Also in the hoosegow is Jake’s other nemesis, the crafty crime kingpin Becker (Gordon Pinsent). Becker tells Jake ominously, “I’ve been cooking up something really special for you. …” Next thing you know, it’s jail break! Jail break! Yep, the criminals are out and they’re all going after Tinny.
One thing leads to another. (Or in the parlance of the setting, “Wan ting leads to an udder.”) St. John’s looks lovely, even in the snow and slush. There are car chases galore, fist fights and fellas threatening other fellas like there was no tomorrow. There is an attempted robbery of The Duke pub by that idiot Gossad (Joel Tomas Hynes, who’s great), which goes awry. Des frets about Tinny. Malachy Doyle (Sean McGinley) frets about Jake. Rose (Lynda Boyd) frets about everybody and Leslie (Krystin Pellerin) tries to think about moving to Ottawa but, what with all the criminals on the loose, there’s hardly time.
In the second hour there is fine comedy business as Jake and Crocker tool around St. John’s in a car, bickering, and both Gross and Hawco enjoy themselves tremendously. Pinsent towers over everything, calm as ice. There is a bit where he’s in a car with Jake and Crocker. “This is nice,” he announces airily. “Three generations of outlaws on the open road.”
Republic of Doyle, renewed for next season, and soon going into syndication on the U.S. market, has suffered somewhat, in attention and ratings, from airing on Sundays this season. The competition is fierce – The Walking Dead, Girls, Mad Men, Game of Thrones. And it was pre-empted twice, for skating and the Canadian Screen Awards. But it hasn’t suffered in quality – it’s fast-paced, witty, old-fashioned fun. Like the Junos, in that it’s chock-full of Canadian talent, but without a Bublé.
Written by John Doyle for The Globe and Mail