Time flies when you’re having fun watching a TV show. Tonight marks the second season finale of Republic of Doyle (9 p.m., CBC). It seems like the series had just returned and boom, it is over again. Damn these shortened CBC seasons.
Many shows suffer a bit of a sophomore slump and writer/producer/star Allan Hawco’s breezy St. John’s detective drama was no exception, at least at the start of the season. Some of the fun of seeing an old fashioned car chase shoot ’em up had worn off. Great characters had been established, especially Doyle dad Malachy and his Rose (brilliantly played by Sean McGinley and Lynda Boyd). Expectations had been set for the series to take a leap forward. Instead, in January, we got more spinning tires. The ride was always fun (especially in that ’68 Pontiac GTO), but it seemed like we were going to the same old places.
The series got more interesting as the season went on and Wednesdays finale, written by Hawco, is crammed with everything that makes Doyle fun. There’s a big name Canadian guest star (Hawco’s mentor, Paul Gross, playing Doyle’s evil ex-cop partner). There’s plenty of action, including kidnapping, robbery and extortion. As usual, guys get punched and shot. Beer is consumed. There’s a great deal of heart, especially in the final minutes, where a cliffhanger plays out to the tender wail of The Pogues’ “Dirty Old Town.”
There are plenty of holes in this plot, too. Some of the urgency seems beyond heightened. With the bad guy in custody, wasn’t there plenty of time to search through those warehouses? Shortcuts are taken in logic, but this is a TV series for viewers who love a Rockford Files-style P.I. romp. Doc Zone it ain’t.
At the end of tonight’s episode there are many questions: will the series be essentially re-booted next season? Will several key regulars be back? Almost everybody but Hawco and the blue Pontiac seems at risk. Even young Tinny (Marthe Bernard) may be moving on. There are so many suggested goodbyes it seem more like a series finale, although there is no danger of that. Republic of Doyle has been a solid CBC performer this season, hitting the million mark on a few occasions despite airing opposite mighty American Idol. It was long ago renewed for a third season.
One regular I hope is back: Krystin Pellerin (right). As the cop with a crush on Doyle, she breaks your heart in tonight’s finale.
Then again, you can’t have too much of a happy ending on a season finale of Republic of Doyle–not if you want this series to go on for a long, long time. As wise Malachy says to Jake, quoting Orson Welles, if “you want a happy ending, you need to know when to end your story.”
Thing is, Welles never had to write himself out of this many corners in a third season opener. Citizen Doyle returns in January.