Episode 7: Revenge is Mine! | 復讐するに、ワリにアレ！
Step aside, Kirill: Doug slides into the spotlight in Episode 7, and he’s well-armed with badassery and intends to make the most of it.
We’re still reeling in the aftermath of Milla/Valery’s reveal, but we don’t get any more indication about the character’s motivations or gender identity. Kirill may be surprised, but as his comrades point out, he’s taking it surprisingly well – Kirill says he’d be more shocked if she had shown up dressed like a guy. Fair enough: what your siblings keep in their pants is decidedly not something most people prefer to invest much thought into.
The question of whether or not Double Decker! will venture into the ever-elusive respectful portrayal of a canonically transgender woman is shelved for the moment as we swap focus to Doug, who is celebrating the birthday of an old partner over a glass of whiskey – at the graveyard. Though Doug tells Kirill not to get too emotionally invested in reports that Bamboo Man killed Zabel (spoiler: nope), Doug grows distant when intel suggests that the Esperanza agent who killed this mysterious ex-partner, “Good-Looking Joe”, has returned. As Doug trails Good-Looking Joe, a concerned Kirill trails him.
It turns out that the ex-partner in question, Pat, was not an agent after all, but an information broker with whom Doug associated. But Good-Looking Joe, nasty piece of work he is, can’t be expected to recall every single egregious murder he’s committed. He sends a few warnings to Doug to buzz off, including a written warning (in blood) and a visual demonstration (by beating the shit out of one of Doug’s contacts with a golf club.) But when Doug does the exact opposite of buzzing off, Good-Looking Joe invites him for a direct showdown, which Doug accepts with a classic “You’d better bring a shit ton of armed goons, so when I fuck you up I can claim self-defense.”
After casually tranquilizing Kirill to stop him from following, Doug heads to the arena to confront Good-Looking Joe about Pat’s murder, armed with the cliche revenge-gun whose bullets have been lovingly saved for Joe’s bitch face.
Turns out “Pat” wasn’t just some information broker, she was an orphan 12-year-old girl who passed information while she shined shoes for cash. For the crime of shining his shoes with the wrong color polish, Joe shot her. Thirteen times.
Anyway, hands on his head and (primary) gun tossed aside or not, Doug has no trouble at all neutralizing Joe and his goons. The revenge gun, in a not-quite noir subversion, conveniently misfires after so many years neglected of maintenance, so Doug inadvertently stays true to his promise to Kirill that he isn’t going to get revenge. Kirill points out that maybe the gun misfired because, whether symbolically or supernaturally, Pat wanted Doug to stay true to his values as a detective.
Doug returns to Pat’s grave and leaves a teddy bear and flower, reporting to Pat’s spirit that Kirill told him she’d probably like these grave offerings more than whiskey.
POVERTY AND CLASS: THE PAT AND KIRILL ASSOCIATION
There’s a deliberate and only slightly subtle connection forged between the orphan girl Pat and adult-orphan Kirill. In the confrontation, Joe crunches the numbers and proclaims that Pat would be 20 years old if she were still alive today, which is Kirill’s age. Tied with the fact that Kirill, too, grew up in poverty, the point is lathered on thick.
In a practically methodical fashion, the dialogue up to the reveal about Pat’s true identity stays deliberately obtuse about her being female. The gender-neutral name “Pat” is a heavy hint on its own, and after Valery’s promulgation last episode and Kirill’s own frequently-cited androgyny, the audience is well-trained not to assume anyone’s gender.
On one hand, the reveal seems a cheap bid to emotionally dramatize the backstory of Doug’s deceased partner. That Pat isn’t a seasoned agent like Derick, but a little orphan girl borders on cringey: dead orphan girls aren’t just the lowest possible hanging fruit for motivating male action heroes, they are so ham-fisted as plot devices, they are impossible to take seriously. On the other hand, Double Decker! doesn’t throw orphanism as an institution out of left field. The series has consistently shown thematic investment in tackling poverty – though, we should note, so far these orphans only appear in backstories. And, to Double Decker!‘s credit, it doesn’t use femininity itself as a device for weakness and aggregated emotional baggage, and has so far seemed self-aware in empowering both its female and androgynous characters.
Whether or not Doug sees Kirill as a surrogate Pat or not, he allows Kirill to act as an oracle of her will by suggesting she wouldn’t want him to get revenge, and at Pat’s grave, he suggests that the pair would probably have been friends.
Episode 7 was tapped to flesh out both Doug and Esperanza, though the latter of which still sits tenuously as a fairly generic mysterious evil organization. No matter how ruthless Good-Looking Joe was presented, he still crumbled easily under Doug’s advance. Doug, on the other hand, showed off his own sentimentality. After previous reports that Doug is a bit of a troll, we at least learned he was absolutely serious about his motivation being the eradication of poverty. The only problem with that is that this series is not really about poverty, though it serves as an emotional backdrop at times.
Ultimately, we haven’t really moved forward. I don’t mind filler of this sort, especially since it serves to solidify the characterization of the secondary protagonist. However, I’m a little worried that we don’t have time for this kind of sentimental lolligagging for a series only promised 13 episodes. At this point, we are over halfway done, and we still know next to nothing about Bamboo Man or Zabel, ostensibly our baddies. And while we know they’re dicks, their asshattery has really only affected NPCs at this point, which stunts their appeal as goalposts.
I’m really enjoying Double Decker!, but we have got to keep it moving if we want to churn a solid story out of the chaos, no matter how amusing the chaos may be.