Returning to the Republic (of Doyle)

SUCH a long wait for our boy Jake to return. Was it worth it? Oh yeah! So worth it.

In the third season premiere of Republic of Doyle, we picked up a little while after the events of the second season finale with Rose and Mal returning from a well-deserved Jamaican honeymoon/holiday, Leslie bumped to traffic duty, Des back in school, Tinny off in London, and Jake a loose cannon detective.

In fairly short order, Jake is shanghaied into a protection detail that goes sideways, making him look like a bad cop who killed a witness, but TV 101 followers of procedurals know pretty quickly who in fact is behind the trigger. In the middle of that, Jake ends up on the radar of what he thinks is a band of thieves, led by one Mr. Russell Crowe.

He assumes they’re thieves because he has a run-in with one of them, Jimmy (Scott Grimes), doing surveillance (before Jake accidentally drops him off a parking garage) and then again as a group when they descend upon him just as his witness is killed, looking for the briefcase to which the witness was tethered. Just as Mal and Rose return from holiday, they see Jake plastered all over the TV as armed and dangerous so they fall quickly back into their PI ways. Des gets involved, too, and is kidnapped for his troubles.

There’s a lot of bad guy posturing and misdirection after they kidnap Jake and Des, and it all turns out to be an elaborate ruse—the team are members of a task force and they’re looking for the briefcase because its contents can help them figure out who killed one of their agents (who was the wife of one of the crew, Donny, played by Kevin Durand). Jake gets read in, helps unmask the newly-hired captain as the bad guy, and Boyd (Crowe) leaves him with a thanks and a job offer. We also find out that Wolf (Alan Doyle) from last season was undercover when Jake met him.

After a little prodding from Rose, Leslie detours from her traffic-directing assignment to help Jake and ends up implicated as the assassin, but Jake secures her return to her sergeant position and gets her a clean slate on the charges incurred when he stole her access badge. In the only false note of the entire episode, they all reconvene at the pub and Leslie seems to be warm to the idea that she and Jake will be partners, but when he tells her he’s resigning instead, she goes off on him and tears out of the bar. Jake’s left scratching his head and so was I.

In last week’s episode, we had the welcome return of Nicholas Campbell as Rose’s ex-husband, Martin, and the lovely Shannon Tweed, playing Frances, a fence he bilked out of cash and a truck. When Martin heads to Rose’s for the money he left her last season, Frances follows. Ever the bumbler, Martin kidnaps Rose and then Frances catches up to them.

There’s also the job of the week where the Doyles and Des are working repo and stumble onto a counterfeit case. Des gets hit by a car and then gets flirty with a doctor only to find out that Tinny never left St John’s. In addition to Tweed and Campbell, we had a couple of familiar faces in character actors Theresa Joy and Noah Danby, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that the lovely Mr. Hawco was completely starkers in one scene.

Needless to say, Jake saves the day, Frances and the counterfeiters go down, and Martin is sent packing (after Mal drugs him to make up for his drugging Rose). Leslie happens through and chews on Jake a little bit more and gets a little too close to home with him about how he causes collateral damage to the people closest to him. There’s definitely something there we haven’t been told. I’m voting that she’s pregnant by the former mayor, but that’s just my vibe. I have no spoilers.

As for the show’s return, they are gleefully firing on all cylinders. The Merry Men in the premiere fit in perfectly. When we had the chance to speak with Hawco last fall, he was so complimentary of the boys, and with good reason. I mean this in the absolute highest regard—you wouldn’t know they were Big Stars because of their roles. Hawco wrote them with the same humor, affection, and respect he treats all his guesters. I’m sure he was kicking himself later that he had less time with Tweed in her episode. She looked like she was having a ball with a shotgun.

I liked that the upending of everyone at the conclusion of last season was a bit of a fakeout and that the band is still very much together. This is such a great cast so I don’t want to see anyone leave yet (or at all). I’m so looking forward to this season. I just hope we sort out Leslie’s drama soon. Her Defcon level of pissed off is out of sync with what Jake did/what we know. And she’s not an unreasonable character, so there’s something going on there. Let’s get to it and then past it.

Republic of Doyle airs Wednesdays at 9 pm on CBC, and you can catch the first two episodes of the season online.

Photo Courtesy of CBC

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