5 Point Discussions – Double Decker 13: “And Then There Weren’t None”

by Sage Ashford

With Doug incapacitated and Kirill’s brother taken hostage, is there any hope for team SEVEN-O? Remember, if you like this article and 5 Point Discussions, please share it on Facebook or Twitter! It really helps. And if you’ve got any comments or questions, please hit me up @SageShinigami.

1. It was obvious from the end of last episode everything was going according to plan, but I’ll give them credit here–the plan was a bit more detailed than they let us in on or hinted at. After Doug goes down from the gunshot wound, Kirill and Valery are forced to go back with Cooper, where he activates a self destruct for the building and signals it to be bombed by jet fighters after they’ve left. With thirty minutes to go, Kirill tries to attack Cooper with a spare shot of the anti-virus and gets rebuffed, but while he’s distracted Valery successfully injects him with a different shot before running away.

As Cooper realizes his advantage has started to fade, Kirill points out how he didn’t even need the special Anthem dose Doug brought that they left behind.  Cooper rushes to take it, and once he does he transforms into a giant, roided out monster. At this point, the rest of the SEVEN-O group decide to confront him, but their weapons are unable to inflict any damage.  …Until Cooper starts to lose control, and they point out he was neither cured originally nor did he take a special Anthem–he simply has two doses of Anthem inside him, sending him into Overdose.  With that, an awakening Doug is able to “cure” him with a dose of Anti-AMS weaponry once and for all, leaving him incapacitated.

2. There was a brief moment I thought they’d let Doug die. Not when Cooper shot him, but when he and Kirill are escaping. Kirill talking about how they were about to have a happy ending felt like something he was saying only to have the happy part stripped away from viewers.

But after all the congratulatory stuff about Doug being someone who could literally save the world but would still clock out at 5PM, I realized it wasn’t really the show for that. It was a striking image to see him trick Kirill into escaping after an explosion knocked both of them down, only for the smoke to clear and reveal he was trapped under rubble–but Double Decker was never that kind of show. Having another explosion jar him loose and propel him into mid-air to be rescued fits the madcap vibe of this series much better.

3. In SEVEN-O’s rush to escape the builiding, they’re forced to leave Brian Cooper behind when he runs away. This feels like an unsettling loose end for a show which might not even get another season, but not to worry. Before his HQ completely collapsed, he runs into Zabel Franken, who followed the cops there and infiltrated after everyone evacuated. With Cooper defenseless, he shoots him in both legs to make it impossible to run away.  The last thing we see of them both is Zabel shoving his gun into Cooper’s mouth, pointing out he warned him about the dangers of wasting food. It’s pretty clear Cooper’s dead here (this is double confirmed later) but it’s up in the air whether Zabel escaped, presumably in case they want to do a second season.

4. Sucker as I am for happy endings, this felt like a mistake. In the second half of the episode Yuri’s shown piloting the helicopter everyone gets on to escape, then we get a convoluted explanation from our narrator about how Travis had already copied Yuri’s core data because of an “accident”  he had a while back. We’ve been seeing clone Yuri over real Yuri for several episodes now, and it was this clone we saw sacrifice themselves.

This invalidates the stance the series seemed to take about copying an AI’s data being morally wrong, and it’s hard not to wonder why they even did it in the first place. The show already had one fake death, did it need another? Unless they wanted to pretend like the entire team was dead, which could’ve been done without the moralizing of a few episodes ago. To bring her back just because it’s the end of the series comes off as cheap.

5. Final Thoughts: I don’t think I’ve ever seen a series be so meticulous in the construction of its storytelling come out to be so meh. That’s not to say Double Decker is bad, or even mediocre–it’s a good series, especially compared to a lot of what aired in 2018.  But whether it’s from a lack of episodes to give more development or whatever, it’s never quite “excellent”. Generally that’s not a criticism I would levy at a series–it’s hard for a show to be excellent when it’s the product of so many different people–but in Double Decker’s case you can tell every step of the storyline was deliberate. This episode is packed with call backs from prior cases, from Max’s case at the high school all the way back to episode four when they first showed Doug was a prankster.  There’s even a reference to the first episode when we see Doug trapped and unable to finish his job, needing Kirill to help him out.

The people on this project were very good at setting things up and paying them off, but everything never quite came together in a way to make me love the show the way I would other series. Maybe it really is the episode count–the narrator was constantly pushing us forward, reminding us we couldn’t waste too much time on scenes or developing these characters.  Blood Blockade Battlefront, a similar urban sci-fi series, gave its characters time to develop and viewers a chance to breathe in the atmosphere of the world. Even often feeling like it was meandering rather than pushing towards a goal, it was a much stronger show for it. Double Decker was just all about the cases from jump, and even if it was going somewhere interesting it couldn’t get there in the 13 episodes it was given.

Still, in a medium where fanservice is far too common, and every other series seems to be trying to anthropomorphize refrigerators as teenage girls, this stands out just for not playing into too many of the most worn anime tropes.  It’s by no means legendary, but it earns a spot on the Anime Series You Can Show to Newcomers list, which is far shorter than any of us would like to admit.

Double Decker is available on Crunchyroll and Funimation.

Sage Ashford

A writer with way too many hobbies, Sage can often be found catching up on the latest anime, or reading a stack of comics between Wednesdays and Thursdays.

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