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Mad Dogs: Series 3 Episode 3 Review


Reviewed by James Wynne.

Mad Dogs’ penultimate third series outing is a calamitous resumption of the lads’ ongoing plight, as the lid is lifted on the falsehood of Bax’s discoveries, and they once again find themselves fleeing from the authorities, and negotiating a desolate landscape, with nothing to do but play the blame game and reflect on the woefulness of their situation.

The recommencement of incessant bickering between the characters all but nullifies the spirited reunification of last week’s episode. Some of the hostility also seems born out of circumstances we see very little of (e.g. Rick’s accusation that Woody’s repeated insistences to remain together are mere products of the guilt he’s ridden with for leaving Rick in the first episode – though Rick accuses him of it on the one and only occasion of Woody shunning the prospect of them all splitting up). Whilst the strife between its principal characters has always been present in Mad Dogs, here it once again feels like a cursory and unnecessary occurrence, as it did in the first episode with Quinn and Bax’s coming together, and the disunity is somewhat dispiriting in wake of last week’s concluding events.

Rick’s antagonism is rooted in the festering sense of abandonment that’s plagued him for the last two years (well, that and the fact he’s always been a rather inimical chap), and one must presume that the tribal beastie he’s envisioning is a product of the same cause. Eagle-eyed viewers (or merely eyed viewers; it wasn’t that hard to spot, I suppose) will have no doubt caught the glimpse of a book in Rick’s abode, full of images of his bestial tormenter. This rules it out as being an exclusive imagining of Rick’s mind, and lends credence to the notion that it is the infamous South African omen of death; the ‘Dwarf Zombie’. The forebode of death(s) on the horizon it represents is an enticing prospect for the final episode to fulfil. Whether it will is another matter.

Meanwhile, this episode proved the funniest of the run thus far. Watching the lads’ purchased barge float downriver at the back of shot, whilst they remained oblivious, was akin to the sort of skit you might have seen on Mr. Bean – a misfortunate hilarity. Likewise, the playful pugnacity of Mercedes (Jaime Winstone) was the perfect, comical antipode to the quarrelling of Quinn, Woody, Baxter and Rick. Chuck in a bout of ‘masturbation misdirection’, as a slow camera pan downwards reveals what is actually Rick’s futile attempts to cut loose his tag, and you’ve got the greatest helping of comedy this series has managed to dish up.

Verdict: 8/10

This episode’s sole downfall is the immediate resurfacing of the lads’ animosity towards one another. It’s a shame Chris Cole hasn’t capitalised on the opportunity to rejuvenate the stale, argumentative dynamic of his main characters.

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  • The Magician

    I’ve just watched Episode 2 of Series 1 (I’m quite slow) and I really enjoyed it. It’s very entertaining TV – anything good to expect from the rest of the series (I have Series 1 and 2 now)?

    • Cyberdan99

      I’ve watched an episode a day now from Series 1 Episode 1 and have just watched Series 3 Episode 1. Honestly, it’s perfection and possibly the best programme I’ve seen for a while. There’s a lot of twists and some great character developments. And when David Warner comes in it gets really funny!

    • GoodYear92

      Yes, the finale of Series 1 is one of the best episodes Mad Dogs has produced (if not the best). The cliffhanger is sublime; you’ll love it.

      • EternalDoctor

        I immediately rushed to the ensuing series after watching that game-changing cliffhanger.

        • GoodYear92

          I wish I’d been able to do that! It was so long after Series 1 ended that Series 2 aired, I’d completely forgotten about it, and had to then wait until the release of it on DVD before I could finally find out what happened.

          • EternalDoctor

            I’ve been watching them online (I live in Norway) so I just typed and clicked hastily to move onto the next series.

          • The Magician

            I have both, so I’m quite lucky that I can literally move straight onto the next one at the click of a button.

  • EternalDoctor

    Yet another terrific review, James! Keep up the great work.

    I personally felt that this was quite a stale episode and a rehash of old elements. The focal problem is the bickering, as you mentioned, but also that fact they’re running away yet again. After they came out of hiding, I wanted the dynamic to be jolted up a little bit. It’s just too familiar in my opinion.

    That’s not to say it wasn’t a good episode though, but I expect more from this series. Perhaps the reason for this episode feeling like a rehash is just because I (finally!) finished watching the other episodes a few days back. Anyways, I highly anticipate the finale.

    • GoodYear92

      Thanks! You’re too kind!

      Yeah, it did feel like a retread in many ways, I admit, but I still really enjoyed it for some reason (besides the repititious arguing – that’s getting on my nerves, big time). I seem to be unique in that respect, though, as most seem to feel as you do about this episode, including Jamie.

      • EternalDoctor

        At least the prospect of the finale is looking good. The fact that somebody is envisioned to die along the journey is daunting and I have an underlying hunch that it’s going to be Woody. Mostly due to his dialogue with the little kid.

        On an unrelated note – are the Falling Skies reviews going to be in tandem with the UK airings now? I’ve watched Badlands (online, as usual) and, whilst it’s an improvement from the premiere; it’s still nothing amazing in my opinion.

        • GoodYear92

          Yeah, and from what I’ve read of how events in the finale will lead into the fourth and final series, it’s clear something big is about to go down. Woody’s death seems like a solid bet, I suppose. I’ll be gutted if that’s it, though, as he’s my favourite of the four of them.

          Not if I can help it. I’ve had trouble downloading “Badlands” (e.g. stalled downloads and corrupted copies), and I can’t stream it online, for various reasons. Jamie’s helping me by uploading his own copy for me to download tonight, so that should mean a review of it tomorrow, if all goes to plan.

          That’s a shame about it not being much of an improvement on the premiere. We tend to agree on Falling Skies, so I’ve no doubt I’ll feel the same as you.


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