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Mad Dogs: Series 3 Episode 4 (Finale) Review


Reviewed by James Wynne.

Mad Dogs concludes its third run with a faltering finale that owes much of its appeal to the individual performances of Phil, Max, John, Marc and, most of all, Stanley Townsend (The Shadow Line), as the hilariously barmy, ex-C.I.A. operative, Lazaro.

I can’t quite fathom why Chris Cole seems so intent on shoehorning repetitive quarrelsome antics into each and every instalment (barring Episode 2, where the lads were separated for almost the entire duration). It’s just become a ceaseless monotony of the series that occupies more time in any given episode than it really should. This episode’s altercations don’t even feel like a matter of course; the dialogue is specifically aimed at arousing some superficial animosity between the four of them, presumably so Chris Cole can fulfil his quota of one argument per episode (if you watched Mad Dogs: Behind the Madness, you’ll have learned that Rick and Bax supposedly butt heads so often at Marc Warren’s insistence).

With that said, it’s not all bad. Rick’s overzealous – and I suspect, somewhat insincere – attempt to reconcile with Bax is rather amusing, as is Bax’s aggressively mouthed, ‘F*ck off’, in response. Similarly, Quinn’s unwarranted assault on Woody cue’s a highly comical ‘What have I done?!’ from his bewildered victim. But the first quarter of this fourth and final episode is largely spent with the lads at each other’s throats; repeating the same accusations and antagonism we’ve seen ten times over by this point (even the ‘blame it all on Bax’ routine from the previous series crops up again).

It is with the entrance of the slightly crazed Lazaro that things finally pick up. This being Mad Dogs, the “C.I.A.” angle is typically and brilliantly humbled in its depiction. Whether it’s Lazaro’s dodgy internet server disconnecting him as he’s in the process of removing all records of “Operation Wimphammer”, or him offering the boys their freedom in exchange for them doing some household chores – the triviality of his aid, and indeed his disquieting state of slight delirium, throws a deftly humorous spin on the whole thing, and Stanley simply excels in all areas.


We are also treated to a gloriously psychedelic sequence of events, wherein a bout of golf is played during an eerie mergence of day and night; the murderous Tony ‘Tiny’ Blair makes a welcome, hallucinated reappearance; Woody engages in a bongo jam in the middle of the desert; Bax experiences firsthand the beginnings of a beastly devolution; and Rick learns the literal folly of “giving” one’s heart to another – Chris Cole crafts a superb consecution of drug induced lunacy that wholly encapsulates the aberrant ethos of Mad Dogs.

Unfortunately, the episode ends in much the same fashion as it begins; poorly. The daunting presence of the Tokoloshe (the ‘Dwarf Zombie’ that’s been harassing Rick) turns out to be an omen of Lazaro’s death – which one can’t help but see as a mild cop-out. Mercedes’ arrival on the scene was abhorrently convenient as well. Whilst the character has been an amusing presence thus far, it’s rather frustrating that she figures into things as nothing more than a plot device to save the lads just in the nick of time. Likewise, the simplification of her entering ‘all targets eliminated’ into Lazaro’s computer without some sort of password being required beggars belief.

Verdict: 7/10

If it were a sandwich, it would be one with a delicious filling enveloped by stale bread. What’s in between a poor beginning and end is some of the most enjoyable Mad Dogs material over the last three series, and Townsend’s Lazaro is surely the best supporting character to have featured during that time (an honour previously held by David Warner’s Mackenzie).

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  • Cyberdan99

    Another great series and a great episode too, but I have to agree, the ending was a bit too convenient. Also, loved the bit where they were all drugged – when it finished I just said to myself: “What the hell just happened?!” (I was especially surprised at the rip-out-heart thing!)

  • PK-S

    A very good review, James – you have a real métier in the field of reviewing and I love your style. I would attempt to pinpoint your exact ‘style’ but its hard to describe really. Anyway I have thoroughly enjoyed your reviews of this series of Mad Dogs – even though I didn’t see it myself – and I can’t wait for your next projects. What will your next venture be?

  • EternalDoctor

    A great review, James! Your enlivening and varied language coupled with professionalism as a reviewer is a winsome combo. I commend your ability to review rigidly when it’s called for.

    There’s not much I can say about the episode as I wholly agree with your viewpoint this time. It concluded on a dismal note and, although I’m still excited about the final two-parter, it was disappointing on quite a few levels. I sincerely wished there was a few shocks in store!

    On a side-note; what became of your review for Badlands?

  • The Questor

    Series 3 hasn’t impressed me. I came in with high expectations, expectations that weren’t met, leaving me naturally disappointed. It hasn’t been good as the previous two.

    Episode 4 wasn’t a good ending. Compare it to the endings of Series 1 and 2, and it is sadly lacking behind them. Apart from Lazaro and the hallucinations, I`m struggling to think of things that I enjoyed. 6/10.

    This series has been too predicable and repetitive at times for me, with the arguments being the most constant thing throughout the twelve episodes. It’s still been good, and enjoyable, but it all felt a bit dragged out to be honest. Overall, episode 2 is my favourite. Maybe it’s because it’s a little bit different, I don’t know. But it’s certainly been the best.

  • medwards07

    Could someone please tell what that haunting tripping song/music Lazaro was performing was?


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