‘Mad Dogs’: Series 3 finale review

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More of that guy later. The finale kicks off continuing the bickering that plagued the previous episode with Baxter taking Rick, Woody and Quinn to task on their current lifestyles. Turning on himself the bespectacled character states they’re all “living a lie,” shortly before the four indulge in some actual physical fighting.

It’s around this moment that you’re probably wondering why you’re watching, as the tedium of witnessing them fight has really sunk in. It’s odd to think Baxter (played so annoyingly under-the-skin irritating by John Simm) actually wanted to get the gang back together so recently, now only to find he detests them more than ever.

It takes the appearance of mysterious and friendly stranger Lazaro, played so creepily by Stanley Townsend (The Shadow Line), to bring the boys together as he offers them their freedom by expunging their files with the CIA. All he wants in return is his laundry done. As an audience, our Spidey-senses are all already tingling but Lazaro, a man who people have been trying to kill for over twenty years and arms rebels, seems genuinely friendly, giving the foursome peyote – an hallucinogenic fruit.

This gives way to a typically off-beat Mad Dogs drug trip where the runaways each go on their separate and rather disparate journeys (fans will note the return of the Tony Blair mask from the first series). As a backdrop to this, unbeknownst to them, their files have, in fact, been reinstated through a remote log-in from Maria Gonzalez (who fans will remember was shot, presumed dead, in the first series).

The explosive final moments certainly ramp up the tension expertly as Lazaro turns on them with a machine gun, giving way to an hilarious scene where Baxter, Rick, Woody and Quinn assail their would-be killer, repeatedly hitting Lazaro with a frying pan (eventually rendering him unconscious). But it would be Rick who saved the day with the return of the Dwarf Zombie (or Tokoloshe), who let him know that they hadn’t seen the last of Lazaro.

And if that weren’t enough, and just when you think that a fourth series isn’t on the cards, in comes their soldier guide Mercedes (Jaime Winstone) to save “Wimphammer” (the name given to the four men by the CIA) by shooting Lazaro.

Despite all the excitement, there’s disappointingly very little going on in the episode. The promise of a ride home is heart-warming (though how long until the bickering begins?), as are the most unusual final moments of Rick bidding farewell to his Tokoloshe, and then turning to his friends in a helicopter as they flee the scene with an almost doom-laden look in his eye.

Though most of the episode, like the rest of Mad Dogs, is beautifully shot by director Adrian Shergold, the use of the computer in this instalment is laughably poor, looking like something out of a mid-‘90s action flick. It’s a distracting bad decision to have it so blatant and unrealistic (there’s even relentless beeping noises, just so you know it’s a computer!).

Anyway, with a fourth series already filmed, it will be interesting to see where the show goes next – physically but also in sense of the characters. Quinn and Woody seem destined to stay in South Africa, having both found love.

This series has been a real mixed bag, with much repetition throughout though. Having said that, seeing Simm, Glenister, Warren and Beesley on screen is always a treat. Let’s just hope writer and creator Cris Cole can deliver the goods for the final series.

Aired at 9pm on Tuesday 25 June 2013 on Sky1.

> Buy the Series 1-2 boxset on Amazon.

> Order Series 3 on DVD on Amazon.

Watch the trailer…

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