This review contains spoilers.
For most of us, a bad holiday will immediately conjure up images of leaking toilets, dodgy Greek salads or a cancelled flight. For the luckless group of individuals in Mad Dogs, however, their trip to the sunny climes of Majorca has been doomed almost from the start.
Within hours of arriving on the island, the group’s old friend, Alvo, has been gunned down, they’ve unwittingly stolen a boat, engaged in a drug deal, and as of last week, have ended up with a corpse in a fridge and a female policeman hot on their trail.
This week’s episode continues along similarly surreal lines. There are arguments and recriminations, signs that the Serbian mafia are closing in on them and, to cap it all, a terrifying, vertically challenged assassin in a closet.
Mad Dogs‘ now familiar weekly entertainment comes almost entirely from watching Philip Glenister, Marc Warren and friends attempt to dig their way out of trouble, only to make matters even worse.
The ever-present corpse of Alvo is dragged several miles across country. The lads hope to leave it on the purloined boat from episode one, but one of its feet is lost in the process. Then a pleasure cruiser comes looming out of the darkness, playing Aqua’s Barbie Girl at a deafening volume.
“That’s arguably the most surreal thing that’s ever happened in my life,” someone observes, as around a dozen women wave drunkenly from across the water.
It’s in moments like these that writer Cris Cole’s storytelling comes to life. Mad Dogs‘ quieter scenes, where Glenister and Warren swap gloomy anecdotes about love and ageing, are lifted by the quality of the cast, but the exchanges are rather too familiar to be truly affecting.
Mad Dogs is at its best when it’s at its most absurd. The script springs to life in its more heated moments, with brilliantly oblique lines like “Maybe she killed Jesus!” and “We’re a foot light!”
And with the gangsters closing in and their captive, diminutive assassin suffering an unexpected, chilly fate, the next episode of Mad Dogs looks like it’ll be even more strange and anarchic than this one.