It was never going to end well, was it? Ever since Mad Dogs‘ luckless quartet of middle-aged men touched down in Majorca, they’ve had to suffer through one set of horrendous events after another. Unexpected drug deals, homicidal dwarves in Tony Blair masks, and corpses in freezers have all put a serious downer on what began as a pleasant lads’ holiday.
With another dead body to dispose of, their villa surrounded by unseen murderers with sniper rifles and their fridge low on drinks (“What kind of idiot buys mini Cokes?” Rick asks), it’s looking increasingly unlikely that any of the four characters will make it back to England alive.
Max Beesley, whose character has been rather monosyllabic so far, finally gets a stand-out scene, and his monologue to Maria Botto’s enigmatic Spanish law enforcer is well acted, and marks the point in the episode where the show’s tone really begins to darken.
“Normal men avoid all forms of extended discussion at any costs. It’s in our DNA,” Rick says, in one of the episode’s better lines. Sadly, the characters spend rather too long engaged in extended discussion (or more accurately, bickering) here, and the arguments about Quinn’s affair with Rick’s wife are rather too prolonged.
It’s when Quinn and his friends apply their war paint and venture back out into the Spanish heat that the episode begins to apply its foot to the accelerator, at least a little. In what is surely a nod to Lord Of The Flies, the four oafs decide to face their persecutors head on, and make complete idiots of themselves in the process.
If nothing else, Mad Dogs has kept us guessing right to the bitter end. Is Maria really a cop, or is she an impostor, as Woody suggested? Just how are they going to get to the airport with three million euros’ worth of drug money in the boot of their hire car?
It’s disappointing, then, that Mad Dogs‘ conclusion is so unexpectedly flat. The major plot twist that the previous three-or-so hours appeared to allude to never arrives, and while I won’t spoil what happens, I couldn’t help but feel that, as the closing credits rolled on the whole saga, the tension and intrigue that had gradually built up in previous weeks had been allowed to slip away.
This is a pity, since Mad Dogs made the most of a great cast of well-known British actors, and managed, for the most part, to pull off the tricky feat of balancing both comedy and thriller elements in equal measure.
After such a well-crafted build up, the Mad Dogs holiday of errors ends on an oddly discordant, dissatisfying note. The show took us on an entertaining journey, only to end at a surprisingly bland destination.
Read our review of episode 3 review here.