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Dan For Mayor, “The Return of Wheel-O” (1.13)

“I’m gonna be mayor.” – Dan


The first season of this Canadian hit winds to a close. Can the show offer a strong conclusion to a relatively weak season?  A review of the episode, written by Mark Farrell, Paul Mather & Kevin White and directed by Ron Murphy after the jump…

The finale wasn’t necessarily Dan at its best, but it was a good closing to a mildly funny story, with some fun characters. I knew from the pilot that this season could only end with Dan winning the mayorship, especially when the show was renewed for a second season, and yet I was very happy with how it accomplished it.

Dan’s journey to mayor got its first real boost with a death (that of former mayor Bud), and he earned his win thanks to a death (the former MP); the return of that twist element made this season come full circle nicely. Is there anything more appropriate than Dan to win at the moment he realises he doesn’t want to, giving his victory speech to a crowd of Vargas supporters? The show had some pretty good scenes (the opening, with both considering why the other wouldn’t want Dan to go to Vancouver, the voting sequence, the Vargas victory sequence were all pretty good), and was overall one of Dan‘s better episodes.

Though I’ve been hard on the show in this first season, I do think that the second season has a mountain of potential, to the point where this first season seems but a pilot. Dan winning gives them an opportunity to clean house: this episode ends with Dan having little reason to interact with any series regulars short of Paul Bates‘ Jeff and, if she stays in Wessex, Mary Ashton‘s Claire. Placing Suzanne Coy‘s Anita Vargas as MP also means she can stick around, either fulltime or recurring (not sure how often the mayor and MP would interact). As those three are the strongest of the ensemble (except, of course, Laurie Murdoch), I’m rather happy about that.

I’d like to see the show dump the characters played by Benjamin Ayres and Agam Darshi (though Darshi worked better here than previously) going into season 2, as well as take on a bit of pace. I’d love to see Dan overwhelmed but trying; much as Chuck Bartowski slowly improves as a spy over the seasons, Dan For Mayor will feel hollow if we don’t see him grow, at least a little in season 2 as mayor.

All in all, though the show was often weak, I enjoyed the first season, and am very much looking forward to season two. Onwards!

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