Best of three, anyone?
A reasonable pace, a mystery that wasn’t completely clichéd and some laugh-out-loud moments; it was definitely third time lucky for Zen, although this was still a long way away from brilliant.
Centring around the kidnap of Ruggiero Miletti, a wealthy industrialist (I don’t quite know exactly what that means but it involves connections to the Minister, obviously), there were some nice twists and turns and I enjoyed this a lot more than episodes 1 and 2, but Zen’s relationship with Tanya remained unconvincing and awkward, and took up a great deal too much time. The man had more chemistry with Georgio and with Moscati than with his supposed secret girlfriend.
In spite of that, though, the one-dimensional Tanya still wasn’t quite as ridiculous as the moody Miletti children. Despite being, I assume, in their twenties, the combination of hair, make-up and pouting meant they came across as parodically sulky emo types who should have been wandering along school corridors playing depressing tunes on their iPods. Throw in the weirdly incestuous vibe between them and the combination of creepy and comical was just bizarre.
Less bizarre, but much more annoying, was the new Chief of Detectives, whose principal passion seemed to be an almost insane hatred of Zen. There didn’t seem to be any real basis for his obsession with bringing our man down, just a load of ranting and stereotype, with characterisation so thin it made even Fabri look like a well-rounded kind of guy. Er….well done?
The main disappointment this week, though, was Zen himself. So many people queuing up to tell us he was incorruptible in weeks 1 and 2, and yet this week he became a thief, an extortionist and a liar, just like the rest of them. In a good cause? Maybe, but disappointing none the less. I guess the point was that the only way to get ahead is to play the system and that no one is immune from that, no matter what their reputation is, but it would have taken a better show to make that point properly and with a bit more focus on the emotional consequences for Zen himself, who, frankly, didn’t seem all that bothered.
It’s not clear whether there will be a second series, and whether we’ll learn about those consequences, but I’m not all that bothered either. I stuck with this first run partly out of an “I’ve started so I’ll finish” mentality, and partly due to the hiatus but I think Unpopcult and Zen will be parting ways here.