Partial recap with a few slight spoilers.
Four guys get off a plane in Belize. We know next to nothing about them, other than apparently these early 40 somethings used to know each other back in the day. There’s a limo waiting for them, and the limo driver waits placidly holding up a sign that says ‘LOSERS’. This is how the pilot for the Amazon Series Mad Dogs begins.
They’re driven out into the countryside to a huge and fabulous beachfront villa. This place has a serious electronic gate and a top of the line security system. It is isolated and the nearest neighbor is 4 miles up the coast. Not bad at all for a beachfront pad.
I should probably bring forth some introductions. Billy Zane plays Milo. He’s the big success story of the group and the owner of the villa. It was on his ‘dime’ that the foursome arrived. He had invited his friends to join him in this venture years back, but none of them took him up on it. There’s a brief non-explanation by Milo of how he got to where he is, but in reality – you don’t know any more about that after you’ve heard his explanation than you did before the explanation. As he puts it to the other guys – You made your choices. I made mine.
Now that may be a hint of something seriously shady, but we don’t get any depth on that in the pilot.
Michael Imperioli plays Lex, not a name you hear in use much these days. We don’t get much info on him in the pilot other than he’s grounded and serious, and works at fitting in and enjoying himself.
Steve Zahn plays Cobi and he seems the least grounded. On their first night on the town, he’s the only one that comes home with a woman, and then has wild, loud, and raucous sex with her. Of course he’s married.
Romany Malco plays Gus. He’s the one that is seemingly kind of running scared. He’s in the midst of a big-time custody battle with his soon-to-be ex-wife. He’s the one that comes off as having the most to lose.
Ben Chaplin plays Joel. He’s a serious dude, and apparently is the most honest, or at least, the one most likely to tell it as it is, and how he sees it – and pays little heed to the consequences of speaking bluntly and frankly. He is also the one who least trusts not only Milo, but the rest of the group as well.
As I said earlier, we don’t really get much on these five characters. The fours guys arrive, they have drinks and sit around. That night they go out to a club and it is a high energy kind of club – with exotic people and a crowded dance floor.
Milo runs in to a guy he knows, and it looks like there’s no buddy-buddy thing going on between them.
This guy says he’s going to send something over the next day, and sure enough a parcel arrives. We don’t get to see the contents of the parcel. Milo seems to blow it off as unimportant saying it is just some paperwork from his deal.
Later, something else is discovered. It turns out to be a dead goat in Milo’s pool.
It must mean something – kind of like the fish wrapped in newspaper in The Godfather. To make sure we understand, some one else says – Of course it means something. Waddya think – the goat decided to take a dip in the pool then got some severe cramps and drowned?
Of course Milo understands the message. Only he’s not going to share that with us. He tells his pals be ready for an excursion on a boat tomorrow. Bring a bathing suit too. So off they go on this multi-million dollar 40 foot pleasure boat. Only it isn’t his. Gus: You say you stole this boat. Cobi: You just implicated us in piracy.
But, Milo says, He’s only ‘borrowing’ the boat. Now to you and I, and the four amigos. it looks like stealing. But he says, We’re just going to leave the boat somewhere so it won’t be easy to find. Schoolyard rules down here. When someone pushes you, you push back.
Of course – there are repercussions. We wouldn’t watch the show without repercussions, would we?
Which brings us to a key question. Amazon will roll out the rest of the full series on January 22nd. Should you watch it?
Here’s what I think. There’s a game plan that called for most of the key information to be withheld from us in the pilot. While the characters are not blank slates – we don’t know a lot about them. They’ve set us up in Belize (not really – it is actually Puerto Rico), and there’s plenty of the exotic to attract us. The home with its Jacuzzi for 10, its fire pits, and only steps from the sea.
There’s sex to be had, and even if Steve Zahn as Cobi was the only one to indulge, I think there will be more. The dead goat in the pool is certainly symbolic. As was the key part of the repercussion. A guy in a cat’s head comes in with a gun, and apparently – one doesn’t mess with him.
While the location certainly looks like a vacation paradise – one can conclude by the end of the pilot that this is not a safe place. Count me in for the rest of the episodes which begin streaming on January 22nd.
Check out the trailer: