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Republic of Doyle’s Allan Hawco, left, and Krystin Pellerin. (Duncan de Young)
Republic of Doyle’s Allan Hawco, left, and Krystin Pellerin. (Duncan de Young)

JOHN DOYLE

Buckle up tight for Republic of Doyle’s rollicking season-ender Add to ...

Far be it from me to speculate about your taste and the vital importance of Michael Bublé hosting the Juno Awards (see below) but I’d guess that for a lot of people the big deal this weekend is the two-hour season finale of Republic of Doyle (Sunday, CBC, 8 p.m.).

Yes, boys and girls, it takes two hours of thrills and spills to wrap up the season. And what a mad, wild ride it is, without a Bublé to be seen.

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Things open with Jake Doyle (Allan Hawco) visiting the hoosegow to have a word with his nemesis Crocker (Paul Gross) who, as constant viewers will know, is Tinny’s (Marthe Bernard) dad. On an unrelated matter, Crocker makes a point of telling Jake, “I did not murder that hooker!” To which Jake replies, ‘Maybe you shoulda thoughta that before you started acting all murdery.” This will mystify people who haven’t watched all season, but you’ll catch up, no worries.

Also in the hoosegow is Jake’s other nemesis, the crafty crime kingpin Becker (Gordon Pinsent). Becker tells Jake ominously, “I’ve been cooking up something really special for you. …” Next thing you know, it’s jail break! Jail break! Yep, the criminals are out and they’re all going after Tinny.

One thing leads to another. (Or in the parlance of the setting, “Wan ting leads to an udder.”) St. John’s looks lovely, even in the snow and slush. There are car chases galore, fist fights and fellas threatening other fellas like there was no tomorrow. There is an attempted robbery of The Duke pub by that idiot Gossad (Joel Tomas Hynes, who’s great), which goes awry. Des frets about Tinny. Malachy Doyle (Sean McGinley) frets about Jake. Rose (Lynda Boyd) frets about everybody and Leslie (Krystin Pellerin) tries to think about moving to Ottawa but, what with all the criminals on the loose, there’s hardly time.

In the second hour there is fine comedy business as Jake and Crocker tool around St. John’s in a car, bickering, and both Gross and Hawco enjoy themselves tremendously. Pinsent towers over everything, calm as ice. There is a bit where he’s in a car with Jake and Crocker. “This is nice,” he announces airily. “Three generations of outlaws on the open road.”

Republic of Doyle, renewed for next season, and soon going into syndication on the U.S. market, has suffered somewhat, in attention and ratings, from airing on Sundays this season. The competition is fierce – The Walking Dead, Girls, Mad Men, Game of Thrones. And it was pre-empted twice, for skating and the Canadian Screen Awards. But it hasn’t suffered in quality – it’s fast-paced, witty, old-fashioned fun. Like the Junos, in that it’s chock-full of Canadian talent, but without a Bublé.

Also airing this weekend

Mary and Martha (Saturday, HBO, 8 p.m.) is a nice “cause” movie. It has American Mary (Hilary Swank) and Englishwoman Martha (Brenda Blethyn) meeting in Africa after both lost sons to malaria. United in grief, they begin pressing the U.S. government to help fight the preventable disease. It’s written by Richard Curtis (Love Actually, Four Weddings and a Funeral), co-founder of the U.K. charity Comic Relief, which raises funds to fight malaria, among other causes.

The 2013 Juno Awards (Sunday, CTV, 8 p.m.) is live from Regina. There are performances by host Michael Bublé, Carly Rae Jepsen, Billy Talent, Marianas Trench, The Sheepdogs, Hannah Georgas, Serena Ryder, k.d. lang and Metric. Such is CTV’s admiration for Bublé that he also gets profiled on W5 (Saturday, CTV, 7 p.m.).

Remember Sunday (Sunday, ABC, 9 p.m.) is a Hallmark movie, so expect it to end with feel-good emotions running wild. The gist is this: “Suffering from short-term memory loss, a man falls in love with the same waitress every day. A lonely, down-on-her-luck waitress meets a handsome, quirky jewellery store clerk and thinks that maybe, finally, she’s met Mr. Right. The more Molly (Alexis Bledel) gets to know Gus (Zachary Levi), the more she’s intrigued by him. But she’s also mystified. Is he hiding something?” Well, yeah. Speaking of memory – don’t forget that the terrific, Canadian made sci-fi drama Continuum is back for a new season (Sunday, Showcase, 9 p.m.).

All times ET. Check local listings.

Follow on Twitter: @MisterJohnDoyle

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