This Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency review contains spoilers.
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency Season 2 Episode 1
How does a show like Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency manage to transform itself from sci-fi to fantasy, remind viewers of several loose ends from season 1, give an update as to everyone’s scattered whereabouts, introduce interesting new characters, and allow time for several deeply emotional moments? It doesn’t seem possible, but the season 2 premiere managed to do just that. As ridiculous as the opening scene was with its pink-haired, scissor-sword fighting prince and talk of prophecies involving Dirk Gently, it framed the rest of the episode so enticingly (along with the mystical ending) that viewers are now ravenous with anticipation for the season ahead.
The eagerness is somewhat disorienting since none of the characters are in a particularly happy place in this opening episode. Even Friedkin, who garners no sympathy for having perpetrated the separation of many of our beloved characters, seems to be bored at Blackwing confronting so many codenamed subjects who do absolutely nothing worthy of exploitation. But even that is part of the charm, especially when Friedkin asks Ken what the dog does. His desperation is delightful!
Gotta feel sorry for Ken, though. If it weren’t for the companionship of Rapunzel the corgi, he’d be quite lonely in that cab, and who’s even walking that dog anyway? Plus, one of the most painful aspects of this episode, perhaps even more painful than Dirk’s imprisonment, is that Ken is not with Bart, or Project Marzana as Friedkin calls her. It’s hard to blame Friedkin for wondering why Ken is the only one Bart never killed. If he only knew…
Meanwhile, Bart’s encounter with the unlucky secretary, Suzanne, was quite triumphant, likely eliciting cheers from the viewing audience as she took out the goons. How could anyone not love Bart when she declares, “I think sometimes when you’re killing people, they don’t like it. It makes them unhappy and scared and also dead.” Her plaintive request for Suzanne to come with her and be best friends was downright endearing.
Speaking of Suzanne, she may have already overtaken Todd as the most beleaguered character in Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency. The men in her life are simply horrible: her monstrous son, her absentee husband, and her abusive boss… and now the Mage appears, played with slimy aplomb by John Hannah, to dispatch her boss with a sharpened pencil but perhaps place her in even more danger moving forward. Hopefully the incident with the wand is indicative of unexpected power that will pull Suzanne out of the hole she’s in.
Listen to our Samuel Barnett interview on the October 2017 Sci Fi Fidelity podcast (at 49:02):
Hopefully the same will be true of the one bit of magic that finally showed up for Todd in the form of a red car inexplicably plummeting to Earth. Doubt was beginning to creep in as he tried to follow random clues like the space rabbit referred to in the episode title because even though, as he tells Farah, it’s gotten them this far, she rightfully answers, “It got us this far in relation to what?” It was sad to watch him flounder without Dirk, even if he does technically deserve his attacks of pararibulitis.
We must spare some worry for the Rowdy 3 as we’re shown that Vogle is the only one currently accompanying Amanda. Whether the other three have been captured by Blackwing remains to be seen, but like most of the other character arcs in this episode, it’s disconcerting to see groups separated this way. Viewers should be slightly heartened to see that Amanda has gained a power of sorts, unhelpful as her visions might be as they become shorter and more vague. Freeze-framed screenshots might actually yield results for the dedicated fan.
Getting hints of Dirk’s back story was also uplifting despite his lack of success with Friedkin’s tests. Of course, we have no idea why the warring families of Inglenook need to find him or why the shapeshifting fairy, for lack of a better term, helps him to escape, but it certainly was a magnificently magical rescue to behold. And just as Prince Panto Trost was implored by his star-crossed lover to “Find Dirk Gently,” Dirk himself is instructed to “Find the boy!” Meanwhile, the audience just wants everyone to find each other!
All of these twists and turns are exactly what make fans of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency squeal with delight, and although we may not be thrilled about the sheriff and his drunken deputy honing in on the Brotzmans and Farah, there’s a sneaking suspicion that the journey along the way will be a thrill ride. This opening episode hit the ground running, and the story is just as engaging as the first season, different though it may be. Soon the audience will have to answer the Mage’s question: “Have you noticed an acceleration of strangeness in your life?”
The answer: “Yes, every Saturday night at 9.”
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