REVIEW: Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, S2 Ep1

For people who are familiar with the Douglas Adams books, please keep in mind that this series has only a tangential relationship to the books. In fact, when I first watched last season I was surprised at how much murder was involved. It’s definitely its own thing, but it does keep the idea that the universe sends Dirk cases to solve and he’ll solve them by being aware of “the interconnectedness of all things.” Thus, a holistic detective.

If you’ve seen the first season, the resolution of the central mystery seems only achievable via the strange Rube-Goldberg-like ways employed by the mysterious Universe, which seems to enjoy torturing its pawns, our heroes, with incongruities and unlikely coincidences. Fate and chance have their way with all of the characters. And continue to do so with this second season. For those people familiar with season 1, Dirk Gently (Samuel Barnett) and the gang have been separated just when it seemed all was well. Dirk was happy having friends, Todd Brotzman (Elijah Wood) was happy being Dirk’s best friend/assistant/ward, Lydia Spring (Alison Thornton) was back in her body, Farah Black (Jade Eshete) honored her promise to protect Lydia (and got enough money to start a holistic detective agency!), Ken (Mpho Koaho) was still alive and had finally realized his purpose, Amanda Brotzman (Hannah Marks) found a group of friends to go out with into the world, and Bart, (Fiona Dourif) well, Bart finally found a friend. That’s exactly when it all goes awry. Dirk, three of the four Rowdy Three, and Ken (with Rapunzel the corgi) were captured by the idiot head of Blackwing. And Todd suddenly came down with the disease he pretended to have, pararibulitis, at the most inconvenient time.

Season 2 picks up two months after the last episode of Season 1. Todd and Farah are on the run from Blackwing and are listed as “persons of interest” on various law enforcement databases. Amanda and Vogle (Osric Chao) are also being chased by Blackwing and trying to find the rest of the Rowdy 3. Ken and the cute corgi, Rapunzel, are being kept in a taxi in Blackwing headquarters. And Dirk is being held captive by Blackwing and being subjected to various experiments because they think he’s psychic, despite all of his protestations that he is not.

Scratch that, the season premiere actually begins in another world. It seems to have been created by a child with what I can only describe as Legend of Zelda cosplayers. Things don’t make a lot of sense here; there’s a train in the sky, a castle that looks like a toy, a weirdly cartoonish moon with a face, a pink haired dude (Panto Trost, played by Christopher Russell) being chased by two other guys, there’s a fight with scissors, and fingers get lopped off. Suddenly, we’re in a world where there’s a Romeo and Juliet-like story with feuding families in a land being terrorized by an evil wizard. It seems like a story from another show until they cite a prophecy that they must find a man named “Dirk Gently.” Oh good, now we’re getting started.

Todd, who had in the past season been the skeptic about holistic detecting and the interconnectedness of all things, is now the believer who must convince Farah to follow leads to find Dirk. In the past, Farah had a somewhat unexplained sense of inadequacy despite her obvious competence (Dirk refers to her as a ninja). Here it comes out in a very tremble-y talk with Todd. She may have had all she can take with being on the run and taking care of Todd’s pararibulitis. She also gets some backstory, a brother, and a dead father (!). Poor Farah, she’s not totally convinced about holistic detecting. To her, the universe seems unusually cruel. And Todd’s seeming ravings about how things are connected are not helping. You can only say “It’s all connected!” so many times before it sounds meaningless and crazy. Good thing those ravings turn out to be true.

There are a few new characters introduced this season, including Mr. Mage, played by the ever-welcome John Hannah in an inexplicably stainless white suit and a mustache that just screams “Bad Guy!” Of course, the subsequent murder he commits screams “Bad Guy!” too. Note: He’s a bad guy with a weird affinity for a put-upon middle-aged lady with a limp, Susie Boreton (Amanda Walsh). What’s going on with her? Well, you find out really quick when magic wands and spellbooks are brought out. Yep, that’s right. Magic wands and spellbooks!

Bart makes a welcome return with a kick-ass entrance in an outfit only she could pull off. Losing Ken has given her a crisis of faith. Like almost everyone else, she’s not sure of her purpose in the universe anymore. It’s a testament to Fiona Dourif’s acting that I feel sorry for Bart that she isn’t killing more people.

I have a great affection for Tyler Labine ever since seeing Tucker and Dale vs Evil , so when he shows up playing a sweet sheriff/tow truck driver, Sheriff Sherlock Hobbs, I just have to believe he’s trustworthy. He and his deputy, Tina Tevetino (Izzie Steele), who is quickly becoming one of my favorite characters, play a major part in this season’s mysteries.

How many people want to guess that Dirk and Todd get to go to Wendimere, the fantasy world from the first episode? I, for one, can’t wait to see Elijah Wood dressed up in Legend of Zelda cosplay fighting with a scissor/sword against an evil wizard. I can’t wait to see how this season turns out! Everything works out in the end, I’m sure, because it’s all connected.