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TV Review: Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency 1.4 “Watkin”
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Dirk Gently Todd and Dirk

[Elijah Wood as Todd Brotzman and Samuel Barnett as Dirk Gently.]

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency
Episode 1.4 “Watkin”
Created by Max Landis
Written by Max Landis
Directed by Michael Patrick Jann
Starring Samuel Barnett, Elijah Wood, Hannah Marks, Fiona Dourif, Jade Eshete, Mpho Koaho, Dustin Milligan, Miguel Sandoval, Neil Brown, Jr., Richard Schiff, Aaron Douglas, Alison Thornton
BBC America
Air date: Saturday, November 12, 2016

SPOILERS for Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

Oh Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, how I love thee!!! It’s hands down my favorite new show this Fall, and I eagerly away a return to its universe each Saturday night. This week, we hit the mid-way mark on the 8-episode Season 1 from writer/creator Max Landis, but before we get into that, where’s what’s happened so far…

Holistic detective Dirk Gently (Samuel Barnett) and his formerly reluctant but now willing assistant Todd (Elijah Wood) are trying to solve the murder case of millionaire Patrick Spring, all while being watched by the FBI, CIA, and missing persons detectives. Along to help are Spring’s self-depreciating security chief Farah (Jade Eshete), who had been held captive by a cultish group of bald tattooed men, and Todd’s ill sister Amanda (Hannah Marks), who is being stalked by a group of crazed energy-sucking vampires known as the Rowdy 3. Dirk and Todd discovered that Spring’s missing daughter Lydia (Alison Thornton) was at the home of Gordon Rimmer (Aaron Douglas), a member of the cult that was able to swap girl’s soul with the corgi Rapunzel’s (played by Bentley the dog). Meanwhile, out in the world somewhere near is a holistic assassin named Bartine (Fiona Dourif), who also has her own formerly reluctant but now willing assistant Ken Mpho Koaho), and she’s out to kill Dirk. Just as more pieces of the puzzle seemed to fall into place, Dirk got a blast from the past — CIA operative Colonel Riggins (Miguel Sandoval) arrives to bring Dirk and the other “Black Wing” subjects with ESP back into the fold, much to Dirk’s dismay and objection.

Here’s a recap of what happened this week on Episode 1.4 “Watkin”…

This week’s episode 1.4 “Watkin” opens with Gordon and the bald men at the Animal Transfer Unit building, where they are holding FBI Agent Weedle. “In perpetuum” they say as Gordon flicks the switch on a machine that swaps the agent’s soul with a mouse’s. “Brother,” the men say to the Weedle body; “Brothers,” he responds. With no further need of the mouse, Gordon lets dog-souled Lydia have it as a snack.

Dirk Gently Todd with jacket and Dirk

[Elijah Wood as Todd Brotzman wearing the “cool” jacket and Samuel Barnett as Dirk Gently.]

At the Ridgely building, Todd hides the bloodied winning lottery ticket in the back of a frame housing an old photo of him and his sister Amanda playing their instruments. Amanda comes in still wanting to know what the hell happened to Todd’s apartment, which was trashed by the Rowdy 3, but he evades the question. Before he leaves to go meet Dirk and Farah, he dons a “cool” jacket his sister insists he wear, because she can tell he’s crushing on Farah (I knew it!!!).

Dirk, Farah, and Todd search nearby for what they believe is an unlimited energy device, which according to Farah, was created by Edgar Spring, who buried a power grid in a three-mile radius of town called Springsborough — the Ridgely is smack in the center of it — back in 1978 at the height of the oil crisis. He used this to power the town on his own for 30 years. But the power went dark around the time he bought the Webb mansion back from the government. No one knows what happened to Edgar, and his son Patrick had nothing to do with the town after his wife died. It’s this unlimited energy device that Gordon and the bald guys want. And look, Dirk has found the passageway to it, right out there in the open! While Dirk tries to open the door, Farah comments to Todd that it seems like he and Dirk have been together for years. “No, we just met, and I hate him,” Todd tells her.

Over at the police station, the new Agent Weedle comes to question missing person detectives Zimmerman and Estevez about Lydia Spring, yet seems to be more interested in Todd and the corgi. The detectives can tell something is strange with the agent, and realize that going forward they need to be careful about what they say to him. Once he leaves, we see that the corgi — which we know houses the soul of Lydia — is safely hidden under their desk.

Back at the passageway, Dirk pulls out the tool he found in Edgar’s secret room in the mansion, and uses the crank to open a trap door, which he immediately falls in to. And then so does Todd. Thankfully, Dirk has the magic light bulb to guide their way. Above ground, Farah gets a call from Amanda, who’s at Todd’s apartment. Agent Weedle is waiting outside the door for Todd to return, which Farah recognizes is against FBI protocol. Leaving the boys to their down device underground, she runs back to the Ridgely to check on Amanda.

Dirk Gently Dirk and Todd

[Samuel Barnett as Dirk Gently and Elijah Wood as Todd Brotzman.]

Meanwhile, Gordon goes to a bar to meet Sammy, who was rock star Lux DuJour’s lover at the time of his disappearance 15 years ago. This is the crying woman from Episode 1 who Todd was consoling in the hotel room, who later was on television announcing the winning lottery numbers. She’s crying as the news reports that recently found human remains have been confirmed as Lux’s. Gordon, who we know has the soul of Lux in him, says he knows she loved and cared for the rock star. He asks what’s going on with her new boyfriend — an FBI agent named Nathan. She says he’s gone, likely back with his wife, which makes Gordon chuckle, since he actually killed Nathan. (In a previous episode, Nathan was talking to Weedle about having had an extramarital affair, but trying to work things out with his wife.)

Back underground, Dirk calls the magic light bulb an “Everbulb,” and concludes that it must be powered by electricity from his body, because its creator Edgar was obsessed with electricity. They come upon a room filled with lit light bulbs. They think this is a message from Patrick, but when the walls start closing in, Dirk panics, saying that they’re going to be “Burnt and crushed to death like Watkin in Star War.” (Yes, Star War.) Todd figures out that the Everbulb has to be placed into an empty socket, which turns into a doorknob, leading to their escape. That was close!!! Once in the next chamber, Dirk is now the hesitant one, but Todd insists they move on.

Weedle now is inside Todd’s apartment asking Amanda why her brother stole the dog when Farah arrives. She notices right away that something is off with him, and manages to get his gun. This sets him off. He brings up that she was refused entry to several agencies — army rangers, FBI, naval intelligence — because of psychological reasons. He says she’s paranoid, panic prone, and unstable, and threatened to arrest her if she doesn’t return his gun to him. She does, and he tells her he’s not the enemy. He leaves her his card to call him if “things get more confusing.” He walks away, saying “maybe we can untangle this together.” Farah insists on staying to protect Amanda, because Weedle is still sitting downstairs in his car. Farah asks what Todd did. “The FBI doesn’t come after people who didn’t do anything,” she tells Amanda.

Back at the underground chamber, Dirks senses they are in the right place. “I always ends up where I need to be despite the fact that it’s rarely where I intended to go,” Dirk says. They find a rhino horn on a pedestal that reads “Here lies Pepe unless otherwise activated.” Dirk recalls that Pepe was the Spring family rhino that belonged to Patrick. On the door is a bust of the rhino sans horn. Dirk concludes that to open the door, they must connect the horn to the head, but how? Both items are bolted down. But Todd has a plan: Dirk holds the horn in one hand while reaching out with this other hand to hold Todd’s hand; Todd then holds his other hand on the head. BUZZZZ!!!!!!!! They’re zapped by the electricity coursing through them, but they’re all right, and the door is now open. Dirk wonders how Todd knew this would work. “Conductivity,” Todd says, something he knows about from having electrocuted himself several times while playing electric guitar. As they enter the new room, Todd says “I hope you’re not claustrophobic,” to which Dirk replies, “No, I don’t even like coffee.”

Back outside the Ridgely, Weedle tells Gordon that Farah is still protecting Amanda. Gordon, who’s still at the bar with Sammy, says “This is spiraling out of control!,” telling him he’ll meet him soon. After the call, Gordon tells Sammy he lost his dog, and then asks her to open the present he gave her. (Apparently, he’s been giving her unwanted gifts for a while now.) The gift is a huge, yak-fur coat made by an artist in Tibet, meant to symbolize the endless cycle of the universe, he explains. She recognizes this as Lux’s coat, and she goes with Gordon, who promises to tell her everything about what happened to Lux. Umm… that coat — wasn’t this what Todd’s rock star doggelganger from the hotel was wearing when they saw each other?

Inside the Ridgely, Farah is having one of her self-doubt episodes. She says she’s perfectly qualified and she was in contention for the agency jobs. When Amanda says Farah is kind of weird, the bodyguard says no, she is, she can blend in with others. Just then, Weedle drives away, but then the Rowdy 3 van drives up.

Meanwhile, in this last chamber, Todd and Dirk discover a brick wall – it’s the Ridgely! Everything is connected!!! Plus, the unlimited energy device is there – Dirk recognizes it from the one he saw in Edgar’s lab at the mansion. Then, a wall of monitors turn on with symbols on each screen.

There are things like a gun, a music note, a house, a lightning bolt, a star, a telephone, the letter A, a key, a clock, a rhino, a shovel, a spider web, a light bulb, a clover, a diamond, a spider, and other things. Dirk presses the buttons under the monitor for kitten, shark, dog, and girl — which we know were important themes in the case so far. Next, the screens all change to have numbers on them. Dirk click on the ones for 3 and 1 — because of the 3 questions 1 answer clue that Patrick left for Farah back at the mansion. This triggers the appearance on the screens of a map! But before they can figure out what it is, the monitors short out and a fire erupts.

Dirk Gently The Rowdy 3

[The four members of the Rowdy 3.]

Amanda feels she might be having another attack of Pararibulitis because she smells fire. But Farah smells it too — it’s coming from a grate down below. Then run downstairs and hear Todd’s screams for help. As Farah tries to shoot her way through the wall, the Rowdy 3 show up with bats and sledgehammers and break open the wall, rescuing Todd and Dirk. Amanda tells Farah not to worry — she knows these guys. The men immediately surround Dirk, like they did in Todd’s apartment back when they trashed it. Dirk says “Oh no, not this again,” as they suck up some of his energy. “So tasty, I needed that,” they say on their way out, leaving Todd to wonder, “Who are those guys?”

Back at Todd’s place, Amanda squeals to her brother that this is the coolest thing that’s ever happened him. “That’s so punk,” she says, as Todd asks if nearly being “burnt alive” is cool. “Sorry about what happened to your jacket,” Farah flirtatiously says to Todd, who’s jacket got destroyed in the fire. So, Amanda was right about the feelings AND about how Todd would be perceived in the “cool” jacket. Dirk deduces that while Edgar might have built the power node and energy device for his power grid, the traps were placed by Patrick. And then there was the map that blinked on the monitors — this triggers the memories of Amanda’s visions from when the Rowdy 3 did an energy transfer with her, but she doesn’t let them know this is why. Instead, they all go back to the final chamber, and Amanda takes the crank and unlocks the map on the monitors. Dirk asks how she knew how to do that. It was just a “hunch,” she says, which he says is “wildly suspicious.” “Oh, like yours aren’t,” she tells her skeptic.

Here was Amanda’s vision, shown slowed down a bit:

Along with the map is a message: “Save her Dirk and Todd.” Todd says it’s impossible, how could Patrick have known their names? Farah recognizes the area on the map – it’s Skagit Valley, which is 4 hours from there. “A treasure map!,” Dirk says, “We leave first thing in the morning.” He warns that this mission could be dangerous. “I guess we’ll see,” replies Todd, which makes Dirk smile.

The episode ends back at the Animal Transfer Unit, where Gordon is showing Sammy of all Lux’s belongings, including clothing and guitars. Gordon reveals that a device came to them in the 1960s possibly from another dimension that they used to swap bodies. They started with animals as a “spiritual thing,” but then moved on to kidnapping rich people and swapping into their bodies, which they’ve been doing for 50 years, and that’s what they did with Lux. He realizes that Sammy never even knew the real Lux. Freaked out, she tries to leave, but the bald men and Agent Weedle show up. Gordon tells Weedle he did good today, and that he’s brought them all there to show them that he’s doing his part, and that Spring’s machine is almost in their grasp — it is their destiny. They know where “the detective, the bodyguard, the bell boy, the sister” are, he says. He says he’s outgrown his attachment to Lux’s life and he’s giving it all up. “I am taking back control,” he screams. Here, he asks Sammy if she remembers what he (as Lux) said to her about when he died. “‘When I die, you die,’” she replies, remembering the words. He leans the edge of the body of the guitar against her forehead and she leans in towards it. “Sammy, do you remember when you still loved me, before I was all this?” he asks, and she leans into the guitar more. “Lux, what happened to you?” she asks. “I died,” he responds as he kisses her cheek, then bashes her head in with the guitar. When he’s done, he turns to his men, showing Sammy’s blood all over his face.

This episode was fantastic and eerie. We know that Todd is willingly involved now in helping Dirk solve the case, but he’s also still resentful of Dirk’s intrusion into his life, and he’s more concerned about Amanda than ever before. The chemistry between Todd and Farah is strengthening, giving us hope for a big kiss for these two at the end of the season. Why Todd has not cashed in that lottery ticket, I don’t know, but I’m getting pretty nervous about it! I loved how Todd and Dirk had to solve the clues to navigate the underground maze in a Star Wars and Indiana Jones homage. No Bartine and Ken this week, unfortunately, but their comeback will surely be great. The Missing Persons detectives, who seemed so insignificant in Episode 1, are turning out to be the ones with the smarts — what will they do with corgi Lydia? And the Rowdy 3 are apparently the good guys! What does Amanda’s crazy vision mean (aside from the map), and why is she being so secretive to everyone? Why did Gordon have to kill Sammy, and what now is his grand plan? And the coat!!!!!!!!! Do Dirk and Todd travel back in time to the day of the murders at the hotel with Todd wearing that coat? I think so!

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