Time travel makes everything more complicated in this week’s DIRK GENTLY’S HOLISTIC DETECTIVE AGENCY, “Weaponized Soul.” I have been raving about this show since the beginning – I love it. But that also means my expectations at this point are pretty high, and when a show has set itself up on such a tall pedestal, tying ends up in such a way that lives up to these expectations can be difficult. Don’t get me wrong, the show is still, by far, one of the best on TV right now. But there’s a level of messiness and a very fine line you have to walk when you start incorporating time travel into a story to make sure all the ends wrap up nice and neatly. That’s why there is just as much Doctor Who that fails as there is that succeeds. Incorporating time travel, and time loops, and time paradoxes makes everything messy and confusing. And for someone like me, who is caught up on her Doctor Who and very familiar with the time travel narrative, it makes things a little predictable.
This episode was just as fun to watch as any of the others, but it was just a bit heavy on the plotty-ness of it all. We didn’t get to see any of our side stories – where’s Bart and Ken? We still don’t know why she wants to kill Dirk. And what’s Amanda been up to since she ran off with the Rowdy 3? Where’s our Black Hawk dudes? What’s happened to them? We do get a brief bit with Estevez, who confronts Gordon Rimmer and demands he switch Lydia back into her human body. But other than that, we spend the entire episode walking through the climactic murder of Patrick Spring and finding out all the unanswered questions we had about the murder.
Despite already knowing – or at least, guessing – some of the answers before this episode, there was still quite a bit of details I didn’t know the answer to before this episode. Things like: why one of the two machines is a “body-switching” machine and the other is an actual time machine, where Todd and Dirk got the animal masks, and how one-week-ago Dirk wound up with Dirk-now’s gorilla mask, how the lottery ticket wound up at the crime scene, and how Patrick Spring always knew that Dirk and Todd would be the ones trying to solve his murder and save his daughter.
I guess the one thing that disenchanted me with this episode was Todd’s – and Dirk’s, to some extent – lack of foresight into the realization that you can’t change what’s already happened. Despite them going back and trying to save Patrick Spring, in a way, they help make his murder happen. Everything their past selves witnessed plays out exactly as it did before. Which would be entirely forgivable and in some ways expected if it didn’t feel quite so much like Todd and Dirk were running full-speed on a hamster wheel. Todd’s blundering onto the next task and then the next task at the excuse of “destiny” doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. I mean, it sort of does in the sense that it is Todd and Dirk’s destiny to do all the things that they did and wind up where they are now. But Todd’s reasoning is a bit convoluted – by his reckoning, all the connections they keep bumping into are confirmations that it’s his and Dirk’s destiny to save Patrick Spring, not commit the exact same blunders as they did before. I sense that Dirk sort of came to this conclusion too, as he tried to object to Todd’s reasoning, but in the end, he barged head-on into the thick of it, right with Todd.
This is obviously being nitpicky about character reasoning and set-up. If this episode has made anything clear it’s that, at the end of the day, we still don’t know that much about Dirk. So all of the choices they’ve made, all of the actions they’ve done – these are all likely in line with Todd and Dirk’s characters. But we’ve been so caught up trying to solve the case and the crazy story strands wrapped around it, we haven’t been given much time to really know the characters we’re following around. Perhaps next week’s episode – the true finale of the season – will enlighten us with more answers in this regard.
Season 1, Episode 7 (S01E07)
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency airs Saturdays at 9PM on BBC America
Tasha is a freelance writer currently based in Los Angeles. Originally from Kansas, when she’s not writing about or watching TV, Tasha is searching for the best BBQ place in LA to fill the KC BBQ hole in her stomach.
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Tasha Cerny | Contributor