Well I didn’t see anyone review this yet, so I thought I would give it a spin. It has been awhile since I have written a proper review, you may have noticed the site I used to write for disbanded, and while I am in preproduction on a YouTube Channel, it won’t be related to reviewing television shows. As you probably read on the main page, Katharine panned the co-production between BBC America and Netflix, and while she is generally on the same wavelength as me, I have to completely disagree with her assessment. It is possible that we have a different view in the matter, as I have never read the source material and am coming at the show fresh. So join me for a weekly recap and review of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency as we unravel the mystery (or mysteries) together, here on the O-Deck… if no one else decides to do it.
We start out the episode with a strange phone call to Dirk, followed by the murder scene in a hotel suite where Todd works. Then we are introduced to Todd, played by Elijah Wood, who is rudely awakened by his crazy landlord, Dorian, smashing his car to bits. Peppered throughout this introduction and Todd’s ride to work are random bits of information, both in visual and audio form, that will tie into the story latter on in the episode. There are a lot of little things packed into the first act of the episode that are all connected in a way to really sell the holistic nature of the show.
Things step into gear once Todd checks out the penthouse suite only to find what appears to be a murder scene. From there he becomes the prime suspect in the investigation from two detectives from missing persons, and then is promptly fired. Upon returning home, Todd finally meets the title character of the series who is breaking into his apartment. Dirk, played by Samuel Barnett, does his best Doctor Who impersonation introducing himself and is met with heavy skepticism from his new
companion assistant, Todd. After Dirk is thrown out into the hallway and exits the building, we meet two new players who are from some sort of government agency and are tailing Dirk. These two seem to be the comic relief with the younger agent being a bit simple minded. This also leads to Agent Stupid firing his sniper at Todd, missing him and killing a man holding a woman hostage in the apartment above. Finally, finishing out these scenes, we are introduced to Todd’s sister, played by the brilliant Hannah Marks, who Todd decides he’ll go see the following day.
Cut to the next day, were a skin head with a crazy tattoo (who appears to be apart of a group of tattooed bald men that show up at the end of the episode) is hassling a young hacker out on a levee somewhere… which is weird because we don’t really have those in Seattle, at least not the style that was depicted, deserted in the middle of no where. A woman shows up and makes quick work of Baldy, exclaiming, “Dirk Gently, you are a dead man.” We go on to find out she is a holistic assassin… who her new companion says sounds more like a person on a killing spree. Meanwhile, Dirk takes Todd to his sister’s house, but not before explaining the concept of being a holistic detective to him.
By far, the best scenes of the episode occurred in and around Amanda’s house. I love Hannah Marks to begin with, but I don’t feel like I’m being biased here. From the moment Dirk appears next to Todd at her door and they have a quick argument about being friends resulting in Todd punching Dirk in the arm to Amanda outsmarting Dirk about how private detectives dress to the government agents discussing guns and gum outside to the most intriguing scene where we see from Amanda’s point of view, how her disease works.
When we finally return to Todd’s apartment, we learn about Dirk being hired to solve the murder of the rich man murdered at the hotel Todd was fired from earlier. He also tells Todd that he was a part of the investigation now wether he likes it or not, the universe is going to bring him to investigate. At this point the Rowdy 3 show up (there are 4 of them!) [I’m wildly aware], and smash up the apartment and then suck some sort of blue energy out of Dirk. Todd’s landlord shows up with a gun, fires after being startled by the microwave and ricochets the bullet into his brain.
After being released from the police station, Todd reveals that the reason his landlord was hounding him was because he stole his rent money back from the landlord so he could pay for his sister’s meds. Todd gets a moment of self actualization while we get a montage of all the moving parts we saw throughout the episode, when he wins $10,000 from the lottery ticket from the crime scene. But before that, he finally gets that dog we’ve seen wandering about and brings it to his owner… who it seems has kidnapped the girl who is missing as we saw on tv. Man there was a lot of stuff packed into this episode, hopefully I didn’t get too drawn out with the details.
This is definitely a show made by Netflix, I instantly want to watch the next episode to help unravel the mysteries put forth in the pilot. Unfortunately that doesn’t help me here in the States as BCCA has the first broadcasting rights and are releasing it in a weekly format, like you do when you’re a television network. While the ending of the episode made me want more, it grabbed at me like the ending of the first episode of Jessica Jones or Stranger Things did, in that it hooked me so much that I want to watch the next episode immediately. But that sort of enthusiasm won’t be helpful in retaining audiences from week to week, this isn’t an AMC show or GoT and I don’t think I will carry this level of excitement or desire for more episodes through the week and up until I watch the next episode Saturday night/Sunday morning (yes this is my cheeky way of saying my next recap won’t be out until midday Sunday as I have to work a Wine Club Pick-Up Party next Saturday evening). Yet that doesn’t mean I won’t continue to watch.
The writing and dialogue is fast paced and witty, very much in the style of Doctor Who. Not the writing staff of Doctor Who so much as the delivery. It made me think of a line from David Tennant or Matt Smith’s tenure on Doctor Who where they talk about how the Doctor talks a lot, but doesn’t waste a word. That’s how I feel about the first episode of Dirk Gently, yes there was A LOT packed into a single pilot, but that is the point of the show. Some people might think that makes it superficial, but I think that goes back to the fact it was developed in part by Netflix. I am willing to bet that when you watch the entirety of the series, it will feel whole. Speaking of Matt Smith’ Doctor, I think that’s where a lot of traits for Dirk’s performance comes from. He reminds me a lot of the later Matt Smith years, except Dirk doesn’t know everything in the way the Doctor does.
Overall, I really like the main and supporting cast thus far. The series reminds me of the first season of Preacher in that there is a lot of moving parts that have yet to come together. Elijah Woods is excellent as always, and while overly hyper and up beat, I do enjoy Samuel Barett’s take on Dirk as well. Hannah Marks’ character bring s some depth to the story and background for Todd, hopefully we will get a little more on Dirk in the upcoming episodes. This was a fun jaunt, and I look forward to the next few episodes.
So what did you think? Will you be tuning in next week or streaming it on Netflix when it’s available in your area? Did I miss anything important to the plot? Can you help compare it to the books? How about the 2012 BBC version?
I’ll leave you with my favorite quotes from the week:
- “You’re a terrible assis-friend.”
- “But if no private detective looks like a private detective, how does a private detective know what it is that he shouldn’t look like?”
- “Okay well I think you’re an insane person who has insinuated himself into being my combination assistant and best friend.”
- “Yeah, the gum went weird in my mouth, sir, it went weird and it made my tongue do a weird move and say stuff wrong.”
- “That feels unnecessarily rude.”