“I don’t know anything, ever. It’s really quite relaxing.”
This statement by self-appointed “holistic detective” Dirk Gently (Samuel Barnett) could easily be the motto of the new BBC America series. With Saturday’s (Nov. 5) episode, we got a few more answers regarding what the heck is going on here. But with those answers, there are just way more questions we have to ask. And that lack of understanding of the overall picture is what has made “Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency” a mystifying joy to watch.
Let’s explain: We’re currently in a phase of television where big story twists and heady plot theories help fans to continually engage in popular shows as they play out on the small-screen. Fan theories, they thrive aplenty with shows like “Westworld,” “American Horror Story,” “Mr. Robot” and “The Night Of” — to name a few — and while speculation is a fun game to play for any worthy series, sometimes it’s fun to just sit back and enjoy the ride.
From Episode 1, “Dirk Gently” throws the audience into the deep end of this rather bizarre story — inspired by the Douglas Adams book series — with hopes we’ll learn to swim. And it’s a TV model which has worked wonders for other shows inspired by literary subject matter (we’re looking at you, “Game of Thrones”).
So, what we learned in Episode 3, titled “Rogue Wall Enthusiasts,” is that these odd characters are connected to a government operation called “Project Black Wing.” The operation, as it was vaguely explained, involved roughly 30 people with special sensory abilities. The odd bald men with the tattoos, Bart Curlish (Fiona Dourif) — you know, that crazy holistic assassin — a rogue ’80s rock icon named Lux Dujour, missing girl Lydia Spring (Alison Thornton)… and even that cute little Corgi are all connected, in some way, to this covert operation.
How exactly are they all connected? We don’t quite know as of yet, but the puzzle pieces are steadily falling into place. This all started with the disappearance of young Lydia — who, from what we can tell, is now a dog? — which threw Todd Brotzman (Elijah Wood) into the center of one rather odd missing person’s case/ murder investigation.
Dirk Gently comes into Todd’s world, by climbing directly into his apartment’s window, and their relationship proceeds to play out in a similar way to how Elijah Wood’s Ryan Newman got along with Wilfred (Jason Gann) — the imaginary dog/man — on the cult FX series by the same name. Dare we say, that’s not a bad thing?
With the big revelation that Dirk Gently is really someone named “Project Icarus,” we got a glimpse into some deep-seated resentment he holds against the operation’s leader, Colonel Riggins (Miguel Sandoval). What type of things did they do in “Project Black Wing” that would immediately conjure up red-faced tears? If they’re anything as damaging as what our government did with its shuttered MKUltra program, it may explain how Bart Curlish is impervious to bullets.
This still doesn’t tell us what the deal is with the Rowdy 3, their involvement with Todd’s mentally unstable sister, Amanda (Hannah Marks), or what their overall connection is to the greater story. But given that the first season is almost halfway over, something tells us our perspective of things will become clearer very soon. Until that happens, we’re just happy to be along for the ride.
“Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency” airs Saturdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on BBC America.