A man and his kitten confront the unknown. / Katie Yu, BBCA

There’s been a lot of talk on Dirk Gently about the friendship between Dirk and Todd, and whether Todd is Dirk’s assistant or best friend or both or neither. Most of it has come across as part of Dirk’s innate quirkiness—he’s not particularly someone to be taken seriously when it comes to deep emotions.

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But the unexpected conversation Dirk and Todd have in the woods regarding friendship, and Todd’s desire to fall back on his own sureness about being an asshole, brings a depth that both the relationship and the show have sometimes lacked. It’s also an unusually insightful examination of the way self-pity becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. If Todd is so sure he’s an asshole, he can never really disappoint himself. But he also never has to try to be better, even though it’s been clear throughout the run of the show that he’s trying desperately hard to do things for Amanda. Dirk’s also right that it’s unfair to the people who care for Todd, because what does it say about them for caring about him?

It’s even more notable that Dirk’s insight on this comes after Todd has admitted the depths of his bad behavior, which suggests Dirk has a pretty high capacity for forgiveness. It’s been clear for a while now that something weird happened with Todd’s illness. He’s gotten a little twitchy every time it’s come up. And when the whole story comes out, it’s hard to blame him for hating himself. He’s in the terrible situation of being constantly reminded of the lie he’s told, and he’s completely trapped within the lie, given the impossibility of telling his sister what he did.

Luckily for him, Amanda’s got a new lease on life, thanks to the, uh, alternative medicine she’s getting from the Rowdy Three (actually Martin, Cross, Gripps, and Vogle). Whether it’s a long-term solution is a fair question, given that part of it involves destroying public property, and she’s also caught in between them and the military. It’s a shame she doesn’t get a chance to chat with Friedkin, though. That’s an interaction the show could have had some fun with.

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Also, they killed Richard Schiff off! He’s a pretty recognizable actor to knock out midway through the show’s run. It was really only a matter of time before he and his partner bumped into the lethality of the guys they’re pursuing, but when it comes, it’s merciless. Given that Farah witnesses the whole thing, are she and Estevez going to find themselves joining forces?

The Bart and Ken subplot was slightly more aimless. It’s becoming hard to understand why Ken stays with her. Is she still threatening to kill him if he tries to leave? She talks pretty constantly about her philosophy of killing, but it’s harder to understand why she wants Ken around (other than his facility with shampoo). The level of her lack of connection to the world is also baffling. What did she do as a child? Is she part of Black Wing, since all those with supernatural powers seem to be?

Her powers, ultimately, seem significantly stronger than Dirk’s. Or at least, they act more quickly. Hers take effect immediately, and his make him dig holes for hours on end before showing him the answer. Dirk’s refusal to acknowledge his psychic powers is one of the strongest connections the show has made to the book so far, although he otherwise remains far more cheerful than his literary counterpart.

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As we head into the final stretch of the season, we’re finally getting closer to resolving the broad array of mysteries from the pilot. We even get some closure on the whole kitten situation. Of course, now it’s just loose in the woods, hopefully avoiding bodies of water. Assuming our heroes find a way to put Lydia back in her body, will they want to do the same with the shark/kitten? And how in the world did the Zeds and Neds of this show get a shark near their soul transfer device in the first place?

Stray observations

  • Friedkin continues to be a goldmine. It’s a good combination of both the actor’s delivery and the writers knowing what to give him. Also, his name is humorously close to “freakin” which is what it sounds like every time Riggins says his name. The erectus joke was too easy, though. Still, let us now review the finest of his moments in this episode.
  • “Shouldn’t we have, like, wooden stakes and golden bullets?”
  • Also, his total inability to get his arms in his body armor.
  • “Understood?” “Cinnamon.” “No. [Pause] No.”
  • Anyone want to throw out some conspiracy theories for what the deal is with the names from Black Wing? Icarus flies too close to the sun, whereas an incubus is a demon who has sex with a woman, or a band you listened to when you were 13.
  • “He’s not our friend. He’s British!”

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