Just a group of normal friends hanging out together doing normal things. / Bettina Strauss, BBC America

Around the time Gordon Rimmer got shot and Lydia Spring got returned to her human form, the savvy viewer might have noticed that Dirk Gently finale was only about half over. This was possibly a byproduct of resolving much of the mystery in the penultimate episode, but the end result is one giant cliffhanger for the show to go out on.

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Should Season 2 transpire, the structure of the show seems likely to be fundamentally different. So much of Season 1 was spent resolving a mystery our heroes didn’t understand, but what’s set up for Season 2 is less a mystery and more a rescue mission. We know who has captured the team of misfits assembled over Season 1. Or the one that’s trying to capture them.

There’s also a fatal flaw to the plan hatched by the secret government agencies here: The universe wants Bart and Dirk to win. Even getting beyond the fact that Bart seems like she’d be almost impossible to capture, if she and Dirk did end up imprisoned in some way, the universe would only conspire to let them out again. They may end up bloodied and bruised, but they might just be invincible.

But the resolutions that occur before all of it goes down the drain fall into place pretty naturally. There’s no way Amanda would be ready to forgive Todd, and despite the suggestions that there was a flirtation happening between Todd and Farah, the show doesn’t quite go there yet. Lydia probably does need to hide out for a while, or at least until the men of the machine realize it’s gone forever. Here’s hoping they don’t figure out that poor Ken knows how to build one.

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And this has never been a show that embraced subtlety, so it’s fitting that just as we realize what’s happening to Todd, we hear the Neon Trees “First Things First,” which starts with the lyrics, “You are never gonna get everything you want in this world/First things first, get what you deserve.” It’s hard to say that he exactly deserves to get the syndrome he faked having for so long, especially given all the suffering he went through over the season, but it is somewhat fitting. And for the first time, he can’t get to Amanda when she needs him. Apparently he’s never going to be just one of two sane guys doing normal things. At least he’ll be a slightly better funded guy now.

Poor Estevez, though. By the end of the season, he was in rough shape, and for all his efforts on behalf of our heroes, he gets killed by the idiot. Friedkin returns, but instead of being comically incompetent, he’s now menacingly incompetent. As the episode went on, it became more and more likely that he would turn up in some dangerous way, considering we got to see what was happening to everyone else. And when he finally shows up, he makes about as much sense as a villain for this show as Gordon did. If there’s one consistency across the Dirk Gently world, it’s that no one is exactly good at what they’re doing. No one in law enforcement, none of the bad guys, Dirk, Todd, Farah—all of them are as likely to succeed as they are to fail when they’re trying very hard. The world these people live in is either depressing as hell or deeply optimistic. You can’t change a damn thing that happens in it no matter how hard you try or how much you might desperately want to, but things might still turn out OK? It’s a tough way to live a life.

The show’s first season could be uneven, with an often scattered focus, and two main characters who spent as much time discussing the status of their friendship as they did risking their lives. If Dirk Gently should find its way to a second season, those problems may resurface, or they may finally get out of the way so that the show can refocus on what it does well, which was, in its best moments, capturing some of the humor of the Douglas Adams books, with a unique look and a series of characters who are learning to embrace the chaos of life.

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Stray observations

  • “See, you also knew a thing.” Didn’t really get into this above, but Farah’s quick forgiveness of Todd for not helping her may be the single most helpful thing anyone on the show did for him.
  • Did we ever learn why Bart was after Dirk in the first place? I can’t tell if I just missed it.
  • Speaking of Bart, she seems to be into Ken. Good luck, Ken. His decision to hitch his wagon to the universe’s preferred instrument of justice makes some sense, but maybe Season 2 can tell us more about who he was outside of his criminal efforts.
  • Both Bart and Dirk repeatedly used their injured sides to wave, jump around, etc, and it was driving me nuts.
  • Looking up that song has sent me down a Neon Trees YouTube hole, and it’s pretty enjoyable.
  • “Have fun with your new friends. They seem insane.”
  • No, seriously, what happened to the kitten/shark?

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