Historic and Pared Down
March 28, 2012 by Nicholas
The third episode of Dirk Gently takes the simmering sub plot of resentment towards Dirk from his business partner, the dislike of them by the police, Dirk’s laziness and slipshod approach and his rather wooly ethics and places them at the centre of the story. It still isn’t quite the Dirk Gently I recognise from the books, but it is a logical situation given the status quo of the series and does work together. Yes, it is a little straightforward and formulaic, but it is genuinely very funny in places and does manage to have the odd twist that actually makes sense both in terms of the episode and the series as a whole.
Dirk’s clients are turning up dead, seemingly from heart attacks. Dirk believes that he will be a suspect for their murders, but the police believe that he is solely a person of interest and perhaps at risk himself. This plays to Gently’s arguably inflated sense of self worth and the police thinking that he is not necessarily evil rather than just grubby and largely incompetent. It’s a nice moment, and underpins the plot.
Dirk also takes on a client who is being stalked, as the shows do tend to use the two unrelated cases that turn out to be intertwined structure, this thread continues until the climax. It’s fairly directly related in one way though, although revealing why would wreck a quite funny scene involving Dirk and the police as well as undermining the plot. The story has enough happening to sustain its length and none of the scenes feel particularly extraneous (quite a few manage exposition or character moments as well as being quite funny) and none of the twists seem to be at odds with the story. It felt intrinsically right in a way that earlier episodes haven’t quite managed.
The tease on Dirk giving up the agency and his partner leaving him play out as you would largely expect, and is there mainly to add credence to Dirk trying to be more financially responsible and slightly less selfish. It’s window dressing to add texture to the main story and to raise the stakes. Oddly enough, his car (whose lack of reliability has been a running joke) is thoroughly dependable as the plot demands. It’s an episode where all the supporting characters get their moments and both act in character and get to drive the plot on (although Helen Baxendale’s character is noticeably absent) as well as seeming to change slightly over the course of the plot. It makes for a nice series ending and also suggests that there is life to the character beyond the books.