*Warning: Review Contains Spoilers
Shapes and Colors is an uneven episode that reconnects a lot of the scattered cast in Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency. While there are some great comedic scenes, the dark elements of the script don’t mesh with the episode’s lighter moments but they do push the narrative along. Things get off to a good start with the Rowdy 3, who’ve become the Restless 3, after being holed up in Blackwing’s basement prison for so long. Throw in ample doses of magic, a music fest/orgy and the apparent untimely demise of a character and there’s a lot to digest in Shapes and Colors‘ 41 minute playing time.
Farah and Sherriff Hobbs pay Suzie Boreton a visit but before they encounter the witch in training, Hobbs deputizes Farah. Suzie is in full cover up mode complete with her old limp but her antics are anything but convincing. Even though Farah and Sherriff Hobbs don’t press the issue they do follow her red herring that her son, Scott may be a person of interest. Now Suzie may not be the most sympathetic of characters but throwing one’s son under the bus is downright Arctic. No Mother of the Year Awards for her.
Dirk’s dilemma over the past few episodes is the nature of his powers. Disappointed that his skills a detective are nothing but matters of chance, Dirk decides to go about things in a more conventional manner. Gathering evidence and looking at things logically is the order of the day and a breakfast meeting with Todd and Tina yields surprising results. Overhearing details of the case while serving Dirk breakfast sends Arnold Cardenas, now going by the name Arnold Freeman, into a mini panic. After explaining his connection to the case Arnold takes Dirk back to his childhood home. Sometimes you can’t fight destiny.
Following their escape from the Mage’s knights with Farson, Vogel and Amanda encounter a strange coven in the Wendimoorian forest. There they meet Wakti Wapnasi and the Bufuki Napu, who after a few minutes appear to be nothing more than rainbow striped versions of the Ewoks. While meeting the witch — Wakti Wapnasi is important for Amanda’s character and super power development as well as liberating the Rowdy 3 — this part of the narrative illustrated what has troubled me so far about this season.
Last season’s storyline was grounded in cool sci-fi and adult themes. This season the fairy tale inspired exploits of Wendimoor just haven’t worked to the same extent. Characters like the Mage, Pantro Trost and Wakti are the manifestations of a child and serve the story well. However, since this season is based on a world created by a child not all of the elements work. The scenes with the Bufuki Napu boarder on the absurd and make it feel as though someone has shoved an annoying preschoolers’ program into a Dirk Gently adventure.
Shapes and Colors, through Arnold’s tortured testimony, digs deep into the mysteries surrounding the boy, the two dead bodies and the magical kingdom of Wendimoor. The underlying horror of what happened 50 years ago is plain to see on Arnold’s face. The final moments of the episode also carry a certain gravity that will have repercussions moving forward. It’s unfortunate Shapes and Colors sillier parts marred what was otherwise a standout episode.