BBC America’s always-strange sort-of crime show Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency got deeply weird in its second season as Samuel Barnett’s titular gumshoe and his buddy Todd (Elijah Wood) found themselves in the magical land of Wendimoor. So how loony are the season’s final two episodes, the first of which premieres Dec. 9?
“It goes crazier than you’d think it would!” says show creator Max Landis. But it also gets more illuminating. “For two whole seasons, we’ve been a bowling ball headed towards pins. Is it a mystery show? Is it a science-fiction show? Is it a comedy show? As the season wraps up, the premise of Dirk Gently actually becomes clear.” Read on for more.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What can viewers expect from these last two episodes of the season?
MAX LANDIS: Well, this season of Dirk went much more ambitious the first. The first was really a sort of city thriller involving science-fiction, whereas this was a sprawling story about both the bizarre and grotesque nature of a small-town crime from 50 years ago, as well as the onrushing threat of war in a fantasy kingdom called Wendimoor, as well as being very heavily tied into the overall mythology of our whole show. So all three of those storylines — the small-town story, the government conspiracy story, and the fantasy story — collide in the most literal way possible in the final episodes. These threads, which have remained separate for the entire season or crossed over a little bit here and there, really tie themselves into a knot. And it goes in a way you’re not expecting it to go, while at the same time fulfilling all of the obligations of where it needs to go.
Can you say anything more specific?
Blackwing and Wendimoor become intimately acquainted. These two locations which had seemed completely separate the entire season have crossover in a very literal way that I think is very surprising and satisfying. The end of the small-town Bergsberg story arc again ties more directly than maybe it even should do, into the storyline going on in Wendimoor. So there are complications with all of the primary villains that play out in unexpected ways, there are character changes and growth that you are not expecting to see coming, characters assume roles that you wouldn’t have placed them in in a billion years. We get to see a bit of resolution in a number of long-term ongoing storylines. By the final montage, in the final moments of the final episode, it becomes clear what the rest of the show, or at least the next season is going to be.
Is it a cookery show?
Yeah, it turns out it’s the American adaptation of the Great British Bake Off. [Laughs]
Season 1 ended with the main characters in desperate straits one way and another. How does the end of season 2 compare to that?
I would say that there is an element of season 2 that is very very thematically similar to that. But overall the end of season 2 is, if not more hopeful, more directed. You have a better idea of what’s going to come next with all characters, except one. There are surprises about where the plot is going even up until the final minute of the finale. There are things you didn’t see coming, there are plot developments that appear to be over and then sneak one more in. I would say it’s a more hopeful ending, but at the same time a lot more ominous — simultaneously more hopeful and more dangerous.
Does anybody die in the finale?
Versions of the characters we knew before die, and we are acquainted with new versions of the characters. And in many cases that’s true. Literal death? Most of the literal death is confined to the episode before the finale.
Do you know if there is going to be a season 3?
Absolutely no clue. We’ve been doing steadily better in the ratings the last couple of weeks, which bodes well. But if this were the end of the show, I’d be happy with the way it ended. I wouldn’t be kicking myself for the rest of my life.
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency airs Saturdays at 9 p.m. ET on BBC America.