The madcap confusion that is Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency is back for a second season, and things are already making absolutely no sense (in the best possible way). While the first season cleared up the initial mystery of a time-traveling Todd (Elijah Wood) and bite marks on the ceiling (a shark inside a kitten, obviously), it ended with plenty of questions left unanswered. The season finale, ‘Two Sane Guys Doing Normal Things’, ended with Project Blackwing descending on the subjects and attempting to round them all up.
Dirk Gently himself (Samuel Barnett) was scooped up by the Project, as were Bart (Fiona Dourif) and Ken (Mpho Koaho). Todd and Farah (Jade Eshete) weren’t nabbed, but the Rowdy 3 were also attacked. Three of the 3 were taken in, but Amanda (Hannah Marks) and Vogel (Osric Chau) managed to get away. It looks like this destructive gang is going to play a bigger part in the second season, with Amanda a part of the Rowdy 3, but who exactly are these guys?
The Rowdy 3: Season 1
The Rowdy 3 first appeared in season 1 when they turned up outside Todd’s apartment. They drive around in a panel van covered in graffiti, with the words ‘Rowdy 3’ spray painted on the side, and when Dirk spotted the van, he started to panic. He revealed that he knows the 3, and is ‘wildly aware’ that despite the name there are, in fact, four member of the Rowdy 3 gang. They burst into the building and trashed Todd’s apartment, before standing over Dirk as a blue light traveled from him into them. They then left through the window, stealing a photo of Amanda on the way out.
The 3 are led by Martin (Michael Eklund), a white-haired punk, and the remaining three are Cross (Zac Santiago), Vogel, and Gripps (Viv Leacock). They usually appear screaming and hollering, smashing anything in sight and waving around blunt instruments (baseball bat, sledgehammer, etc). Although they do their best to be as destructive and frightening as possible, the Rowdy 3 don’t actually hurt anyone, and seem to be anarchists or destructive punks, rather than killers.
After the 3 stole a photo of Amanda, they tracked her down and started following her. Unlike when they showed up at Todd’s, they didn’t bust into her house and start attacking her stuff. Instead, they were actually (comparatively) nice to her. When she threw a rock at their van, they threw it back with a note attached saying ‘hi’. They had one or two similar interactions, before they finally met when Amanda had an attack of her nerve disease at the grocery store. When she collapsed in the parking lot, they surrounded her, chasing off the people staring before leaning over her and sucking the same kind of blue light out of her that they did from Dirk Gently. Amanda then woke up, safe, with her groceries, in her garage.
After that, Amanda slowly went from being a stranger to them to being a member of the Rowdy 3 herself. They explained to her that they are ‘energy vampires’ that live off neurological energy. They follow Dirk because he has delicious energy, and otherwise, they cause chaos to try and create the kind of panic response that they enjoy living off. Amanda’s disease provides them with a particularly fantastic form of energy to consume, and when they feed off of her during an attack, the attack dissipates. It seems that the attacks also become less intense and less frequent when she is with them, so Amanda decides to join the gang, rather than continuing to live in fear.
The Mystery Of Project Blackwing
The Rowdy 3 aren’t just any energy vampires, of course. They, like most of the other extraordinary people on Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, are connected to Project Blackwing. They were captured by the agency years ago and re-named Project Incubus. They are treated as a single entity by the project despite being multiple people, leading some fans to theorize that they are some form of single entity functioning in multiple bodies. Martin, as the leader, may well be the core of the 3, with the others as parts of his psyche or personality. This would also explain why the quartet is called the Rowdy ‘3’, and not the Rowdy 4 (or 5, since Amanda has joined them). They are Martin’s three ‘rowdy boys’. This might even be a self-deprecating joke of Douglas Adams’ (the writer of the Dirk Gently books), as a reference to his ever-growing Hitchhiker’s Guide ‘trilogy’.
Season 2 of Dirk Gently starts with the Rowdy 3 split up, and searching for each other. Amanda and Vogel are out in the world (and she’s got a new punk ‘do to go with her Rowdy position), while Martin, Cross and Gripps are being held by Project Blackhawk. They’re sedated and chained, hanging in a room where they can be imprisoned for the time being. This season, we’ve learned that Amanda gets visions when she gets her energy consumed, and that she is using the visions to try and track down the other Rowdy 3 members. In addition, while it doesn’t hurt unusual people like Dirk to have their energy consumed, it’s extraordinarily painful for most normal humans. It’s also necessary. If the Rowdy 3 don’t eat, they starve, which makes their pursuit of Dirk seem a little more selfless, as they are intentionally avoiding feeding off normal humans if they don’t have to.
Hunting Dirk Gently
In the coming episodes, with Sgt Friedkin (Dustin Milligan) at his wit’s end, it looks like the Rowdy 3 are going to be released from Project Blackwing. Friedkin is determined to find Dirk, and he knows that Martin and his boys are able to track Dirk by his energy. He’s just stupid enough to release them in an attempt to bring Dirk back, even though most people would realize that when the Rowdy 3 are released, it will be incredibly difficult to bring them back in. Alternatively, Amanda might be able to follow her visions to Blackwater to break them out. They’ll definitely get back together again at some point; we’re just waiting to see when.
This season should also give us a little more information on Project Blackwater itself, what they did, and how it has connected all these special (holistic) people. It’s not necessarily all going to come clear, of course. There’s a whole other subplot with the mystery of ‘the boy’ and a fantasy realm full of scissor-fighters who are looking for Dirk, but little by little, the mysteries of the Rowdy 3’s powers will start to emerge.
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency continues next Saturday with ‘Two Broken Fingers’ @9pm on BBC America.
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