It’s not quite up there with “pretending to be a couple”, but the “things that go bump in the night” episode is another time-honoured procedural trope that at least half of unpopcult is very fond of, and the rules are pretty clear. Number one: The Mulder/Scully principle – one partner’s super-sceptical, one’s more open-minded to the possibility of supernatural goings-on. Two: by episode’s end, there will be a rational explanation for most of the supposedly unexplained shenanigans. Three: but not for all of them, because Four: a little lingering eerieness is no bad thing. And five: yeah, no, I think that about covers it, unless – bonus ball – the OTP have to hold/hug/grab onto each other at some point because, y’know, scary times.
So, faced with the prospect of all these delights in addition to the usual joy that is Private Eyes, my levels of excitement on sitting down to watch this week’s were almost as high as Mount Logan. It’s to the show’s credit, then, that, despite it breaking just about every rule on the list and turning the episode into something entirely different than I expected, I thoroughly enjoyed it anyway.
From the start, nobody – and certainly not Shade, my pick for the likely Mulder – even entertains the prospect of anything supernatural. No, the rational explanation is revealed very quickly and the rest of the episode drops any hint of eerieness (and any hope of hold/grab/hugging) in favour of a fight against the far more prosaic realities of corruption, big business and Angie’s unique filing system. Which, because this is Private Eyes, is not just fine, but surprisingly fun and warm-hearted. It also seems to be a gentle way to reset the template for the rest of the season. Angie’s Dead Parent Conspiracy Arc takes a sharp swerve away from the expected route and ends up being nothing of the sort, albeit still giving us some very SQUEE-able moments along the way. New character Zoe, doing a decent job treading the fine line between quirky and annoying, might say she’s needed as “a buffer” between Shade and Angie – she isn’t, they’re lovely and they clearly adore each other, come on – but she’s really there to fill the space left by the absent Jules. And Ennis Esmer’s Maz looks like he’s going to be taking up the screen time Nolan would have had last year, which is great because Nolan is always angry, Maz is great fun, and HELLO, it’s Ennis Esmer, COME ON.
With the innate niceness at its heart, the relatively low-stakes (I mean, yes it’s corruption and threats and whatnot, but most procedurals we watch involve mass murdering serial killers and such) mystery solved and the villains vanquished in “if it wasn’t for those pesky kids…” Scooby Doo fashion, the whole thing is very, very Canadian, which I mean as a compliment of the highest order. I suspect that the world would be in significantly better shape if folk tried to be a bit more Private Eyes and a bit less True Detective, but there we go.