The best news this week was the repudiation of the announcement that Kris Williams had been released from her contract. Whether it was all a misunderstanding or a reversal based on fan outcry, it avoids yet another instance of turnover on the team. I prefer stability when it comes to the personnel these days, especially since they've stopped bringing in more technically-minded members on rotation.
I'm still not sure what to think of Ami Bruni. I think she'll work out better than Joe; for all that he might have been a good investigator off-screen, I don't think he was ever comfortable in front of the camera and he never seemed to convey the same level of confidence as the rest of the team. It's also a matter of contribution; Joe never seemed to bring much to the investigations. It's the same general complaint I have with Kristyn Gartland. Hopefully, as the fourth season wraps up and the fifth season commences, Ami will find firmer footing.
One might wonder if TAPS was listening to some of the complaints this season. The considerable use of the K-II Meter would suggest otherwise, since a good portion of the audience would love to see it tossed into the nearest dumpster, but other smaller changes have been a positive development. The music may not be gone, but they dial it back during key moments. This episode seemed to focus more on practical debunking practices, which is a callback to the earlier seasons. More of that wouldn't hurt.
Case #1: Clovis Avenue Sanitarium, CA
One thing Iâd like to see out of the inevitable Kris/Ami pairing is a level of competence at least equal to Steve and Dave (if not better). I don't want them to become the Scream Team. I think they were on roughly the same level. Both Kris/Ami and Steve/Dave had something move that they weren't expecting, and they both tried to figure out the source. There wasn't much that Kris and Ami could do when it came to the rock, but I liked Steve's decision to go to the videotape on the big screen and get the facts sooner rather than later.
Before the investigation, Jason and Grant noted that outside noise was going to be a factor. I can't help but wonder if that had anything to do with the "disembodied voice". It was incredibly loud and clear, practically louder than the investigators themselves on the recording. And they did a nice job of demonstrating that they searched around the room for any obvious speakers, so unless they missed something (which is always a possibility), it's hard to pin down. (The flashlight incident, as usual, is rendered meaningless by the method they use to make it "easier to manipulate".)
Yet I can't shake a certain degree of skepticism, based on the recent rise in audible "disembodied voices" this season. It's similar to the rise in unusual thermal images and, before that, EVPs. Back in the first and even second season, EVPs were treasured rarity, and anything caught on the thermal system was sensational. Now, they're all but expected. The rise in audible phenomena is becoming a regular catch, and it makes me wary. Especially when this investigation is followed by a TAPS-related event at the end of the month, and the owner is renovating the property as a "haunted hotel".
Case #2: The Windward Grille, MA
It's rather obvious what I found most interesting about this case: the magnetic cutlery. That was a nice catch by Steve, and one that I imagine a lot of investigators might have missed. In fact, a lot of the reported activity was able to be debunked through simple experimentation and reasoning, and that's the kind of case that I like to see. Taken in combination with the attempt to debunk the voice in the first case, it wasn't a bad night for fans of similar tastes.
They did, of course, manage to find something that they considered to be an EVP. I have reservations, because the supposed voice was buried deep in the background noise and barely discernable. I think they were reaching a b