This extension to the first season of "GHI" ushers in some fundamental changes to the series. (Note: Yes, according to the production numbering, this is actually still the first season. I thought it was supposed to be the second season, but apparently the most recent contract deal redefined which episodes are in which season and that means we're still in the first season. Until they change their minds again, that is. What is it with this franchise and defining the seasons that makes it so hard?)
First and foremost, we have another shift in the status quo. Andy elected not to return for this leg of the series' run so he could spend time with his family. This is certainly understandable, and thankfully, there are no rumors to contradict that motive. On the one hand, a seemingly large percentage of the audience will take satisfaction in his departure. There were a number of vocal fans of the franchise who hated Andy and found his personality grating. Unfortunately, he was also the most enthusiastic debunker on the team (and really, within the franchise as a whole). While he was sometimes a bit too willing to embrace his own explanations and theories, he brought a necessary element to the team. It's unlikely that any of the new members will provide that insight.
I consider Robb and Dustin to be reasonably good at what they do. They do tend to believe and accept a little too much on occasion, but what paranormal investigator doesn't? Barry continues to be over-reactive at times. Surprisingly, this episode didn't do much for Brandy, who came across as far more grounded in her earlier debut. The newest member, Angela, is still a bit of a mystery, but I'm a bit disappointed that she introduced herself as relying more on her emotions and personal experiences. With Andy's departure, is that what the team really needs?
Of course, this is Robb's show now, without a doubt, so there's no surprise that he would want people he's worked with in the past. It has to be a lot easier than riding herd on former "Ghost Hunters" cast members. The benefit should be a more cohesive team dynamic, something that has been missing from the start. It should make it harder for Pilgrim Films to pigeonhole cast members into stereotypes through editing.
The other major change is the switch to High Definition. It's been a long time coming, but it was worth the wait. What else should be used when the team is visiting so many gorgeous locations? Fans will love it for that reason alone. Skeptics will also love it, because if there's one way to highlight the horrible quality of some of the video, this is it. And if anyone is trying to pull a fast one, one has to wonder if everyone involved is used to what high definition brings to the table in terms of detail. (Snarky side note: some cast members might want to adjust their look for the new resolution, because seriously, some things look horrible in HD.)
Team changes and presentation upgrades aside, it all comes down to the investigative practices and the "evidence". The practices haven't changed much. I still think Barry is moving in the right direction by using a multi-functional camera rig to develop comparison shots; the real question is whether or not the technology is being properly applied and whether or not the resulting data is properly analyzed. It does no good if the investigator using the technology doesn't account for the shortcomings of the tech itself. In this case, I'm intrigued by the photographs, but I'd say the jury's out until someone with definitive photography expertise can evaluate the methods and results.
The EVP/disembodied voice was less impressive. As usual, I have my doubts about any audible voice that is captured, especially in buildings with unusual acoustic properties. Granted, there didn't seem to be much opportunity for two women to have a hushed conversation anywhere nearby, but if it can't be proven otherwise, it's still a potential e