After a highly entertaining case in the previous episode, I wasnât expecting much out of this installment. Even the initial moments of the episode seemed to suggest that this would be a fairly average outing. In essence, it still was, but the two cases both had their interesting aspects. They were by no means a waste of time.
They were, however, obviously placed out of chronological order. Itâs painfully evident, especially when Ashley talks in the one case about how sheâs never quite been that affected by a case before. Her experiences in the previous episode seemed to hit her a lot harder. More casual viewers might have questioned the sincerity of the team, rather than question the production decision to leave in the apparent discrepancy.
My only complaint with the rearrangement is particular to GHI. They turn over team members so often that the rearrangement takes away one of the points of interest: seeing the new team members find their place within the organization. Instead, the scattershot presentation makes it seem like the team members are effectively interchangeable. (Well, at least the âyoung attractive femaleâ slot.)
In the wake of the previous episodeâs review, some took me to task for overlooking the fact that very little debunking took place during the case. I think two things factor into that: the editing and the obvious psychological factor. Thanks to the editing process, we canât be sure that debunking was not attempted. More than once, TAPS and GHI have stated that the editors have left out their attempts to debunk personal experiences. And thereâs no denying that a strong psychological effect will become a distraction, and will challenge objectivity.
But I do think thereâs a valid criticism to be made. The team hasnât quite recovered from losing Andy during the first season. Andy had a good reason to stay behind, but Joe is a far cry from Andy. Joe is a lot more sedate and, frankly, doesnât add much to the team. Note how Barry and Dustin have become a lot more prominent as the main support for Robb since Andyâs departure. Barry and Dustin work well together, and they even have a book coming out soon, regarding the approach that they prefer when investigating.
Itâs true that Barry has been a lot more active in debunking âevidenceâ since Andy left the team, and I happen to think that Barry is one of the better investigators in the franchise, despite his tendency to overreact to supposed activity. But the team dynamic has definitely changed, and that is an example of something that is only apparent over time. When newer team members are only around for a short period, mixing up the cases out of order takes away the viewerâs ability to gauge that memberâs contributions and/or growth.
But then, maybe thatâs just something that I think about when I watch the show!
Case #1: Moosham Castle, Austria
The first thing I noticed in this case was the nature of the EVPs. Unlike a lot of the EVPs featured on this show (and in the franchise), these examples were well above the noise floor of the recording. Thereâs clearly something there in the recording, so itâs easy to see why the team found them significant.
Iâm rarely impression by photos, because I think a lot of what is âseenâ is pattern recognition and open to interpretation. (Photos are also much easier to falsify, though I personally donât think that applies in this situation.) I can see what they interpret as a figure in the photograph, but Iâm not sure that I would have come to the conclusion so readily. And I would have liked to have seen attempts to debunk the photo, similar to the work done in the second case.
But, as I mentioned earlier, that could have been left on the editing room floor. After all, this case felt rushed in presentation, and I think that had a lot to do with the decision to cram this case into less than an hour-long time slot.
Case #2: Schloss Portia, Austria
The second case was interesting to me because Iâm of two minds on their treatment of the âevidenceâ that was previously collected. On the one hand, I found the pictures that were presented by the client to be a perfect example of wishful thinking. Both pictures were a huge stretch, and I agreed with the team when they dismissed their own picture for similar reasons.
But I do think that GHI did the client (and themselves) a disservice by presenting recreations that didnât really address the same conditions as the photos that were analyzed. They really werenât even close. Never mind that the conditions could never be precisely the same, and thus comparison photos wouldnât be able to debunk anything properly in the first place.
The point is that it makes them seem dismissive of anything they havenât collected themselves. Which, to be fair, is not something that GHI alone has done, and itâs probably better than the alternative that is often seen (accepting such items on faith). But just as dismissing something anomalous with questionable debunking undermines confidence, so does dismissing what a client brings to you without making sure you have a solid explanation.
One thing I loved about this case was Robbâs reaction to the loud bang. He just about hits the ceiling and looks like heâs going to soil himself. Just like Ashleyâs terror in the previous episode, this is clearly a genuine reaction to an unexpected sound. I donât think they ever managed to identify the source of the noise, so Iâm impressed that Robb didnât declare the place haunted. His on-the-fence conclusion is easy to understand!