Had this episode aired shortly after the previous episode, in which Paul was introduced and some of the new technology was mentioned, then it might not have felt so out of place. The reintroduction of Ashley, for example, felt more casual than it probably should have been. It really felt like the episodes were edited together all at once, originally intended to air as part of a longer run, and then broken up by a network decision.
The episode suffers a bit for being out of context. Ashleyâs previous appearances are well out of mind, so itâs hard to know if there was any progress in her investigative technique. I prefer to give newer investigators the benefit of the doubt, but Iâm not sure what sheâs bringing to the table, other than a pair of hands. The ârotating sixth memberâ concept has prevented the team from completing the process of gelling into a solid unit.
Robb does his best to get the team around that problem, ensuring that the teams shift around. Unlike TAPS, the teams are not static, which eliminates some of the monotony that has been plaguing the over-formatted âGhost Huntersâ for a few seasons now. The regulars are all making strong contributions, and while I still think Paul takes credit for ideas that have been around for years, he brings a vitality that does GHI some good. It will be sad to see him go, once the South American run is over.
It should really be interesting once the âwinnersâ from âGhost Hunters Academyâ come into the picture. I hope Dustinâs tenure on âGhost Huntersâ was not a sign that he was absent from GHI for any significant amount of time. Dustin is one of the better investigators on the team, especially given his rapport with Barry, and replacing him with either of the âtraineesâ would be a disaster.
If they were brought in as Ashleyâs replacement, perhaps one after the other in separate short runs, that would work better. It wouldnât be perfect, but it would be better. After all, the core team is used to adjusting to new members by now. It wouldnât be as logical as bringing in someone Robb has already worked with (a reasonable solution in the past), but it could minimize the damage. My worry is that GHI might be forced to include âtraining segmentsâ in upcoming episodes to justify the rationale behind Pilgrim Filmsâ expansion of the franchise.
Beyond the team dynamic questions raised during this long hiatus, there is the touchy nature of the location itself. Very little in the historical record supports the notion that Adolf Hitler made it to South American, let alone a specific hotel in Argentina. (Nazis? Yes. Hitler? No.) But even as removed as this particular location might have been from true Nazi territory, thereâs still a certain stigma to investigating such a site. I can imagine a lot of people finding it tasteless.
That said, it seemed like the team understood that it was a controversial choice, and they adjusted accordingly. And they also did a good job of maintaining perspective, since they acknowledged that nothing in the âevidenceâ pointed to Hitler or even Nazis. Had they stepped over that line, it would have been the low point for the group.
Iâm still not comfortable with the static meter. Without any specifications on the device to give me a better feel for what would and would not trigger a response, itâs hard to see how itâs any more credible than the K-II meter. Using such a device as a communication device (and, for that matter, any technical instrument) assumes that the measurable variable in question can be finely manipulated on command. Unlike the K-II meter, however, Iâm not sure how a static meter could be manipulated remotely. (The K-II meter, of course, can be easily triggered by tapping a walkie-talkie nearby.)
I loved the idea of using a remote control rig, and having equipment strapped to the back of a motorized model tank was priceless. (Take the Nazi connection into account, and there was a certain thematic irony at play.) On the other hand, it was a bit disappointing to realize that they had never tested the rig outside of the investigations, to determine what noises are normal during operation. I know the shooting schedule is fairly hectic, but thatâs a fundamental error.
The footsteps were nice and easy to distinguish, but that photo was the most interesting piece of âevidenceâ theyâve had in a long time. Itâs hard to tell if this is really as impressive as it seems at first glance. For one thing, the âheadâ is aligned with a significant bit of lens flare, so combine that with a random smudge in the right location on the bed, and pattern recognition is going to do the rest. But itâs not necessarily that clear-cut, and nothing about the photo leads me to think it was faked. And given that Barry and the others are convinced that apparitions are likely to show up in the UV part of the spectrum, I completely understand how they would draw the conclusion that they did.
If the episode wasnât so out of context with the previous six episodes of the season, and if the location wasnât so questionable, this probably would have been the strongest start to a GHI run since the series began. As it is, this had some good points and one intriguing piece of âevidenceâ, so it is still a solid entry.