It was bound to happen eventually. This is the first episode of the series where I’ve felt a noticeable decline in enjoyment when compared to the previous episode. I have to start off by saying this episode is by no means a bad episode. It just sticks out as being my least favorite of the series so far and in a season of absolutely stellar episodes, the change is a bit jarring.
This episode, like most this season, has two major plotlines in its structure. The first sees Vic and Rita come face to face with a man known as “The Beard Hunter”, who has been hired by the Bureau of Normalcy to find Niles. The Beard Hunter is one of the most eccentric characters on the show (that’s saying a lot) and does probably the most disgusting thing I’ve seen this week. I’ll let you imagine what that could have been. I shuddered again just thinking about it. But regardless while he’s not the best character, he stands out because of his personality and accomplishes his role of creating conflict with Rita and Vic.
One thing of note that I did really like about this episode was the narrative structure. Aside from flashbacks (which I’ll get into in a moment) the events of this episode take place concurrently with that of last week’s “Jane Patrol”. I love this storytelling approach and it marks yet another time this season where I’ve had to tip my hat to the showrunners/writers for impressing me with the creative story structure they’ve employed.
I mentioned flashbacks and that’s where the second plotline of this episode comes into play. I don’t want to get too far into it because it can get rather spoilery, but we spend a lot of time with Niles. He becomes stranded in the wilderness in Northern Yukon Territory in 1913 and his fight for survival and the events that follow are quite compelling. I love the look of these scenes, I’m a sucker for snowy forest and mountain settings, and they also give a lot more character backstory and depth to Niles. There are also some big revelations at the end about Niles as a character that will definitely have an impact as we draw closer to the end of the season.
Overall “Hair Patrol” gives us some big revelations and important character beats but unfortunately stands out as being my least favorite this season. It’s still enjoyable but doesn’t reach that next level awesome that the series has constantly carried. As usual, the cast delivers great performances all around and the production value stays consistent with what the series has established.