I can't wait to see the criticisms for this episode. Two cases, and the sum total of "evidence" is a sketchy EVP that could really be anything. There will be, no doubt, a ton of comments about how boring it all was. And there will also be comments about how this was a calculated effort to gain the trust of the audience, as they once again claim to be skeptics (when they clearly are not).
I, for one, was not bored. These are the episodes I like above all. I can see why an episode that has no "evidence" and a lot of standing/sitting around asking for signs and portents would be tedious, but I love it when they are actively debunking and testing the environment for alternative solutions. I don't care if it's meant as psychological contrast. When they do things right, I think they deserve credit for it.
It's really that simple. In my opinion, this is the kind of episode that should be the norm, not the exception. I prefer the analytical approach, even if it's not as entertaining as the histrionics of the "Ghost Adventures" crew. (That live event was exhausting, and I'm just talking about the current barrage of Zak's over-enthusiasm.) I think a lot of the points brought up in the debunking were instructive. Maybe the team was on their best behavior because they had a serious, skeptical guest, but I really don't care. This was the first episode in a long time where I was left satisfied.
Case #1: Buffalo Bill Museum, CO
Quite a few people came out after the promo for this episode with stories of their experiences at this museum. Or rather, their lack of paranormal experiences. The general consensus was that the site is not haunted in the slightest. Had TAPS found a ton of "evidence", I think it would have raised some doubts, and not in a good way.
But as I said, this is a good example of when TAPS gets it right. No FLIR nonsense, no K-II nonsense, just tracking down sources of anomalies. Of course, those big honking towers were pretty hard to miss. High EMF may not explain everything that happens in the location, but it does cover quite a bit.
I've read some articles where it's pointed out that Steve and Tango are showing a bit more of the investigative skills than they have in the past, now that their own show is coming on the air. I think that's a fair point, but again, I don't care so much about the whys and wherefores when they are trying harder in the right ways. Tracking down the "footsteps", instead of assuming the source, was instructive.
That said, I think Tango's little speech about how he's happy to pass on all the great knowledge and training that TAPS has given him over the years was a little over the top. First of all, I have my doubts about the level of training in the TAPS organization, especially these days. Second, this is a blatant shout-out to the fact that Steve and Tango will be "training" new investigators on their own show. And third, a lot of what Steve and Tango do falls well outside the boundaries of "common sense".
But even that gave me more of a chuckle than anything else. Kudos to the team for dismissing the "EVP", which could have been almost anything, and acknowledging that the EMF was going to affect their equipment and perceptions and make any "evidence" pretty much invalid.
Case 2: Oakland Hall, GA
In keeping with the usual pattern, there was even less happening during this case than the first, and the energy level of the team was in keeping with the lack of activity. I thought they seemed pretty bored for most of the investigation. Frankly, paranormal investigation is not the most exciting hobby in the world, and it's hard to drink enough caffeine to simulate Zak's energy level on a regular basis.
I like the idea of bringing in an electrician. It would have been easy to claim that the plug was pulled out of the wall by unseen forces, but a lot of older buildings have very loose sockets. I've been in houses where the plug simply won't stay in the socket at all, because they are too loose. It's the sort of thing I would expect a homeowner to realize after a little bit of time, but there we are.
The alleged EVP was interesting, but it was also impossible to make out, and the various suggestions given didn't seem to match the sound very well. They did the right thing by not forcing an interpretation and leaving it as it was.
I've been a fan since the beginning, and I remember a time when episodes like this were the norm. While I think this season has been a lot more sedate than the previous two, and that this is a direct response to the criticisms of the 2008 Halloween debacle, they would still be better served going back to the original feel of those first couple seasons.