This is one of those interesting episodes with two investigations separated by several months, something that has happened in the past but not to such an extreme. All things being equal, I prefer that they cover the investigations in chronological order, because it helps the audience see how things change over time. The first investigation was filmed in early July 2006, and the second investigation was much later in the year during November/December 2006.
In this case, it appears Dustin was unavailable for two filmed investigations, with Mike Dion of NEP stepping in his place. So tying them together was probably a matter of simplifying matters for the production studio. By the rules of the SAG game, if you’re in the credits, you get paid, regardless of the amount of time on-screen, even if it’s a minimal amount by contract. Note that the opening credits changed in this episode to reflect Mike’s involvement.
In general, I thought that this episode was another example of the “old school” TAPS, hedging their bets in terms of weighing the evidence and making the final call. They were coming up with simple debunking solutions more often than not, even when the explanations weren’t necessarily the best fit to the evidence in hand. Since my own approach is conservatively cautious when it comes to evidence, and I’ve always preferred those moments to the wide-eyed reactions of the “European Trilogy”, this made it a more substantial episode for me overall.
While I like Jason and Grant’s explanation for the hovering light story, I also seem to recall several accounts of similar “ghost lights” on ships, particularly large ships with metal hulls like an aircraft carrier. If I’m remembering it correctly (and a quick Google search didn’t jog my memory of the term), it’s related to excess electrical charge. Also, despite what Grant said, there is anecdotal evidence of ball lightning moving at just about every speed conceivable, so it could have been that as well.
Considering the fact that there was at least one other person on board during the investigation (meaning, there could have been more, since TAPS couldn’t really do much to stop it), it was good to see them question their own evidence and simply offer possible explanations rather than definitive solutions. They were really on the fence with this evidence: the odd light in the hallway, the apparent cough (which actually sounded like someone trying to say “get out” to me), and the woman’s voice/shriek. Since they actually heard the woman’s voice, and that’s rare, it leads me to believe it was someone on the ship messing with them. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time.
I did find it unusual for Grant and Brian to say that this was the first time they’d investigated together, if only because I would have expected them to have worked together at some point in the several years previously. If they’ve worked together on-screen, I’m sure others will happily point out the inconsistency. If not, taking into account the investigations that took place long before the show came along, it suggests an odd working arrangement within TAPS.
Warwick City Hall
I’ll cover the TAPS evidence first, because it was covered in an interesting manner. Instead of treating the “sobbing” sound as direct evidence of paranormal activity, they simply noted that they captured the same sound that was reported and now the next step is identifying possible sources. That’s exactly what I was hoping they would say, and it’s nice to see that kind of restraint. It’s precisely the kind of restraint that seemed to be missing in the “Nightmare Noises” episode.
That said, I wonder how much of their analysis of the security footage was taken out of the final edit. I know I hit the rewind button several times, just to look at it again, because something doesn’t seem quite right. The frame before and during the “apparition” is darker than the frame that comes after, in my opinion. Also, Jason almost made it out of frame in less than three seconds in an unfamiliar building with the lights off; how easy would it be for someone to get out of the room in less time if they were familiar with their surroundings and could see the exit?
Some might be disappointed by the lack of impressive activity, but I was pleased with the treatment of the apparent evidence.