“Kid’s lucky to have you.”
— Mark, to Hank
In many ways, “Agua Caliente” seems like an episode of Bizarro Terriers. A large portion of it takes place in Mexico, away from the comfort of Ocean Beach. Hank is paired up with his old partner, Mark. Gretchen is absent from the proceedings, as if Hank’s family life is no longer a concern. But the episode serves to tie up a couple of loose ends as well as to hint at things to come.
“Agua Caliente” is important for resolving a thread about Hank and Britt’s relationship. For most of the series so far, Hank has been the leader and Britt has been the follower. The two of them have even had a couple of arguments to that effect. The cynical among us would be quick to point out that Hank practically uses Britt as a tool. It seems odd that Britt still sticks with Hank, despite all of this. In this episode, we finally find out why: Hank would do anything for Britt. He even enlists the help of his old partner, Mark, probably the last person with whom he’d ever want to work. And down he goes to Mexico, with Mark by his side, to get rescue Britt.
It’s somewhat surprising that Mark even agreed to help in the first place. He’s not exactly on the best of terms with Hank, but Hank is able to appeal to Mark’s sympathy, since Mark seems to have taken a liking to Britt. In the process, Mark realizes that Hank is essentially a good person and that he has legitimately been trying to put his life on the mend. Mark may still have not forgiven for the yet-to-be-revealed sin that Hank committed while they were partners, but at least he has managed to develop some respect for what the man has now become, and he realizes that Hank is a valuable part of Britt’s life. As Britt puts it:
“A while ago, you said that Hank would let me down. The guy getting put in that ambulance right there, he just took a bullet for my girl, went to Tijuana to rescue my ass.”
Indicating his newfound respect for Hank, Mark jokingly replies:
“I didn’t say he wouldn’t have his moments.”
This episode is also an important one for Britt, who has been trying to put his past as a thief behind him. No matter what he does, he can’t seem to get Ray out of his life, a constant reminder of the fact that he used to steal for a living. Britt symbolically lets go of that past in this episode, when he decides to get a hold of the gang member’s cell phone through nonviolent means in a face-to-face confrontation. He makes his case for wanting the phone, drops off the cocaine, and gets the phone handed to him. He doesn’t hurt anybody to get it, he doesn’t employ trickery, and most importantly, he doesn’t steal it.
But even though Britt no longer sees himself as a dirty thief, he has a new concern: he wants to know what happened between Hank and Mark in the past to cause a rift in their friendship. That won’t be revealed to us for a while, unfortunately. As much as Terriers is willing to provide closure for its characters, it’ll never stop mining the depths of their personal demons. It won’t be long before we learn about Hank’s time with the bottle.
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