Britt: I need a drink, more than ever in my life.
Hank: I don’t.

In the previous episode, we saw Hank unravel his own life as well as the lives of those around him. Now, shunned by his ex-wife and banned from her wedding, he doesn’t have much left. But, as luck would have it, a case drops right into his lap.

Hank’s alcoholism has been in the background for much of the show. We know that it caused him to lose both his wife and his job, yet we’ve only ever seen him sober. But just knowing about his alcoholic past is enough to create tension. Early in “Asunder,” devastated on Gretchen’s wedding day, Hank orders a drink in an attempt to deal with his feelings of depression. But he manages to resist, running to the bathroom to splash cold water in his face and bring himself back to reality.

It’s during that serendipitous trip to the restroom that Hank overhears a conversation between Ben Zeitlin and Burke, the men responsible for the death of Mickey Gosney. They’re meeting with Laura Ross, a blogger who has been working the Ocean Beach land case. Ross wants to know why Zeitlin is involved in buying up huge tracts of land, and toxic land at that. (She doesn’t yet know that the pedological reports were faked). Of course, Zeitlin doesn’t want to tell anyone what’s really going on, so he threatens both Ross and her mother to make sure none of it goes public.

Hank manages to overhear all of this with help of Britt’s techie friends, putting himself back on the Montague case. With some clever thinking, he manages to save both Ross and her mother, and now he’s more determined than ever to take Zeitlin and his cronies down. With renewed purpose in his life, he has no need for alcohol to numb his feelings.

Meanwhile, things haven’t been going so well for Britt. He has been aware that Katie has been acting strange lately, and he thinks it’s because she might be pregnant. However, he’s still pretty happy with his life, until Katie drops the bombshell that she cheated on him. And with that, everything in Britt’s life falls apart. Aside from his friendship with Hank, his whole life revolved around Katie and making her happy. Now, he’s left with nothing.

The entire episode takes place over the span of just a few hours. In that time, Hank has found a new reason to keep fighting the good fight, while Britt has gone from engaged and happy to single and devastated. In the same length of time, Laura Ross has been plunged deep into a conspiracy that is more dangerous and wide-reaching than she could have ever imagined. “Asunder” shows us just how quickly our lives can change and how fickle fate can be. In just a few hours, Hank regained a reason to keep on living, but it came at the cost of Britt’s happiness.

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