Terriers Rewatch, Episode 13: Hail Mary

“Ah, we’ve been in worse situations. I can’t think of any off the top of my head, but they’re there.”
– Britt, to Hank

The division of a series into a seasonal structure gives television some narrative idiosyncrasies as a medium. Serialized stories build up to finales that put protagonists in seemingly impossible situations, only to let them weasel through some deus ex machina before the credits roll. In a sense, “Hail Mary” suffers from this very problem. When all hope seems to be lost, Hank finds out that he has had access to blackmail material on Tom Cutshaw, the mastermind behind the Ocean Beach airport plan, all along, which he then uses to stop Cutshaw from going through with the plan.

However, to put it like that is to do a disservice to Hank and his journey this season. Hank has had to prove that he has worth as a person, both to himself and to others. He has had to realize that it’s still worth fighting the good fight, even when all hope is lost. More than that, though, he has had to learn that he has to stop trying to find self-worth in fixing things for other people and in making choices for them. That’s why the episode – and season (and series) – ends with Hank giving Britt the option of serving his jail sentence or escaping to Mexico.
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Terriers Rewatch, Episode 11: Sins of the Past

“Sounds like it’s time for you to get a new partner…and a new line of work.”
– Hank, to Britt

At the time he said it, Hank couldn’t have known that that line would apply as much to himself as it did to Britt. He didn’t realize that his alcoholism would cost him both his job and his marriage. But his new ally, Laura Ross, has some information that could help him close the case he was working when he lost his job.
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Terriers Rewatch, Episode 8: Agua Caliente

“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. Continue reading “Terriers Rewatch, Episode 8: Agua Caliente”

Terriers Rewatch, Episode 7: Missing Persons

“Mom, you want ice cream?”
— Steph

We’ve known Hank’s sister, Steph, for a few episodes now. We know that she’s blunt, eccentric, and socially awkward, but we’ve also seen the loving relationship that she has with her brother. Surprisingly, though, previous Terriers episodes haven’t gone into detail about what Steph’s “condition” is. We know that’s it’s a psychiatric disorder, based on numerous references to self-harm, but the show hasn’t given us much in the way of detail. “Missing Persons” remedies that by giving us a look inside Steph’s head during one of her psychotic episodes. Continue reading “Terriers Rewatch, Episode 7: Missing Persons”

Terriers Rewatch, Episode 6: Ring-a-Ding-Ding

“I messed up.”
– Katie

Television often draws its inspiration from real-life events. Perhaps the case in “Ring-a-Ding-Ding” was a wholly original creation of episode writer Angela Kang. But it’s easy to see reflections of celebrity infidelity scandals such as John Edwards’ extramarital affair in the episode. It’s also easy to look at such situations and say, “I would never do something like that.” That’s the reaction Hank has when he finds out what Dale Komack has been doing behind his wife’s back. It’s easy for him to shame Dale and make snappy remarks about the cheater. But when he finds out that Katie cheated on Britt, he can’t bring himself to react the same way.

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Terriers Rewatch, Episode 5: Manifest Destiny

Britt: Huh.
Hank: What were you thinking? It would explode?
Britt: I was kind of hoping, yeah.

Terriers is skilled at subverting viewer expectations. After a lengthy comedic build-up where Hank and Britt go back and forth over pushing Lindus’ car into a ravine, the moment when they finally tip the car over the edge feels somewhat like a deflating balloon. The viewer can’t help but feel a tinge of sympathy when Britt says that he wished the car had exploded.

However, Terriers has no interest in blowing things up. It might not be an overly subtle show, but its louder moments tend to be cacophonous rather than explosive. Terriers isn’t interested in catharsis. Every time it seems as if our heroes have reached a resolution, the show yanks it away. This point is best illustrated by the final few minutes of “Manifest Destiny,” in which Steph explains to Hank that the pedological report about the soil on the Montague construction site was faked. Suddenly, Hank realizes that the Lindus case might run deeper than he thought. Continue reading “Terriers Rewatch, Episode 5: Manifest Destiny”

Terriers Rewatch, Episode 4: Fustercluck

“Steal a quarter of a million dollars for me.”
— Robert Lindus

Sorry for the delay in posting this write-up. Real life got hectic for a while last week. I promise to pick up the pace next week.

In the middle of “Fustercluck,” Hank and Britt rob a safe that once belonged to Lindus but has since been seized by the police. The way the sequence is filmed, it looks as if Britt is going to use his thieving skills to break into the building where the safe is housed and take the contents by himself, with Hank merely acting as the getaway driver. But instead of going directly for the safe, Britt deliberately breaks the alarm panel, setting off the alarm. Hank goes in posing as a security system repairman and makes off with the contents of the safe by tricking the guards on duty into thinking that he’s merely resetting the alarm. It’s a clever ruse that works out well for our two detectives, but it also serves as a metaphor for the episode: nothing is what it seems. Continue reading “Terriers Rewatch, Episode 4: Fustercluck”