Terriers Episodes 3-4: Fakery and Foolishness

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Terriers S01E03 & S01E04: "Change Partners" & "Fustercluck"

At the heart of any relationship is "trust." Way down past the "romance gland," there exists a deep agreement between two born strangers that what's happening on the outside in terms of words and actions is pretty much the same inside the brain and heart (if my Tome of Medieval Medicine serves me true). When either party betrays that trust, then honey, it's time to wake up and break up or make up. Wow, I should be a daytime television host. Next up, "How to Stop Your Cat From Eating All Your Chips."

With a title like "Change Partners" it makes sense that in Episode 3 we'd be exploring the various relationships of our Ocean Beach buddies. I counted five dynamics being explored in varying capacities: Hank and Britt, Britt and an ex-partner, Britt and Katie, Hank and Gretchen, and a case-of-the-week couple with a very particular take on infidelity. Hank kicked things off by duping Britt into stealing the wallet of Gretchen's fiancee for selfish reasons thus putting the Gomez Bros' usual trust on the rocks. Not to mention he still hasn't paid Britt his half of the Lindus cash used to secure the "museum of mistakes" because he can't get approved for a loan. I know this whole remarriage stuff has Hank hurting, but it is unfair that he spend his life (and Britt's) trying to stop Gretchen from moving on with hers. It looked like Hank would be rejected by every bank in town until a money man (Shawn Doyle / Big Love's Joey Henrickson) offered him possible loan approval for snooping on his wife (Olivia Williams), whom he suspected of running around under his nose.

No fair, how come Rigoberto down at my local CHASE branch never told me about this financial workaround? While Hank ran his financial errands, Britt reconnected with crime-pal-from-the-past Ray, (Maximiliano Hernandez / Ringer's Detective Towers) a self-professed "dick [but] not an asshole."

Ray busted Britt's chops while also covertly testing Katie's knowledge of her boyfriend's thieving past. Just like a terrible friend, he threatened him into teaming up again, all like "do this or I'll really tell Katie about your past." It's always tricky having mysterious information act as a character motivator. You don't want to withhold details from the audience for too long because the more the character reacts to an unknown variable the less we know whether his reaction is appropriate to the stakes. Like if the mystery thing was just about how Britt once sang professionally as a Thai drag queen in the Golden Triangle from 1994-1999, we'd be like, Britt what's the big deal?

So Hank followed the banker's wife and came back with zilch, which pissed off the money man for some reason. He wanted her to be cheating? I guess because he was a powerful man and so sure of himself, and did not like to be argued with? He gave Hank one more chance to come up with something and by this time Britt got over being angry with him enough to ride along. I guess whatever skeletons Ray threatened to unleash must've spooked him into getting a semi-real job. "I will not commit crime, but I will skulk around some Basilica-type building for fifty smackeroos."

Clearly the best best thing about being a private eye is getting to go outside so much. I haven't seen daylight in three years, not since a maintenance worker caved in my saggy roof because he was looking up while sneezing. Me aside, this sequence was a sweet nod to old-school detective movies. Rather peaceful actually. Hand signals, footsteps, ducking—the whole shebang. It was pretty cool until the wife maced Hank, then broke things down: Her husband had a condition where he received a sexual thrill from being cuckolded (cuckolditis). She played along for real just once until she didn't want to have affairs anymore, and started lying to him about being unfaithful. This got to be tiresome, so she came clean which really messed with her husband's head. Seemed like pretty specific circumstances, but I'm sure there are some documented cases like this one out there. It was real enough for me to give Terriers another check mark in the originality department. I mean, how often is the private eye responsible for making a crime (of the heart) look like it happened to the very person who hired him?

Meanwhile Britt's friend behaved increasingly inappropriate by surprising Katie at work (via stalking) and intruding on their household (via creepy-crawling). No honor among thieves, right? Luckily Hank came up with a solution to all problems by getting Katie and Britt away from their digs to help stage some steamy affair pics with the banker's wife in a seedy hotel.

Case closed! Or not, because the banker loved the pictures so much he wanted to watch his wife do the deed in person. Both Hank and the wife were like "Crap!" as they wallowed in each other's problems. At this point, we got a pretty succinct character description of Hank when the wife said, "You're a sweet man Hank...sweet and broken." Then they embraced and wallowed in something else on the floor. Later on when Hank went to collect his signed loan forms, the banker was like "You lied to me" after some Google-sleuthing yielded a news article about Hank and Britt's past with different haircuts.

Hank was so fed up with this housing problem that his bubble collapsed and he launched into an an angry description of having made love to the banker's wife. Specifically how when she "comes, she laughs like a 10-year-old...and she laughed a lot last night." At which point the money man agreed to sign the forms, excused Hank from his office, and promptly orgasmed himself right out the office window.

No, yeah he lept to his death. Sad. In Brittland, uh, Britt tricked Ray into landing some fingerprints onto a gun used in a robbery, ostensibly sending his buddy to jail. Riding high from this victory, he finally told Katie about his deep dark past. Legend has it before they met, he once broke into her house and then stalked Katie because she was so beautiful. He was so smitten with her looks that he never stole a single thing after that. That is theoretically romantic I got to say, but in the real world it's creepy. Katie was horrified and made him leave, but then whispered that she wanted him to actually break in through the window so they could get freaky. Ladies I am all for a woman's right to choose a burglar as a lover, but nine times out of ten he will ruin your life.

In the financial district, Hank wrapped things up by forging the dead man's signature and hightailing it out of there. While this is technically not legal, I still think he made the right choice because seriously, the dude deserves a break and at least he wasn't hurting anybody in his immediate circle of friends. Clearly he felt raw about the whole affair, so he broke out the old guitar while a figure in the background slinked into his attic. Oooh, scary…

My main takeaway from this episode is that, when flawed people relate to each other the outcome can be exciting, but the companionship suffers an abuse not present in healthy relationships (for good reason). Hank and Britt tolerate one another's tics because their original partnership was built on a deeper trust that has yet to be tested past its limits (though Hank better watch out, because he is getting pretty close).

In Episode 4, "Fustercluck," Hank took a break from screwing over his loved ones and the stresses of home ownership to return to a big meaty heist gig. From a man he put in jail: Robert Lindus. What the Gomez Bros. assumed was an open-and-shut case, Lindus claimed actually went way past himself to some clandestine superiors who were allegedly preventing him from accessing his assets. Of course Hank and Britt didn't believe him, because he's a pretty obvious enemy, but they are gumshoes so they did some poking around. They found out that Hank's old pal Mickey recently worked as a security guard for a company assigned to the construction site of the new Montague resort. A trip to the local gin-joint offered some more background on Mickey's last days and how he got fired after asking too many questions about some suits that were hanging out around the site. Let this be a lesson, security guards: You are paid to not ask questions.

Well-enough convinced, they took up Lindus on his offer: Break into a building with a safe that held his golden parachute kit and they'd walk away with a cool $100,000 (damn, Britt could pay off Katie's student loans and Hank could retire down in San Juanico). Plus, to sweeten the deal, Lindus promised to throw in the name of the guy responsible for Mickey's death. Seemed simple enough, except since Lindus's arrest, the building was under patrol by all kinds of security guards and cameras and alarms and whatnot. This would take some planning in the comfort of Hank's own home. Oh yeah, remember all that racket all up in his roof? Turned out it was just his knucklehead mentally ill sister, Stephanie.

Hiya Steph! (Fun fact: Karina Logue is Donal Logue's true-life twin sister). She had apparently been living there for three weeks which didn't come as that much of a surprise to Hank, so he must be used to this kind of behavior. Everyone right now check your homes and see if a friend or loved one is living in the crawlspace. Stephanie was off her meds and had checked herself out of the hospital which I assumed was possible, because I do not know the first thing about wards. Being responsible for a mentally ill sibling takes energy and Hank fell right into the role of loving caretaker. However, dang, what a thing to consider while planning an intricate heist that same night. Luckily he and Britt got Kelly (what an angel!) to babysit Stephanie while Britt and Hank got they Ocean's Eleven on.

It was a cool two-man operation involving disguises, electronics, and dopey security guards that worked like a charm. Is there anything these guys can't do? The next day Hank and Britt delivered the goods to Lindus's trophy wife but had a few questions about a certain key included in the parachute kit. She claimed not to know what it opened, but did give Hank the name of the dude who killed Mickey. Man Hank is a good buddy. I don't know if I have any friends who would avenge me the way Hank did by almost shoving a needle in some dude's eye.

But alas, it was just some street junky who got paid to kill Mickey, however he did sputter out a description of his employer: a man in a tan suit and chunky glasses (a.k.a. my Sunday best). As suspected, Lindus used the money to make bail and was ready to skip town with his family until Hank and Britt forced him into the Gomez Bros. beater and made him reveal what secrets that key beheld. I guessed wrong, and instead of mint-condition Dream Team basketball cards, inside the lock box were some kind of site-test results belonging to the Montague that Lindus never should've laid eyes on. No one there could make heads or tails of the documents, and I must say it was refreshing to see the MacGuffin be a physical set of typed-up science papers, and not a thumb drive or something modern. Science is a mysterious world all its own, which only thickens this plotty stew.

Lindus had them stowed away as leverage against the resort in case things went pear-shaped, which they continued to do in the form of Lindus getting plowed by a car on an attempted getaway. It was pretty tragic, but I've got to say I did gasp in amusement when Lindus shouted what has got to be the shadiest phrase to say after getting hit by a car: "No hospitals!" Britt and Hank took Lindus back to Hank's place and tried to keep him conscious long enough to explain the meaning of the documents. Between this and Ted's fate on Breaking Bad, Christopher Cousins is fast becoming the king of being mired in scandal and paying the price for it.

Sadly, Lindus perished before they could make sense of the information and if that wasn't bad enough, Detective Gustafson came a-knocking at the door. The trophy wife had squawked to the coppers about how Hank kidnapped Lindus, which he thoroughly denied. For me the episode could have ended before Hank's old partner showed up and they had to do a quick song and dance in order to hide Lindus's body, though I did appreciate getting to see once again just how in-tune Britt and Hank are as coworkers. They hid the body successfully, but had to end the episode zipping off to the police station to answer a few questions.

Wow! Only four episodes in and things have naturally escalated to some pretty crazy levels with some fun case-of-the-week stops along the way. We're not even halfway through the series, and the dude I thought would be an overarching villain just kicked the bucket. What I like most about the show so far is Hank's personal instability in between assignments. It's as though the only thing that focuses his life are the missions. From the looks of it, however, the further down the rabbit hole he goes, the more his detective work and personal world become one, and that truly concerns me (in a good way).


POOCH POINTS:

"Change Partners": 7/10 Dog Biscuits and a Flea Bath

"Fustercluck": 9/10 Dog Biscuits and a New Collar


WHAT ON EARTH DO YOU THINK?

– Do you like the personal drama stuff more, or the Montague Plot?

– Is the ex-wife stuff getting old?

– What's been your favorite assignment so far?

– How will Stephanie's presence affect Hank's work?

– Do you wish Lindus wasn't dead?

– Why does Hank screw Britt over sometimes?


PREVIOUSLY:
Terriers Episodes 1-2: Killer Waves and Sunny Crimes
Announcing the TV.com 2012 Summer of Rediscovery Club: Terriers, Wonderfalls, and Veronica Mars

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