Terriers Episodes 5-6: Dead Deals and Blue Romance

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Terriers S01E05 & S01E06: "Manifest Destiny" & "Ring-a-Ding-Ding"

The human relationship with morality is a tricky one because everyone has a different point at which he or she is willing to put ethics on hold for the sake of personal survival. If the world image depends on the results of billions of good and bad choices, then wouldn't history best be served if everyone just did the right thing all the time? Sure, but we experience life through a singular point of view and if I can cover my ass without having to come face-to-face with whoever it may harm than it's just as well I look out for numero uno.

Such was the thinking of Hank and Britt down at the Ocean Beach precinct as they stuck to their guns about not knowing Lindus's wife. They didn't really have a long-term strategy going in, aside from the always shoddy "Holy crap we need to stay tight-lipped until we have a plan" plan. It worked insofar as Gustafson was willing to turn a semi-blind eye to Hank's iffy tale as long as Hank could help keep the high-profile case from being taken away from Gustafson. Hank and Britt were more concerned about cutting ties with the body chilling in Hank's home (quite literally), so they jacked a car from the Lindus household and planted the body in it, sending the vehicle off the side of a remote highway.

I thanked the stars above to hear Hank propose that he and Britt should walk way from this whole affair after faking Lindus's death, because I was starting to wonder whether Mickey's death was worth all this danger. Seeking out Mickey's killer had transformed from a quest for vengeance into an obsession, and when that happens, mistakes get made. Little did they know there was a real eye-for-an-eye situation a-brewing, because Lindus's wife went ahead and told the mysterious Man in the Tan Suit Hank and Britt's names, indirectly putting Katie and Stephanie in harm's way. Hey, you can't blame her. The poor woman lost the father of her child without any closure, and just because she's rich doesn't mean her mopey son deserves all this drama. She will be damned if this makes her boy go goth! But then again if we're just rooting in general for good over evil, I think Lindus had some crap coming his way for taking kickbacks. Death? No, but he got hit by a car, not murdered. What are you going to do, send a car to jail? Please. So after stashing Katie at a friend's house and Stephanie at Gretchen's, Hank and Britt scared up the Man in the Tan Suit by checking into a hotel with Jason's credit card, and trailed him back to the law firm Zeitlin & Associates.

Zeitlin represented some people who worked on the Montague resort and Tan Man was basically a private investigator, who cooked up some pictures of Britt and Hank's loved ones.

Tan Man is awesome! One cool way to make a character a badass is to keep his words few and his actions bold. I can't wait to see Hank and Tan Man square off later, as they inevitably must. In so many words Tan Man threatened Hank's loved ones in exchange for the super-secret documents, which were known as petrological reports. Meanwhile, at the law offices of Larry H. Parker, a tumbleweed blew through the lobby. Anyways, Hank bluffed it, and said he didn't know where the papers were, plus gave the Tan Man a parting gift in the form of an elbow to the face.

Boom! More concerned for their lives now more than ever, Britt and Hank consulted with lawyer-pal Maggie Lefferts (Jamie Denbo), who had just given birth that morning, but was still up to some legalese.

Maggie advised them to hand over the reports and skip town because either way they risked being killed. Crap situation to be in, guys, but sometimes sticking up for a rummy leads to this kind of thing. While the boys checked in on Stephanie, Gretchen and her fiance finally shed some light on the importance of the papers: These petrological reports said there were carcinogens in the land that could cause cancer, and no tourists like cancer (which is why Disneyland has ALWAYS been cancer-free). Britt and Hank planted the documents in the fake death-scene car, which had yet to be discovered.

Hank called in an anonymous report to the police (loved his stoner impression), saving Gustafson's ass and making the papers public knowledge. After successfully throwing the heat off himself, he just had to pull some self-sabotage that would complicate what would've otherwise been a victory, by admitting to Gretchen that he still loved her. At that moment I buried my head in my hands and was like, "Hank, Hank, Hank. She's gone, buddy. Leave her be!"

On the way home, Stephanie called bullcrap on the cancer-in-the-ground situation, because there was no way the chemicals could naturally exist there in the reported amount. Hank and his sister deduced that someone cooked up those reports not to sabotage the project, but to keep people out. Phew. That did seem like kind of a letdown that the big secret driving this whole Montague situation was plain old unhealthy dirt. Remember in Third Man, where the bad guy was making money off diluted medicine? Here's hoping for a scheme of that magnitude. Sure enough, when Hank and Stephanie checked out the site, the Tan Man was there to receive some inbound work teams.

So this episode was pretty light in terms of character development, dedicated mainly to tying up the whole Lindus situation. We got some larger gestures, like how comfortable Hank and Britt are faking someone's death in order to protect their freedom, but I can't say I'd do any different in a similar situation. Still, Hank is racking up some indirect deaths, which has to be doing a number on his emotions, and I hope his admission of love for Gretchen doesn't open up his heart wide enough to catch some liquor. I'm growing fond of Stephanie's "tell it like it is" condition in small doses but I'm still waiting for some serious moments from her, what with all this hinting at not being able to use sharp objects and so on. I trust Terriers too much to leave her as one-note as she's been thus far. Regardless of what direction she moves in, the fact that Hank's looking out for Stephanie affords him only so many associative deaths, and I hope he realizes that.

Which appeared to be the case in Episode 6, "Ring-a-Ding-Ding," as Hank chilled out on getting people murdered and assumed more of a Michael Landon / Highway to Heaven role as a facilitator of healing. I don't blame him; when I return from a hard day of stealing copper from junkyard fridges, all I want to do is soak my aching buns in a lavender bubble bath and unwind to the dulcet tones of Casey Kasem Presents: America's Top 10 Through the Years - The 1990s. But Hank was not completely out of the bummer-time woods, because first he and Britt had to attend Gretchen and Jason's engagement party.

Hell, at least he got invited. While Hank had a crap time, Britt succumbed to the romance of the San Diego Convention Center and got it in his head to propose to Katie (are you going to Comic-Con this year?). I teared up at Britt's admittance of how much he loved Katie, but also I was making my own illegal onion hooch at the time. Anyway, Hank and Britt only had a brief moment to dwell on past mistakes or prepare for future milestones because they were tasked with tracking down a cherished imitation Kate Middleton ring that belonged to a terminally ill woman and her husband.

Just joshin' It was a blue sapphire ring that the woman hoped to bequeath to her son, but it went missing one day. The husband talked a big game in the hospital room about how he figured the help's brother had stolen it. On the outside, however, he told Hank and Britt how that story was baloney, and that he'd actually given it to a mistress he was seeing on the side. He did not want to put his wife through a divorce so near the end, and requested that Hank and Britt keep the details of any findings under wraps.

Still want to get married, Britt? It's a hard thing to balance the thematic relevance of the client of the week stories with the stories of our main characters. If every case they took had too direct a connection to what Britt and Hank were going through, then the world would seem less real. Hank would wake up and stub a toe and then be like, "Welp, I guess I'll be tracking down a missing toe today." But actual life has its coincidences, and juxtaposition can draw focus well in a story, so I'll allow it this episode (because I have that power?).

The client's tale operated as a warning to Britt about the pitfalls of romance, all like, "Yeah, things can get way crappy." Although, Britt's a good guy and Katie loves him, so I hope this didn't stress him out too much. But man, what a terrible asshole this client guy was. I mean, the dudes still took the job because it meant a lot to their lawyer who was trying to score the couple as clients, but hopefully otherwise they would have opted out. Meanwhile Katie got pressure from her pet-anus class to go out and do karaoke (I think that's what the prof was lecturing on).

Britt couldn't go which sucked, because little did he know one of Katie's classmates was driving hard to the hole, all trying to throw the mack down. Is this the tip of the wedge that will drive Bratie apart?

Anyway, while visiting the hair salon of the mistress, Hank got his hair lathered and learned that the ring had been sold to an Ethiopian open-air jeweler.

From there the guys tracked down the previous owners of the ring to a random stoner dude with a lot of piercings and a medical marijuana salesman who (twist alert) sold it to one Elizabeth Womack, the terminally ill woman. Great, all this work for nothing. Again, this is the kind of plot turn that can work only once a season. If every case led them right back to the client, than there'd be no more surprises and it would be time to go to bed. But, I liked the twist in this one!

Basically Womack had noticed the ring was missing way earlier than she let on, and also said it was worth a lot more than her husband knew. She figured her husband cheated on her and wanted proof of the affair so she could divorce him and secure her son's future. During some sneaky thief time, Britt and Hank retrieved the ring from the Womack household and found out the wife got her wigs from the same hair salon that the mistress worked at (not Fantastic Sams).

Hmm, fishier and fishier. If only the wife were able to tell Hank and Britt alone in the first place, we would have lost a good half of this episode. At the same time, all that legwork allowed Britt the chance to explore both sides of a marriage gone awry and unknowingly prepared him for some possible infidelity that was starting down at the karaoke party.

Hank and Britt headed over to the salon where the wife confronted the mistress and found out her husband had fathered a 23-year-old daughter with another woman (or eight, I couldn't tell). Naturally, Mrs. Womack got way bummed.

At home, Jason confronted Hank about his credit cards and told him straight up that the only reason Hank was invited to the engagement party was so he could see how happy Gretchen was. Dick! I mean, yeah Hank shouldn't be trying to run game on his ex-wife, or pull this passive-aggressive fraud on Jason, but when push comes to shove Hank is just a more likable dude. Katie ended up sleeping with the teacher (not the red herring hardbody with which she sang Olivia Newton-John) and went home to find the sapphire ring, with Britt waiting up for her. Of all the nights to come home to this! Britt told her it wasn't what it looked like, but when she hopped in the shower he put a different ring in a jar. I hear wedding bells, and not the cracked kind that rang a death knell when Gretchen came by the next day to thank Hank for fixing Jason's credit problems. I don't care if Jason did cover for him, dude's still a dick. Sorry!

So while Britt was at home snoozing, Katie met Hank all guilty-like and confessed that she slept with the teacher on purpose. Hank related and figured it was because she felt she didn't deserve Britt and didn't love herself (see, Highway to Heaven). Then he swapped over to her side of the booth and helped Katie cry.

He also made her solemnly swear to keep this secret inside, and never tell Britt about it. If I was at the table behind them, I'd have leaned my head back and been like, "Wait, didn't Britt just tell you that he once broke into your house and stalked you down? Isn't that a betrayal of sorts, too? Ooh, waitress, more coffee please!" I think Britt has it in his heart to forgive her, and he even might just owe Katie one.

I was happy that Katie got some more self-actualized conflict going on. Might I also mention that the pacing in this show is damn near perfect? There aren't really any placeholder episodes, focus just gets shifted from one area of the world to another, whether it's a practical plot dealing with survival and intrigue, or character stuff. Mainly though, I'm starting to see this whole thing as a redemption tale for Hank Dolworth. I think in the coming episodes Hank will realize more and more that the emotion he puts into each case is actually aimed at making things right with Gretchen. Sure, he'll fix the problems of a bunch of people along the way, but until he stops pining after Gretchen, Hank risks subjecting himself to increasing amounts of unnecessary stranger danger.

POOCH POINTS

"Manifest Destiny": 8/10 Dog Biscuits and a Nail-Clipping

"Ring-a-Ding-Ding": 7/10 Dog Biscuits and No Heartworms


WHAT ON EARTH DO YOU THINK?

– Is Hank's main boss "guilt"?

– Will Katie tell Britt about her teacher?

– How will Stephanie become interesting?

– What do you think the big deal is with the Montague resort?

– Will Hank ever get over Gretchen?

– Is Jason a dick, or just a normal guy?

– Will Britt forgive Katie?


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Terriers Episodes 3-4: Fakery and Foolishness
Terriers Episodes 1-2: Killer Waves and Sunny Crimes
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