Hank Moody really is an insufferable man, regardless of any good images we get of him. How did he get from Point A to Point B? What made him become such a horrible man who always seems to have his heart in the wrong place before his need and love for sex gets in the way? If this episode proved anything to me, it's two things: it's difficult to make Hank into a nice guy, even if he is likable to us, the audience, and that he has a long way to go if he's ever going to get his family back. I know that if I were Karen or Becca, I would have a hard time taking anything he has to say seriously.
I think the episode benefits from jumping back and forth from past to present and seeing the truly repulsive side of Hank, a side that we sometimes forget exists now since there's so many lovey-dovey moments side by side with the grimy ones in the present. Watching Hank defecate on Bill's car was not only childish (and yes slightly funny) but the laughing that followed the reaccounting of the story shows how Hank hasn't really changed all that much.
I also like this new idea that Hank may have known who Mia was before they had sex the first time. It's obvious that Hank was drunk as hell the first time they met, so it's not possible that he knew her, but the tension it creates between all of the women in Hank's life is definitely worth seeing.
So where does that leave the rest of this season? I'm not sure. The Trial felt like a great episode that was missing something that I can't quite define; it was great, that's for certain, but it felt like there was a lot of stuff brought up and nothing resolved. Which makes me hope that we'll be seeing some resolution by the time the season finale arrives in two weeks.
This week we saw the beginning of Hank's trial and the testimony being reflected in gritty flashbacks from Season 1 times. With an ample return was Bill who added a good dramatic flare to it as he reprised his role for the first time since Season 1. Hank faces tough questions and accusations including that he had met Mia before the day that they "first met" but he was drunk on the occasion when they "met" so he didn't remember her but it may not look that way to a jury. But the flashbacks and the overall stakes of the episodes mixed with the X-Files reference of "I look like an FBI Agent" when trying on the suit add up to a truly great episode. What was the real hook was the revelations and pieces that fit back into Season 1 that we hadn't gotten to witness before now and the flashbacks reminded us of how truly awful it is to be Hank Moody somedays.