Terriers, “Dog and Pony”: He’s a big fella, thasfersure.

I’ll admit that I was a little disappointed after last week’s premiere. Sure, Terriers has all the trappings (if you will) of what could potentially be a great television show, but I was worried things would too quickly devolve into another procedural nightmare. Seriously though. What is my deal with procedurals? Did my parents strap me down and force me to watch episodes of Bones when I was kid, even though I was 23 when the show premiered? I’ll pay 20 grand for hypnotherapy and find out.

Anyway, my concerns don’t stop there. I think Donal Logue and Michael Raymond-James have great chemistry together, but I wonder if it’s a little too good. A lot of their off-the-cuff back and forth feels really organic, but there have been a few spots where it’s coming a little fast and furious. You can only lay so much of that on before it becomes unbelievable. But really, this only detracted slighty from my enjoyment of last night’s episode, which I really thought got better as it went along.

As the episode opens, Hank and Britt are being deposed after the cops found the gun they planted in Lindus’ office. As evidence, the cops have taken the $30,000 check Lindus paid them, so Hank’s out the money he was going to use to buy his old house, while Britt is just out (and incredibly easy-going guy, that Britt). Hank comes up with a plan to get back a small slice of that money by looking through the police files and finding a bail jumper they can track down and collect reward money for. I agree with the folks over at the AV Club that a situation like this feels a lot more natural than people coming to two unlicensed private investigators they have no business having heard about and asking for help. I agree, even though it felt like there had been a shift in tone since the ending of last week’s episode. We saw Hank proclaim that, because Lindus had killed his friend, he was going to destroy him. Noble, to be sure. But now they’re tracking down scumbags to score some quick cash. For me, it almost made Hank seem like a bit of a dirt bag. I can’t say the same about Britt, who seems so passive a character that he’ll go wherever Hank leads him. Anyway, I was kind of turned off by the two until halfway through the episode, where their behavior made a whole lot more sense.

We see Hank visiting an AA meeting, which he obviously hasn’t been to in a long time, and telling the people there about his plans to buy his old house from his ex-wife. After the meeting, when everyone’s talking over stale danishes and cold coffee, one of Hank’s friends tells him how stupid an idea that is, moving back into the place he lived in when he lost his wife and his job. That was the scene I needed to see for Hank’s character click for me. I think that on a base level, Hank is a guy who figures he doesn’t have much to lose, and because of that he’s a little more reckless in his actions. The only time you see him grounded is when he’s around his ex-wife, which lends that a bit of credence. And that was a great scene at the end when he’s talking to his wife’s five year old memory on the day they moved into the house, with her telling him she wanted to take a sledgehammer to that one wall screwing up the flow between the living and dining rooms. Hank finally doing it in that last shot could be seen as him finally getting his life back together, one small gesture at a time, but I definitely saw some anger there. Who wouldn’t be pissed off, listening to your ex on the phone with their new fiance, their brand new you?

But I guessed I’ve missed the episode’s journey, getting from point A to B whilst skipping everything in the middle. Hank and Britt find their bail jumper, a monster of a man named Montell Gobright. Why you’d ever mess with a person named Montell is beyond me, but then again, I’m not a Terrier. A lot of the scenes between the three of them were pretty genius, although they pale in comparison to the scenes of Gobright playing with Britt’s dachshund. When writing comedy, you don’t need much more than an incredibly big man and a tiny dog. The damn thing will pretty much write itself. I think they teach that in improv classes.

Hank’s vendetta against Lindus (I’m still not sold that it’s Hank’s and Britt’s vendetta) was kind of lost this week, but the character pieces more than made up for it.


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