Terriers, “Fustercluck”: Get your head in the game.

‘Terriers’ is a show that works much better when it skews dark, and these past two episodes have been perfect examples of that. “Fustercluck” brought us back to some stuff that had been set up in the pilot. And right when you think you have half an idea of where the rest of the season is going to go, everything gets turned upside down. Sometimes literally!**

Hank and Britt are approached by Lindus’ wife and asked to visit her husband, who’s still locked up in county. When she gives them a thousand dollars, Hank gets the feeling she may be desperate, and they’ve got nothing else going on, so why the hell not? They make the trip and the prerequisite jokes about what a dope Lindus is, all in jail and everything. Hank’s still hurting over his friend Mickey’s death, so as far as he’s concerned Lindus is right where he wants him. Lindus swears his innocence as far as Mickey’s concerned, even though he admits to killing the man in the lifeguard tower from the pilot, which kinds of shuts Hank up for a minute and makes him think. Finally, Lindus gets to why he asked them there: He needs Hank and Britt to steal a quarter of a million dollars for him. In return they get a cut, and the name of the man who murdered Mickey.

When I saw the commercial for this week’s episode, I was a little worried. That shot of Hank and Britt looking over blueprints with Lindus’ wife felt a little too Ocean’s 11 (funny that Ted Griffen created the show) for me. A little too professional for Hank and Britt, who are anything but. But in the end, their break-in felt like some of the season’s best writing so far. I love the chemistry between Logue and Raymond-James, but I’ve complained before about how cutesy their banter can sometimes get. So when Hank gets back in the truck, the money tucked away in his briefcase, and gives that subdued, “Are you gonna drive at some point, please?” it really felt like a cut above what we had seen so far.

So things are going along pretty much as we’d expect. They give the money to Lindus’ wife, they get their cut, and Hank visits the guy who killed Mickey, who turns out to be a low-level drug deal who was paid to get close to him. Then they discover that Lindus has made bail and find him at an airstrip, his wife and son in tow, about to hop on a plane. The PI’s demand answers and drag Lindus off to get them.

And that’s where things go sideways. Lindus runs off, gets hit by a car, and dies on the floor of Hank’s bathroom. It’s like Hank and Brit can’t help but dig themselves deeper and deeper. After taking Lindus, his wife went right to the cops claiming her husband had been kidnapped, and now Gustafson shows up looking for him. And now they know that if someone hired the dealer to get close to Mickey and kill him, there’s someone even above Lindus pulling the strings. The show has taken so many unexpected turns in just four episodes that I couldn’t even guess where it’ll go from here. But tonight really felt like it was on top of its game, and I have high hopes that it’ll be able to stay on that level.

Another unexpected turn this week. The shadowy figure we spotted climbing into Hank’s attic at the end of last week’s episode turned out to be his mentally-unstable sister Stephanie, played by Logue’s real-life sister, Karina. She a genius MIT-grad who escaped from a mental hospital and oh my how this could have been screwed up. But even though she only hovered around the edges of the episode, she really brought a lot of presence. By the end of the episode she’s found Lindus’ dead body — which Britt had stashed under some boxes in Hank’s bathtub — so I’m hoping she’ll stick around and maybe get a little more involved in things.

**Not literally.

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