Terriers, “Manifest Destiny”: Weekend at Bernie’s.

While there are definitely shows that I can only say I like, I approach everything I watch with much higher hopes. I don’t want to watch a show just to fill time between seasons of ‘Breaking Bad.’ I want everything to be appointment television. This means that most of the time I’m disappointed, and just trying to find something decent to watch between seasons of ‘Breaking Bad.’

I’m still trying to figure out where ‘Terriers’ fits in the scheme of all this. This isn’t really a show I think about when I’m not watching it. But when it’s on, I really enjoy it. It’s ratings are horrible, even for a cable show, and right now it’s unclear as to whether or not it’ll get a second season. If it continues, I think the show could grow into something special. If not, I honestly don’t know how much I’ll think about it a month or two after the season concludes.

I have some trouble pinpointing what it is that keeps the show from making that jump from good to great. In an interview with Maureen Ryan and Ryan McGee on their aptly titled “Talking TV with Ryan and Ryan” podcast, executive producer Shawn Ryan mentioned that, as they were writing the show’s first episodes, he wanted to keep the tone a little more lighthearted than it would eventually become. And while we’ve seen some very dark moments — Hank taking the sledge hammer to his wall, forging a dead man’s signature on his loan documents — by and large it’s still a lighthearted show. Regardless of how intriguing the show’s current storyline is, Hank and Britt are only chasing shady real estate moguls. I find myself asking how high the stakes could possibly get.

Again, the chemistry between Logue and Raymond-James is something all shows should be so lucky to have. But I don’t think it could live off that alone. Some shows need respect paid to their premise to live on. Not everyone can be ‘Cougar Town.’ Last week’s “Manifest Destiny” seemed to wrap up the Lindus storyline, for a few week’s at least. It was left too open-ended for the show not to address it before the season’s end. It’ll be a tough wait. The show’s serialized episodes have proven much more interesting than its self-contained ones, so I was little disappointed with the teaser for tomorrow night’s episode. But we’ll see how things work out.

Anyway, what was I talking about? Oh yeah. “Manifest Destiny.” So our intrepid investigators have learned that Lindus may not be the villain in this sordid affair after all. And the people pulling the strings, a mysterious (?), powerful (?) lawyer named Zeitland and his henchman, the enigmatic Man in the Tan Suit, may not be trying to hide something on the Montague development from the good people of Ocean Beach after all, but trying to hide the people of Ocean Beach from something on the property… or something like that.

And in discovering that things were not as they at first seemed, we learn that Hank really got played. If Zeitland knew that Hank and Britt would plant the geological survey on Lindus and they’d be forced off the property, then advantage Zeitland. Where things go from here is a mystery, but whatever happens, I hope Hank’s sister sticks around to help them out. Of course, they would never have known they were played if it weren’t for her, and she really brings a lot to the show, and I like watching Logue playing off her character.

Some great moments in the episode. Hank and Britt faking Lindus’ death. Hank’s stoner call to 911. While I’m still not certain that the show can live off these character beats alone, they sure do make the show a hell of a lot more fun to watch.

Complaints:

  • The Man in the Tan Suit. I understand that until Hank’s meeting with Zeitland, we don’t know who the guy is, so referring to him as the guy in the tan suit is a way for us to identify him. But really, does this guy wear tan suits exclusively? Does he ever think, “Maybe a nice black”? Is it really normal for people to refer to you by the clothes you wore that one time? I wore shorts yesterday. When my mom mentions my blog to her friends, she doesn’t say, “It was written by my son. The one with shorts.”
  • Lindus was dead for all of two hours before his skin turned gray and pieces of him started falling off. I’ve been rooms with dead bodies before (so many dead bodies). It doesn’t really work like that.
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