Terriers, “Manifest Destiny”

I couldn’t get to writing up last week’s “Fustercluck” because of my time at Flow 2010, which is unfortunate because it was a fine, fine episode. However, because “Manifest Destiny” is something of a direct continuation I think I’ll be able to sum it all up in one nice post.

After two episodes toiling around in procedural cases (albeit good procedural cases), the last two episodes have dove head-first back into the Lindus case and the subsequent conspiracy that’s unfolded from it. Hank and Britt procured some money for Lindus to bail him out of prison, only to have the guy try to run and ultimately get killed.

In “Manifest Destiny,” they have to deal with the consequences of that decision while the whole world starts to suck in around them. That element is probably one of my favorite parts of Terriers. Hank and Britt already live haphazard existences that tend to lead to trouble, but the series isn’t really interested in letting them get out of that trouble. After Lindus went away to prison Shawn Ryan, Ted Griffin and company could have left him there until the last few episodes of the season, even if he appeared occasionally. However, the writers pulled Lindus out of jail and then killed his ass in episode four! This is the guy we suspected would be the “big bad”/primary antagonist and there he lays, dead in a big cardboard box.

Thus, the series’ writers love to have Hank and Britt dig themselves even deeper into a hole of lies, illegalities and suspicion and watch them squirm until they have to take a rash action to get out of it — you know, like put Lindus’ body in a car and drive it off a cliff. But even then, when Lindus’ body has been found and the soil reports have been planted on him, things don’t really improve.

This Zeitlin character now has Hank on his radar and thanks to some great assistance by Hank’s crazy sister Steph, Zeitlin is on Hank’s radar as well. Gustafson knows that Hank and Britt had a lot to do with what happened to Lindus, so he surely won’t stop digging.

And because of all the stressful crap Hank has put him through in the last few episodes, Britt looks ready to break. I’m not sure he’s consciously aware of this fact, but he is more of a novice at this lying and scheming thing and Hank can only cover for his beaten puppy dog look for so long. Britt does trust Hank and does want to stick this thing out with him, but with that little nugget of mistrust planted by Gustafson a few weeks back still in the back of his mind, it seems to be getting harder and harder to just go along with Hank without asking some questions. Unlike Hank, I think Britt feels like he has something to lose. He has a girlfriend whom he’s trying to start a family with and he has a criminal record. There’s perhaps only so much he feels comfortable doing.

For Hank, it might be time to stop as well, with his loony sister Steph around and multiple people circling him, but he’s not that type of person. Instead, just as he did in the pilot when he told Lindus he’d take him down for killing a friend, he’s re-trenching for a dogfight. He won’t stop looking into Zeitlin and the big goon in the tan suit and for good measure, he’s willing to mess up his personal life even further by telling Gretchen that he still loves her. That Hank Dolworth, he just doesn’t know how to quit.

What’s great about Terriers is that amid a super-dark episode like this one, there are still a number of really great funny moments, particularly Hank and Britt arguing over what kind of music Lindus would theoretically be listening to if he was trying to driving his car to a firey death and their reaction to the car not really doing anything once they got rid of it (Britt was kind of disappointed it didn’t blow up).

I will be interested to see how the series continues from here, if only because I really enjoyed the Lindus character and what he brought to the table. Michael Gaston is great as Zeitlin so I probably have nothing to be worried about. I’m sure Hank will do something stupid and risky again, only continuing to put himself in awful situations. It’s only a question of how long it takes Britt to break; can their friendship survive?

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