Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Foot: Terriers "Hail Mary" Review

The first season of Terriers concluded tonight. The entire season felt like a novel. Of course, television series have adopted the word novel in recent years. After all, TV series' extends for years with characters who appear in our lives weekly. However, the majority of television does not deserve the word novel associated with it. Many series belong to networks whose only concern is the bottom line. The majority of audiences would rather easy-to-digest procedurals and reality television rather than committing to a world with rich characters and rich storytelling. The Wire, considered the greatest example of a novel on television, struggled for five seasons on HBO because audiences wouldn't watch. Critics hail The Wire as the greatest drama in television history--a title that earned the show many new fans once the show ended.

Everything mattered in the first season of Terriers. Ted Griffin, Shawn Ryan, Tim Minear and the rest of the writing staff never wasted a single scene. Every moment mattered, every interaction, every piece of dialogue. The season finale brought everything together in beautiful cohesion.

Hank, Britt and Laura were able to stop Zeitlin and Burke. In Ocean Beach, though, fairy tale endings don't exist. The arrest of Zeitlin did not cut off the head of the beast. Rather, Zeitlin was one of many that made up the body. The beast (a man named Mr. Kurtow) continues to walk as a free man in Ocean Beach though he hired the hit on Mickey. Unlike in the past, the bad-man-who-walks-free does not send Hank into a drunken stupor that will cost him his job. Instead, Hank tells Laura that he can live with getting the best deal possible, and he can live knowing that the man will inevitably commit more crimes that Hank can bring him down with.

"Hail Mary" is an episode about much more than resolving the Zeitlin arc. "Hail Mary" is about moving on. So much of the season focused on the personal demons of Hank and Britt. The season is littered with pain and heartbreak. After so much pain and heartbreak, the characters deserved the choice to move on past the pain and embrace a future with hope. Hank decides to sell the house he bought in the pilot (an attempt to hold onto the last piece of life from his marriage with Gretchen). He invites Gretchen over so she has the chance to buy back the house but she doesn't want to. In fact, she can't because of the memories. Hank tells her that they both need to move on. Gretchen asks him to promise to find a good owner. Hank promises.

The most satisfying and cathartic moments of the episode involved Hank moving on and finding some semblance of peace. Hank is our hero, after all. Unlike in "Sins of the Past," Hank is central in bringing the right men to justice. Hank and Gustafson help each other like they used to when they were partners in the force. Gustafson assists in clearing Hank's name from the murder of Jason while Hank assists in Gustafson's promotion to captain of the OBPD. Most importantly, Hank and Britt moved past their brief rift, and not even Hank and Gustafson are as efficient and successful together as Hank Dolworth and Britt Pollock.

The final scene of the season (and, possibly, the series) could only involve Hank and Britt. Britt accepts responsibility in his brutal beating of Gavin, and will spend the necessary time in prison. The two joke about the beat-up truck that keeps chugging along and gets better after being shot (sort of like our heroes). Hank offers Britt the chance to flee to Mexico where vacation will never end. The two can sleep late and then take afternoon naps. Hank describes Mexico as a place where they will never age. Once the light turn greens, Hank asks Britt to make the choice: Mexico or prison?

The scene isn't so much a cliffhanger as it is a summation of the entire season. Hank will drive Britt to prison where he will serve his year sentence because there are no easy-outs in Ocean Beach. Plus, Hank has a new life to begin in Ocean Beach while Britt will return to marry Katie and be a father to their baby. It's a wonderful scene and a wonderful ending to a brilliant season,

Honestly, I thought I'd wait a long time before I enjoyed a season of television as much as I enjoyed seasons of LOST while it was on the air. That is my show. I love it. Terriers brought me the same kind of joy and excitement on a weekly basis that LOST did. The two shows share two crucial qualities: rich characters and rich storytelling. I love Terriers. I love the world, the characters and I hope FX brings it back for another season because I have such a good time hanging out with Hank and Britt every week.

Other thoughts:

-The penultimate scene of the episode between Britt and Katie was wonderful. The entire relationship arc led to this moment when Britt accepted responsibility and made a clear commitment to love and be with Katie for as long as he lives. Plus, the location was exceptional.

-Steph returned briefly. I was happy to see Karina Logue once again. If a second season happens, we need more Steph. Unfortunately, no Firefly comparisons to make.

-Ted Griffin & Nicolas Griffin wrote the episode. Ted Griffin directed it. I think the time has come for me to watch Matchstick Men.

-I had a blast writing about the show every week. Hopefully, this isn't the last time I write about Terriers. People of Earth, please watch the finale on Hulu when available. It will help the show.

THE YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK

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About The Foot

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Originally, I titled the blog Jacob's Foot after the giant foot that Jacob inhabited in LOST. That ended. It became TV With The Foot in 2010. I wrote about a lot of TV.