Wednesday, December 1, 2010

"Terriers" season finale recap: "Hail Mary"

Recap of the season (and hopefully not series) finale of FX's "Terriers" below. Don't click through if you don't want to know.

OK, before I get to my analysis of the pretty darned perfect finale of "Terriers," allow me to get one thing out of the way: If this show isn't picked up for a second season, I will simply cry. Salty, bitter tears. Because I'm hard pressed to think of another new show that was as purely pleasurable to watch. I understand that its mix of detective work, humor and heart-breaking drama made it hard to define and, thus, hard to sell to a large audience. But that very same combination of wit and emotion made "Terriers" an irresistible treat.
The show has also featured two of the best performances of the TV season, from Donal Logue and Michael Raymond James. I've long been of a fan of the lovably shaggy Logue, but his lacerating performance as self-destructive private detective Hank Dolworth shocked even me. He can shift beautifully from the show's snappy one liners to aching emotion (the scene in a mid-season episode when he realizes that he can no longer care for his mentally ill sister Steph still chokes me up). Raymond James is as much of a revelation, making Hank's partner Britt Pollock a likable, overgrown boy who isn't quite if he wants to become a man.
If this show had a little more buzz around it, both men would be shoe-ins for Emmy nods.
It would be a shame if "Terriers" wasn't given another season to find an audience. At the very least, the show's ardent (if tiny) cult of fans deserves to spend a little more time with Hank and Britt.
Anyway, on to the finale. And man -- what a finale it was! From Hank's badass target practice on the beach ("Don't worry. You're not the guy I want to kill.") to the cheeky quasi-cliffhanger that ended the episode, "Hail Mary" was near flawless.
Not only did we get a satisfying conclusion to the Ben Zeitlin land grab storyline, we also saw the return of Steph Dolworth and Eleanor Gosney, and were introduced to an intriguing new villain, played by the always-welcome Neal McDonough. We also saw Mark (Rockmond Dunbar, in another excellent performance) ditch those ridiculous cigarette holders and go back to smoking. Oh, and he proved to be a great ally for Hank and Britt.
It was a perfect finale for a show with an uncertain future. There are plenty of storylines to pursue if the show is picked up for a second season (Did the guys run away to Mexico? Will Hank continue his quest to avenge Mickey's death), but, if it's not picked up, I'm happy with the way the show ended. I'm just not ready for it to end just yet.

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