Couch Baron

Terriers Recap 1-2 “Dog And Pony”

In Terriers, TV Recaps on November 14, 2010 at 12:49 am

Before I start, I would just like to thank my old TWoP friend Strega for pointing out that Gareth Williams, the actor who played Mickie Gosney in the pilot, was once, a long time ago, JOEY POTTER’S DAD on Dawson’s Creek! Mr. Williams, I’m sorry I didn’t place you, because all of us who ever worked for TWoP owe your daughter-ignoring, criminal ass a debt.

We start at the Ocean Beach police station, inside which a hearing has been convened to discuss the matter of the murder case against Lindus. In attendance are Mark, Maggie, Hank, Lindus’s attorney, and the Assistant DA, who looks an awful lot like Penelope Cruz, but I’m guessing if that actually were her the ratings for at least this episode would have been a lot higher. Not Penelope Cruz asks Hank if he’s ever been deposed before, and he says no, but he has been “imposed upon,” and he also “posed” once, “but not, you know, for money.” In response, the entire room dissolves into giggles and they open a bottle of champagne to reminisce about how Hank just killed it there. No, of course, this is met with stony silence before Not Penelope Cruz gives him a couple more procedural notes, and after Hank snidely makes fun of the opposing counsel for his baldness, which is perhaps not his finest moment, Maggie suggests they get to the oath. And I know we haven’t seen that much of her yet, but when Maggie Lefferts is implying your behavior is out of line, it’s probably best to take notice. However, when we cut back to her right side, it’s not Hank taking the oath but Britt, who hesitates at the “so help you God” part. So he’s either an atheist, or he was planning to lie. I know which one I’m going with. We continue to alternate between Hank and Britt, with Hank, in response to a question about whether he and Britt are PIs, replying that on their tax returns it says they “sell seashells by the seashore.” Hank is still being a bit snarkier than perhaps is called for, given that this woman never did anything to him, but (a) I’m guessing being back at the police station doesn’t put him in the best general frame of mind, and (b) in response to that last line, Mark, cigarette holder ubiquitously in his mouth, closes his eyes in the most crowd-pleasingly put-upon way, like, I hope this isn’t happening first thing in the morning because otherwise it’s going to be a loooooooong day. Not Penelope Cruz asks Britt if Lindus wanted them to retrieve something for him, and he says it was a sex tape, and he and Eleanor were “knockin’ boots.” She then asks Hank how much Lindus paid them, and Hank says thirty grand, which isn’t taking the first check he gave them for twenty into account, but I guess that would be distracting given that they have that second check in front of them as evidence. Britt, you couldn’t have made a bank run first thing before the arrest? I am shocked! Regardless, Hank tells them that Lindus must really have wanted the video back, gratuitously adding “enough to kill someone,” and then asks for the check back. Heh. Ignoring him, Not Penelope Cruz asks if he has an idea where Eleanor might be, and he tells her he’d guess Mexico. “She said she had friends in…” “…Portland? Oregon or Maine, I can’t remember which,” Britt finishes. Oh, you silly boys, not getting your stories straight. Britt does not seem to be quite as skilled a liar as Hank is, which could just be a function of the smaller number of years he’s spent on this earth, so perhaps it’s best that the lawyer starts with Hank. Indicating the gun used to kill Eleanor’s boyfriend that’s now sitting on the table before them, he asks if Hank’s ever seen it before, and Hank says no. We then cut to Britt, who answers the same question in the negative, although again slightly less convincingly, and the ensuing cut to Mark suggests he might have picked up on that. It also might suggest that his deepest desire at the moment is to bang these two numbskulls’ heads together hard, but since he probably always feels that way why don’t we stick with the first thing I said.

Cut to Hank returning Gretchen’s call; after he explains that he couldn’t pick up because he was in the middle of a “thing,” she says she’s just checking that they’re on for the house inspection that day. She goes on to add that she found “that wine decanter my uncle gave us as a wedding gift. The one you thought was a flower vase.” Hank, not without humor, counters that it’s the one she thought he hocked, and when she points out she never said that, he replies, “Well, you thought it pretty loud.” I don’t totally love Gretchen – she’s fine, but she’s, probably by the design of the show, not someone who gets me completely on her side – but I think they write her interactions with Hank excellently, and that Kimberly Quinn is doing a job that’s both strong and easy to overlook. It’s a complicated dance they’re executing, trying to push their resentments down so they can still care about each other, and I think the show gets it right. Anyway, Gretchen goes on that her real estate agent asked if he could bring the remainder of the deposit, and hilariously, some station person walks by at that moment with the check-in-evidence in hand, but Hank still lies that everything’s cool, and he’ll see her in an hour. Just as he disconnects, Britt and Maggie emerge from the interrogation deposition, and when Hank asks how it was, Britt responds, “Like showering in a Mexican jail.” I can think of a few ways to take that one, but they all reduce to “bad” so it’s probably not worth it. Maggie adds that the two of them “suck shit at sounding sincere. How either of you ever gets laid astonishes me.” I thought I knew what “astonish” meant, but if that’s what “astonishes” her I may need to look it up to be sure. Britt, of course, grins at her brashness, but Hank just wants to know about the check, prompting Maggie to inform him that (a) it’s a big piece of evidence for the prosecution, and (b) even if that weren’t the case, the DA froze Lindus’s assets, which is why he can’t even make bail. And that second point is something even my non-ex-cop ass would have anticipated, which is why I brought up that thing about DEPOSITING THE CHECK BEFORE YOU SET HIM UP HELLO. I mean, it might not have been processed in time, but the fact that they didn’t even try is irksome. Or it would be, if the fact that these guys aren’t perfect is kind of the point. They make mistakes, but they don’t give up – like terriers! Which must be why F/X‘s crack marketing team made everyone think the show was about dogs! HATE! What is the opposite of hate, however, is Mark appearing and unceremoniously giving Hank the finger, which I guess is allowed after 10 PM even if the word “fuck” isn’t, and after he’s gone, Maggie takes pleasure in pointing out to Hank that he could ask Mark for compensation, but given his maddeningly uncooperative performance in the deposition session, she doubts he’ll give him the time of day. Well, I think he might, but only by shoving Hank’s face into a wall clock. Maggie takes off to tell the rest of Ocean Beach how shit is, and Hank and Britt cast appraising eyes toward Mark’s office…

…and then Mark is BITCHING Hank out for encouraging him to arrest Lindus and then telling a story Lindus’s lawyer could make Swiss cheese of. Hank swears on his mother’s grave that he’s telling the truth, but Mark snaps, “Your mother was cremated!” Heh. I love to see him focus on the petty details there. Mark adds that Lindus’s lawyer was obviously alleging that “you and your boy toy” planted the gun, and Hank asks, “You don’t believe that, do you? That he’s my boy toy?” So he clearly can’t shut up even when it would obviously be best for him. Can’t imagine why I find that appealing. Mark, of course, is less enamored of this particular character trait and asks what the hell he’s even doing there, and the insincerity factor ratchets up as Hank says he just came by to…”ask the time.” Hee. Mark chuckles at that one as he realizes exactly what Hank’s up to here and wonders if he’s short on cash. “What you thinkin’, the Department is just gonna reimburse you?” Well, in that tone of voice it sounds like a long shot. Before Hank can put on a real dog-and-pony show (see what I did there?), though, Britt busts in and says he overheard Lindus’s lawyer talking about copping a plea to manslaughter, and Mark’s face falls like a soufflé left out in the Santa Ana winds…

…and when he stalks off down the hallway, Hank wastes no time in taking advantage of his absence by rifling through the file cabinet. This makes Britt understandably jumpy, but Hank explains that it contains wanted notices for parole violators and bail-jumpers from other jurisdictions – it’s apparently standard practice for them to be forwarded when the perp has family in the area. Quite logical! He goes on that they’re usually ignored, but they do sometimes come with cash rewards, and as he finds one that fits that bill, he crows, “Yahtzee!” Nice! By the way, I’d like to know what it says about whoever’s in charge of MS Word’s vocabulary that it doesn’t know “Yahtzee” but it does recognize “Percocet.” The downside as I see it is that the guy on the flyer, “Montell Gobright,” looks like he could snap the big dude with the dog from the pilot like a twig, so they’re definitely going to be earning their five grand here. Having got what they need, the boys get the hell out of there…

…and outside, Hank crows that the Lord giveth as well as taketh away. Britt: “Well, he’ll also bone us if anyone finds out we planted that gun.” Heh. Hank, however, feels that they were doing the Lord’s work in setting up a guilty man, but Britt is still nervous, which answers the question from before – dude is God-fearing. He tells Hank to quit it, and Hank replies, “Quitteth what?” Hee. He goes on that they just need to put some change in their pockets, “and then we starteth atoning.” If I thought that would actually happen, I’d be worried, but knoweth that I do not believeth him. And now it is time for the opening credits, which is good in that it giveth me a chance to stoppeth speaking like this.

In the truck, Hank asks if it’s Monday or Tuesday, and Britt isn’t sure. “I could check my phone, but it’s in my pocket.” Hee. Hank then opines that the Lindus case is going to open some doors for them. “I think we should make up business cards.” Britt asks what they would put on them, “Dolworth and Pollack, Private Investigators?” Hank: “Beats Dolworth and Pollack, Shit Shovelers.” I don’t know, Hank – alliteration is catchy! Britt wonders if they need a mascot, like the Trix Rabbit or Tony The Tiger. “Something that identifies us, that tells people that we’re pretty kick ass.” You guys, that line sounds straight out of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, which makes me think these guys would be an appropriate mascot. (Hey, it’s intra-network cross-marketing!) Britt, however, opines that dragons are kick-ass, and while I don’t disagree Hank points out that “they also get slayed.” Britt then wonders what would be good to show that once they’re on a case, they never quit, and after they both think for a bit, they give a wink to the audience: “I got nothin’.” “Me neither.” I would laugh were it not SO INCREDIBLY SAD.

Soon after, they’ve arrived in front of a house with a rather unfriendly-sounding Doberman inside the fence, and Britt is telling Hank that Gobright knocked over a liquor store, and the place at which they’re situated is his last-known girlfriend’s address, “Agatha Hagglethorpe.” At Hank’s incredulous look, Britt swears he’s not making the name up, and after they both chuckle most understandably, Britt goes on that Gobright is six feet two hundred ten pounds, which seems like a gross underestimate at least on the weight side. Seriously, the guy’s picture makes it look like he’s built like a circus strongman. Also, in another blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment of backstory exposition, when Britt adds that the guy has priors for home burglary, Hank offhandedly replies, “Good, you two will have a lot to talk about.” Both teasing the audience and trusting them to pay attention. Love. Britt doesn’t bat an eye at the mention of any checkering in his past, instead yawning like a cat in front of a sunny window, and Hank asks if he was up all night drinking, but Britt says it was actually their new dog that kept him awake. “I had to get up every two hours to take it out to pee. It barks at its own farts.” HA! I have known dogs like that, too. Just then, they see a woman that must be Agatha returning with a shopping cart, not to the Doberman house but to a tarot shop, so I guess she’s a psychic, but she’s certainly not a hippy-dippy member of the community, as she warily asks if they have an appointment when Hank and Britt approach her and Hank says he wanted to buy his friend a reading. Hank promises to call ahead next time, and Agatha acquiesces, “but you gotta help me put the groceries away.” Between this and the girl with the stove last week, I’m wondering if Hank and Britt doing random domestic chores for people from whom they need information is going to be an integral part of this show. It’ll be the ultimate irony if they ever actually have to clean someone’s pool.

Inside, Hank’s busy in the back as Agatha has Britt’s cards out on the table, and Britt asks if they say he’s going on a great journey and will meet a mysterious stranger. Agatha tells him to shut up: “I don’t come to where you work and slap the venti latte out of your mouth.” HA! Britt looks frankly turned on by her sharp tongue, and she tells him that freedom is very important to him (given what we just learned in the car, this may be spot-on) and that he’s already met the love of his life, which may well also be true. However, Britt is unimpressed, challenging her to tell him something that isn’t true for “every other yokel that walks in here,” so Agatha informs him that he’s got a new presence in his life, “and it’s gonna screw with your shit big-time.” Britt, no doubt worried that the dog is going to get pissier and fartier, wants to know more, and she tells him it’s going to appear soon if it hasn’t already, and he’ll go through some “serious strife” trying to get rid of it. Britt looks ten kinds of worried, while Hank picks up a clay urn/bong and asks Agatha if she sells them. After sarcastically joking that she leases them, she says yes, of course, and adds to Britt that her neighbor has a kiln, but she glazes the things herself, at which point Hank takes the bong and tosses it into the fireplace, shattering it. Hank, the discussion of pottery logistics was boring me too, but that’s still kind of rude. However, he’s doing a thing here, as he plays it tough and essentially tells her she can’t be in business in this neighborhood without them getting a piece of her action. She can’t believe they’re trying to muscle her, so Hank’s like, “Explain it to her, Joey.” Joey’s kind of a cute name, but I’ll still stick with Britt. “Joey” plays the calm, good gangster in telling Agatha that’s it’s kind of a dangerous neighborhood, and she’s going to need protection from – he rips something off the wall – “someone tearing down your tapestries.” Hee. I mean, this shtick is as old as the hills, but Britt’s clearly having fun playing a local tough, so it’s enjoyable. Agatha threatens to call the cops, but Hank cautions her that they’re drinking buddies with half the Ocean Beach force, and they come in to her head shop, it’s going to be trouble for her. He adds that they only want ten percent, and she rather shiftily says she doesn’t have the money on her, but he tells her that’s okay – they’ll come back that night at seven. “And if you don’t have it? Joey here trashes the place.” Agatha says nothing, but stares at them balefully…

…and then outside, “Joey” is telling Hank, “I feel like a dick right now.” Aw. He then asks if he’s sure Gobright is going to show, but Hank tells him the toilet seat was up and there was a condom wrapper in the trash, so not only has he been there but she’s probably on the phone to him right now. Well, unless she’s foreseen what you’re doing here. I mean, she is a psychic.

Hanks shows up to the house and gives Gretchen a “Hey, beautiful,” and she asks if the fact that he’s wearing a tie denotes a special occasion. Heh. She’s got some guys that are helping her move stuff out, and she asks where Hank’s inspector is, but he says he knows the house intimately, so why pay someone to tell him stuff of which he’s already aware? Well, I’m not so sure any lender you approach about a mortgage will see it that way, but I suppose he has bigger fish to fry at the moment anyway, as Gretchen asks him where the check is. He finally has to tell her he doesn’t have it, and she is as you might imagine less than thrilled, considering he told her it was in his hand, but he bullshits that he had the check to him, which he deposited, and when the funds clear he’ll write a check to her. Oh, Hank. Your desperation gives me the urge to console you, but overall you’re still kind of making me want to smack you here. Gretchen also points out that he’ll need proof of a loan to close escrow, and snarks that she’s sure a lot of banks are loving him as a prospective applicant. I’d be annoyed at the fact that she’s still going ahead with this if she knows what a long shot him securing a loan is, but I do think she’s still in a pattern of going back and forth between putting her foot down and enabling him, which makes sense given what we know of their history. After a pause, she tells him that she sincerely would love him to have the house, but if he’s not sure, she did get a backup offer, and although it’s below asking price, “Jason says it’s pretty reasonable.” Hank asks if that’s her fiancé, and upon hearing a yes, asks, “Jason what? Voorhees?” Oh, Hank. I understand you’re hurting, but lines that lame demean us both. Gretchen says it’s actually “Adler,” and then gets back to the point by telling him that if he wants to back out, it’s okay as long as he does it by Thursday. Suddenly whether it’s Monday or Tuesday seems a lot more relevant. Regardless, Hank tells her he does want the house…

…and then we cut to OH MY GOD THIS IS THE BEST SCENE IN HISTORY. So Britt is, not to be indelicate, servicing Katie, with him kneeling on the floor and them both demurely covered by a blanket, but just as she’s about to get to that special place, Britt cries out with a start and tosses the covers away: “Something just licked my balls.” Katie’s like, well it obviously wasn’t me, so Britt turns to find their new dachshund strutting away. AH HA HA HA! Oh my God, this show, seriously. Britt is totally WTF about it, although Katie has a good explanation: “He’s just comparing the taste of yours to his own.” Heh. Britt complains that of all the dogs in the pound, they had to get a gay one, and Britt, no offense, but if you’re not used to adoration from gays I’d suggest you get used to it, fast. Katie once again has the better line as she, hilariously seriously, recalls that the dog’s cage was “very tidy,” and when Britt says he’ll put him in the other room, Katie suggests that he take him out instead, as she doesn’t want him peeing on the carpet. Britt grouses to himself, but considering we get a shot of his bare ass as he pulls on his pants, I think he’s the only one complaining.

At what looks like an AA meeting, some guy finds Hank in the kitchen and asks, “You jerking off, or you gonna join us?” Hank: “I can’t do both?” Obligatory, yet hilarious…

…and then Hank is telling the group about Gretchen, how he was with her for nine years and married to her for seven of them, and when he got sober, she “did the smart thing” and left him, which…isn’t how it usually goes, or at least isn’t how you’d think it usually goes, so I’m looking forward to hearing more. After apologizing for stammering over some words, as it’s apparently been a while since he’s come to a meeting, Hank goes on that he thought Gretchen was testing him and that they’d get back together when he got his life in order, but now she’s moved on with another guy and is selling their old place, and he’s buying it from her even though he can “barely” afford it. You don’t really see the rest of the group, but you have to figure they’re like, “Daaaaamn” at that last bit. Hank finishes up by saying he’s glad he’s sober and he knows what his life would be like if he weren’t, but it’s very tough right now. “Thanks for listening.” I hope the rest of the class will forgive me for saying that speech really makes me want a stiff drink.

Britt returns from having walked the dog looking like he’s ready to pick up where he and Katie left off, and from the way he hangs in the doorway I can tell you it looks like he shaves under his arms, if you track these kinds of things. Katie, however, has the TV on, and tells him that it’s his case – there’s a story on about Lindus and the sex tape. Britt’s like, that’s nice, let’s get to the good stuff, but Katie tells him she’s got a lot of studying to do. “But, you know, don’t worry! You got me almost all the way there.” Heh. From the way Britt hangs his head in frustration, it looks like he might reconsider hanging out with the dog for a while.

The meeting has broken up, and the sassy guy from earlier, who it now seems clear is Hank’s sponsor, tells him, in reference to his plan to buy the house from Gretchen, “You know what else you should do? Go down to the corner filling station, buy yourself a big can of premium, douse your clothes with it, and light a match.” Well, pretty much, except I wouldn’t waste money on the high-octane stuff. Hank, unfazed, comes back with “So you’re not a fan of the idea?” and I’m sure Mark would be somewhat happy to know that Hank’s like this with everyone. The sponsor points out that he lost his sobriety (so he relapsed? That’s interesting), his marriage, his job, everything while he was living in that house, so why would he want to return to the place of all his failures? “Is that what you call moving on – living in a museum of your past mistakes?” Hank, clearly getting stung by these sugar-free truths, asks what “Barry” would do, earning this reply: “I would call my ex-wife. I would say, ‘Honey, I’ve changed my mind. Buying that house would be the worst mistake of my sad sorry-assed life. You won’t be hearing from me for quite some time while I attempt to get my shit together. Enjoy the hot, marathon sex I know you’ll be having on your honeymoon. Mazel tov, bitch!” Being that tough love is a staple of AA, I can only imagine from that speech that Barry damn well cares for Hank a great deal. Oh, and also: HA HA HA!

It’s night, and the boys are hanging out in the truck when Hank suggests they “rehearse,” as it’s almost the appointed hour. Britt asks him what, in his experience, is the best way to get rid of blue balls, and Hank’s right there: “Don’t get married.” Heh. Hank then tells Britt how they’re going to attack the guy, adding that they have pepper spray in case anything goes wrong, and then the two of them hop out. Noting that Britt still looks like something’s on his mind, Hank asks what’s up, and Britt confesses that he thinks the “dark presence” Agatha was referring to earlier might be the dog. “It totally cockblocked me this afternoon.” Well, Britt, if you hadn’t been such a pussy about it, you could have gone on like nothing was wrong. I mean, there are worse places he could have stuck his tongue, although now that I think about it that might have happened next so let’s just forget the whole thing. Hank claims he told Britt not to get a dachshund, and Britt’s like, “No you didn’t!” Heh. They get to the door, and after Britt taps on it with the baseball bat he’s carrying, he asks what happens if Agatha did call the cops and Mark’s in there waiting for them. Just then, however, the door opens, and it’s a relief to learn that his fears were unjustified. Less soothing, however, is the fact that Gobright immediately grabs Britt by the head and tosses him into the place like a rag doll, and as Hank jumps on Gobright from behind, Agatha yells, “Kick their asses, Monty! Punch ’em in their dicks!” That could be just the cure Britt was looking for! Gobright uses Hank to demolish some of the place’s drywall, and then Britt recovers enough to throw himself at Gobright, being rewarded by getting, not to put too fine a point on it, the shit kicked out of him. Gobright then asks if “Bradley” sent them, and when Britt denies knowledge of that name, he gets flung with remarkable speed through a closed window, with Hank following a similar trajectory soon after. Agatha then tells Gobright to get out of there, as she can see that “that crazy neighbor bitch” is calling the cops, so after a quick kiss, he vacates the premises, leaving Britt to observe to Hank, “Well, we promised her we’d come back and trash the place.” Hank looks like he would groan if not for the bruised ribs.

When we return, Mark enters the holding area where Hank and Britt are currently residing, and tells them the Final Jeopardy category that evening was “Running Mates.” “Who was Gerald Ford’s Vice-Presidential running mate in the 1976 Presidential election?” As you might expect, this is kind of a tricky question, because it wasn’t Nelson Rockefeller, who was Ford’s VP but declined to run with him, but I did know the answer because it was the first Presidential election for which I was old enough that my food didn’t have to be strained. (Speaking of that, it’s Bob Dole.) Hank guesses “Gil Gerard,” and even though I wouldn’t necessarily have taken him for a Buck Rogers fan that’s still pretty funny. The point, however, is that Mark didn’t get to hear the answer, because at that moment he got a call telling him that his ex-partner was just thrown through a window for muscling in on a local business owner. “Then, before I could stop laughing, Wheel Of Fortune was on and I missed the answer. I guess I will never know.” Britt, in a hilarious deadpan, tries to take the air out of Mark’s grandstanding by saying he could probably Google it, but even though this rightly cracks up a random girl in there, Mark is ready to move on to the idea that Hank stole Gobright’s fugitive report out of his office, and asks if he really thought he would flush him out by strong-arming his girlfriend. Well, Mark, as events proved, the idea wasn’t the problem. The fact that they didn’t bring a cattle prod or an elephant-strength tranq gun was where the plan fell apart. After clarifying that they were only pretending to strong-arm Agatha, Hank points out that it worked, but Reynolds counters, “Too well!” earning amused guffaws from his partner. Britt then complains that the flyer was bullshit, as Gobright was clearly about nine foot seven, but Mark easily tells him it was a typo. “Or maybe the La Mesa cops were smart enough to not accurate depict the Hulk, because nobody would go after him.” Heh. After Mark tells Reynolds to “uncuff these fools,” he informs said fools that he needs them to do what he says if they don’t want to spend the night in jail – go home and stay there, because they’re the primary witnesses in a huge murder case. “I don’t need anyone else bashing in your heads.” Words I didn’t think I’d live to hear him say – but wait for it: “Well, you know, except for me.” And all’s right with the world again. More seriously, he repeats his instruction to go home to Hank. “You’re not a cop anymore, and for good reason. So stop pretending to be one.” Hank snarks back that someone has to, but Mark, his smile returning, says he’s put Reynolds in charge of finding Gobright, and if he sees the two of them sniffing around, “he has orders to shoot to maim.” He chuckles his way on out of there…

…and then in the truck, Hank is recalling that Gobright asked about a “Bradley” before he defenestrated them, and Britt asks if that means they’re still going after him. Hank: “As a rule, I don’t like to get my ass kicked for free.” I guess he’s limiting that to the physical, because mentally and emotionally, as Barry would no doubt point out, he’s been paying for the privilege lately. Britt asks about the Reynolds factor, and Hank scoffs, “Reynolds couldn’t find his own taint with a GPS.” You guys, this is probably as good a time as any to note that this show isn’t exactly kid-friendly.

The next day, the battered boys are at Maggie’s office, and she gives them some documents, saying she got most of what they asked for, and by the way, let’s not make this a habit, as she’s their lawyer, not their secretary. In response, Hank asks if she’ll get him a cup of coffee, getting a sunny smile and this response: “Only if you’ll take it rectally.” Looks like I gave that warning none too soon. Anyway, Hank found it suspicious that Gobright knocked over the liquor store ten months earlier but the cops only just started looking for him, and the documents show why: “Bradley David Denim” just filed a restraining order against Gobright within a day of the cops suddenly starting to look for him. The conclusion is that Bradley “dropped the dime” on Gobright, although given his immense size I’d at least suggest a silver dollar next time.

This Bradley, a thin, well-dressed dude, arrives home with his wife and two kids to find Hank and Britt waiting for them. Cut to the bunch of them inside, where Bradley is telling the boys that he’s a bookkeeper at the Del Mar race track before asking if Gobright really beat them up. Britt assures him that they’ll be better prepared next time, and then when Hank asks what his relationship to Gobright is, Bradley tells him Gobright’s his half-brother. No, Bradley, looking at the two of you, I’d have to say you are his half-brother. Also, since I already mentioned Always Sunny, I might as well tell you that the actor playing Bradley is Nate Mooney, who you might better know as Ryan McPoyle. Amazing how much more normal he looks without the open robe and the glass of milk. Anyway, Bradley tells them that he hasn’t seen Gobright for over a year, but recently he kept calling him incessantly and demanding money, possibly because he was planning to go on the lam. Hank does not look so much like he believes that’s all there is to the story, but settles for giving Bradley his number and urging him to call if he hears from Gobright…

…and then outside, the boys are agreeing that Bradley must have ratted Gobright out. Just then, however, they catch sight of Reynolds and quickly observe that he’s having Bradley’s phone tapped. They sneak out in the other direction…

…and then they’re pulling up to an RV parked somewhere or other. Britt calls, “Whassup, boys!” and the two of them head in…

…to the lair of this show’s version of The Lone Gunmen, except these guys are a lot younger and all varying degrees of cute, and one of them is nerding out the other for quoting Hume: “His notion of causation tells us nothing about our epistemic predicament. Welcome to Philosophy 101, man. Don’t worry – the reading’s not too hard.” Hee. The dude to which this is directed is basically like “FUUUUUUUU” in response, and then the third, cutest guy (their names are “Swift,” “Gunt,” and “Blodgett,” by the way – updates on which one’s which as soon as I figure it out) muses that Britt and Hank want them to do “a tap on a tap.” Hank clarifies that this would cause Reynolds to hear a dial tone while they would get the actual conversation, and this prompts a wave of technobabble that I’ll skip over except to tell you that the two dudes get into it again: “And what if they have a code box, huh? Did you think about that, or are you too busy tongue-kissing your copy of Kierkegaard For Dummies?” You guys, I love this show so much. If that hadn’t been up against the ball-licking line it would have been my favorite of the episode. Sotto voce, Hank asks Britt if he has any idea what they’re talking about, and after Britt assures him he hasn’t a clue, the snarky dude asks who they’re bugging. Hank: “The cops.” All three in unison: “Sweet.” Hee.

Sometime later, Reynolds is still lurking outside while Hank and Britt are in the truck somewhere nearby; Hank is conked out and Britt is valiantly trying to mainline enough coffee to stay awake, but their sleepiness vanishes instantly when they hear via the tap, or tap-tap, that Bradley’s phone is ringing. While Hank gets great pleasure in observing Bradley’s confusion at the tap seemingly not working, we hear that it is indeed Gobright, and he’s asking not for random money but for his “half.” Bradley says at first he can’t get it, but then agrees to meet him “at the pier” in half an hour. Hank grins and starts the truck…

…and then they’re racing to the appointed location, apparently having followed Bradley, because after they get out they look down to a beachfront parking lot and see him disembark. They decide to let Gobright attack his brother and then jump him, but the plan goes awry when Bradley nervously and quickly draws a gun, shoots Gobright in the arm as he charges, and takes off in his SUV. Wait, who took a restraining order out on whom again? With little choice but to help Gobright, they aid him in keeping pressure on the heavily bleeding wound as they walk him to the truck (and by the way, I obviously exaggerated before but IMDb Pro lists the actor’s height as six feet six and a half inches, and he is positively dwarfing our boys in this shot), on the way making plans to drop him off at the hospital, collect their five grand, and be done with it. When Gobright hears the sum they’re after, though, he tells them that’s nothing compared to what he could get from his brother. Hank and Britt, understandably, aren’t particularly impressed at first, but after they deposit Gobright in the back of the truck, he asks if they heard about the “Del Mar window job” that spring, and realization dawns on Hank, assuming his “Oh, shit” is not a delayed reaction to Gobright bleeding all over the back of his pickup.

So whatever happened in Del Mar was enough for the boys to change their plan, as instead of the hospital they’ve taken Gobright to Britt and Katie’s place. And speaking of Katie, she appears and is obviously unpsyched to see the tableau in front of her, and Britt gives a hilariously unenthusiastic “Oh, shit. You’re home!” He decides to duck this conversation in favor of going to get some towels for the blood, leaving Hank to be all “Hey, Katie!” I know they write the script tight, but I would loooove to hear this explanation. Instead, though, they cut ahead to where they’re trying to get Katie to stitch up Gobright’s wound, a prospect that does not particularly please her, especially since she’s only sewed stitches once before, and those were into a sedated Burmese cat under supervision. Yeah, I don’t think a drugged feline would be as sensitive to a false move as a large dude with a bullet wound, nor would its reaction to same be nearly as dangerous. (Cat owners may disagree with me here.) The boys beg her to do it, as they can’t take him to a hospital without losing their shot at the money, and when she asks why it’s so important, Hank tells her about the house business, prompting a well-deserved “Oh, Hank” in reaction. I mean, she’s no Barry, but still. Britt encourages Katie to think of it as practice, and the considered “A subject that actually can give feedback might be interesting” look she gets on her face lets us know she’s going to do it…

…and then, as Gobright is anesthetizing himself with brown liquor swilled straight from a bottle, Katie is working away. He grunts, and she apologizes, but he says she didn’t hurt him. “I’m not used to hard alcohol.” Sorry, my man, but I don’t think low-alcohol cider is going to get the job done here. He starts to say how she’s the prettiest doctor he’s ever seen, but she and Britt correct him that she’s a vet-in-training, which I suppose I never mentioned before but seemed obvious. Hank asks about the Del Mar job, and after Gobright admits that he’s the one that pulled it, Hank lets Katie and us in on the deal, which is that a few months ago, a couple racetrack employees got jumped for the day’s take of a hundred grand, but the police didn’t catch the thief because everyone leaving the place got body-scanned and the money was never found. Britt catches up with Hank when he connects Bradley to the crime, the implication being that Bradley stashed the money on the premises until it was safe to get it out of there, and Gobright tells them it was Bradley’s idea, and he’d been looking to knock over the place for years. He adds, amusingly enough, that Agatha had been telling him to steer clear of his half-brother, as she did a reading for Bradley once and came up with a most scientific verdict of “seriously bad juju.” By the way, there’s a moment when, after Britt tells Katie that his half-brother is the one that shot Gobright, she puts a sympathetic hand on Gobright’s shoulder, and whether it’s completely innocent or not, Britt looks a bit taken aback by the gesture. It’s a subtle point, but the performance is there; whether it goes anywhere remains to be seen. Anyway, Gobright explains some more about the heist but the bottom line is that Bradley, as I just guessed, stashed the money somewhere at the racetrack. “Where it is now, I got no idea.” Katie has finished a job well done at this point, so Hank decides to put Gobright into a bed so he can convalesce, and on the way, Gobright tells them if they recover the money and let him go, he’ll give them Bradley’s half. “‘Cause I’ll tell you right now, he won’t be needing it.” Uh oh. If I were Bradley, I’d borrow a horse from the track and get the hell out of town. Once Gobright has settled into bed, Hank says they’re going to have to tie him up for safekeeping. Dude, given how much success you’ve had containing this guy so far, I hope one of you was in the Navy.

Cut to the other room, wherein Hank tells Britt that he believes Gobright’s story. He then points out some dog shit on the rug, and we look over to see Cerberus lying there with a “Who, me?” look on his face. Britt shakes his head in disgust before following Hank out…

…and then, as they’re driving, Hank asks why Britt doesn’t just take the dog back to the pound and let someone else adopt him. Britt, however, thinks Katie would kill him, and I’m not sure that’s true but given that he got the dog as a badge of his commitment toward greater responsibility, I don’t think it will look so hot if he gives up inside of a week, and Britt agrees: “I’m stuck with my teabagging, flatulent, incontinent dog and that’s all there is to it.” I wasn’t under the impression that Britt had told Hank about the ball-licking incident, but given that Hank doesn’t react I’m revising my opinion, because no one could hear about that for the first time and not flip his shit laughing. Anyway, they pull up to a drycleaners, and you might guess what that means…

…Winston! Yes, it’s the same drycleaner as last week, and Britt is thrilled to see his favorite dog: “You hungry? You want to eat a dachshund?” Heh. He then asks why Winston is in a cage, and the owner sighs that her boss won’t let her take him out at work, and she can’t leave him at home because her Neanderthal ex keeps threatening to steal him back. Anyway, their primary reason for being there is not so Britt can see his best friend, but to borrow some clothes, with Hank handing over some cash and saying they’ll only need them for a couple hours. She tells them whatever she’s got on the rack is theirs, and Hank replies that specifically, they need something that will help them blend in at the track. Well, you can wear what you want, Hank, but I can tell you that without a beer in your hand you’re going to stick out like a sore thumb.

After some establishing shots, the show tries to tell us that your average track is waaaaay nicer and populated by a faaaaaar better class of people than is true in real life, but that’s okay, because seeing the boys dressed up in polo shirts and white linen jackets is fun, even though Britt says his collar itches. Hank: “That’s because it belongs to a rich person.” Heh. They find Bradley, who’s none too pleased to see them, and after he steps away from his post to talk, he tells them that he only shot his brother because he threatened him and his family. Hank easily replies that they don’t care about that – they just want to make a few bucks. As post time occurs, Britt wanders over to watch while Hank tells Bradley that Gobright offered them fifty grand to, well, send Bradley on a one-way trip to the glue factory, but they weren’t sure Gobright could deliver, and regardless, they figured Bradley could beat that price. Bradley asks for what, but the “Turnabout is fair play” implication hangs thick in the air, and although it takes a little more coaxing for him to admit his hand in the robbery, he eventually agrees, only balking at the part where he has to pay them immediately, since he says the money’s at his home. Hank bumps it down to fifteen grand apiece and “we’ll let your brother go,” which seems confusing, but when Bradley clarifies that he wants them to kill him, the reason for the change-up becomes clear – Hank’s wired, and Mark appears from nowhere and says they got what they needed, and the only thing more awesome about the surprise turnabout of Hank and Britt working together with Mark is his line to Bradley: “Looks like you bet on the wrong horse.” That doesn’t even make sense, and I don’t care! Mark is awesome! Whee!

Later, Hank is grinning ear to ear as the cops dig up Bradley’s back yard, and when Mark tells him to stop smirking, Hank says he wasn’t: “Just because I solved an outstanding case of yours within twenty-four hours of you telling me I wasn’t a cop anymore, that gives me no reason to gloat!” Hee. Mark indulges this patiently, but says the reward is only for recovery of the stolen money. “You don’t get a dime unless there’s…” and at that point, one of the cops hauls up a garbage bag. Awesome. After the bag is opened to reveal a heavy racetrack-marked sack, Mark promises to get them the reward money that night, but after Hank skips off-screen, Mark stops “Slick” to ask if he knows where Gobright might be. Britt figures he’s probably “at the donkey show in Tijuana by now,” and Mark chuckles that they must have had some fun that day before asking how long he and Hank have been partners. Britt warily tells him it’s been a couple years, and Mark offers that he and Hank were together for five, and he’s a lot of fun to be around. He adds that he knows what Britt was doing before he met Hank and compliments him on his improved lifestyle, but then drops the façade: “Did you plant that gun?” Britt denies it without a trace of the ambivalence he showed earlier, which makes me think Mark would have been well-advised to carry a Bible he could make Britt swear on. Instead, he chuckles and says Britt’s a good friend, and he gives him credit for that. “But you gotta know, he is going to let you down.” Ooh. Everyone has his or her own unique point of view, but I don’t doubt for a second that this is coming from a genuine place, which is what makes it so hard to hear. Mark goes on that maybe Hank won’t do it on purpose, but he will let him down, and even though Mark loves him, “it is not in Hank Dolworth to do anything but self-destruct on people. And when he does, everybody catches shrapnel. I got the scars to prove it.” Britt has been taking all this in rather somberly, and Mark winds it up by putting his card in Britt’s jacket pocket: “You want to learn how to duck? You call me. I’ve got a lovely wine collection and a wonderfully romantic playlist on my iPod.” Well, that last bit may not have happened, but I don’t know the last time I put a card in the inside pocket of a guy’s jacket without meaning essentially that, you know? Britt does not have any words here…

…so let’s go back to Katie, who walks into the bedroom wherein Gobright is lashed to the bed to find Cerberus sitting impassively on Gobright’s legs. She asks him if he’d like her to remove the beast, but he says no – he kind of likes him. Katie tells him she doesn’t want the dog to learn bad habits, and Gobright reminisces that when he was a kid, his family had a dog called Biscuit just like him. “Coyotes ate it.” Um…at least he was aptly named? Gobright then speculates that Katie doesn’t like the dog all that much, and to her credit, she doesn’t issue a reflexive denial, instead asking how he can tell. He points out the obvious fact that she hasn’t named him yet, and she pauses for a moment before telling Gobright that the dog was supposed to be “training wheels” for having a kid, but she’s worried about that now because she really actually wants to kill the damn thing. Well, I’ll admit that’s not the most naturally maternal statement I’ve ever heard, but Gobright feels that having a child is completely different. “When you have a kid, that’ll be yours. Trust me.” I suppose the implication is that there is an elementary school student somewhere in the area who towers over not only his classmates but also his teacher, but that’s not really the focus of the story here, so let’s move ahead to where Katie hears a honk from outside and goes out to the porch to learn from Hank and Britt that they just made fifteen grand. Of course, if you go by historical precedent, that’s going straight into Hank’s new house, but you know, I’m sure he’ll have Britt and Katie over for dinner sometime.

Sometime later, Britt and Hank drive Gobright to the beach, where Agatha is waiting for them; after the couple has a happy reunion, he produces Cerberus and tells her he’s theirs now, and his name is Biscuit. Dude, I’m not gonna tell you how to live, but don’t you think maybe you’re tempting fate there? Anyway, Hank goes over their deal, which is basically that Gobright goes on the lam for a year without committing any robberies, and if he does have to do it, he at least doesn’t use a gun. There’s no discussion of the fact that Gobright’s out the fifty grand, but maybe seeing Bradley put away is reward enough. Doesn’t seem like it, though; he was pretty clear on wanting the cash. Britt warns Agatha that he thinks the dog might be the nefarious entity she foresaw, but she merely laughs: “Whatever I saw in those cards, it wasn’t a dog.” Of course, now that we have Mark’s speech to contextualize it, I think we’re meant to think that Hank is the dark presence, but it’s a little early to be going there and anyway this show is about the tarot like it’s about dogs. I’m just happy it’s good enough that we don’t get an exaggerated pan over to Hank after Agatha says her piece.

Britt, with his hands over her eyes, leads Katie into…the drycleaner’s, she’s a little perplexed at first to note, but all is understood when Winston makes his appearance. Katie falls in love immediately as the owner tells Britt she’s bummed she can’t keep him, but she knows he’ll be better off with them. Katie proclaims, “This is the right dog,” and that’s lovely to hear but it would be more revelatory if there were anyone in the entire world who wouldn’t adore that pooch from Moment One.

Hank enters his once and future house, now devoid of furniture, and has a now-and-then flashback, by which I mean that he is his current self while he acts out the scene with a memory of Gretchen, and he remembers how happy she was when they bought the house and how much potential she saw in it. A Sad Piano plays, but it’s thankfully not that intrusive, so I can live with it. He smiles as she says she has no complaints but one – a wall that she says kills the flow between the dining room and the kitchen. He tells her that her wish is his command, but she replies that it’s okay – maybe it’s better for the house to have one flaw. “Perfect is the enemy of good.” With that, Hank comes back to himself, and the current version of Gretchen emerges from one of the bedrooms and says it’s good he let himself in. She indicates a box that she says contains all the stuff of his she found, and then says how weird it is to see the place so empty. He smiles that it’s just like when they moved in “five years and three months ago,” and she recalls that there was a heat wave at the time. She pauses, unsure how to proceed, and then asks if he’s certain he wants to go through with it, but he says he hasn’t thought of anything else all day. “Asked a few opinions, sorta got a consensus.” Hee. Gretchen’s phone then rings, and after she has a brief conversation with Jason, Hank gives her the check, and she congratulates him for “once again” being the proud owner of the place. With all requisite awkwardness, she wishes him the best, adding that there’s a buyer’s remorse law that gives him seventy-two hours to change his mind, as long as he doesn’t make any structural changes. “You break it, you buy it.” And this show usually keeps me guessing, but I have to admit on first viewing and without benefit of tarot cards I foresaw imminent doom for a certain wall. Not that they drag it out, as indeed, after Gretchen takes her leave, Hank gets out a sledgehammer and goes to town, and that’s where we leave our boys this week. And I will say that despite Mark’s gloomy words, I’d rather see Hank take his frustrations out on a wall than go to pieces himself. See you soon for Episode 3.

Grade: A-

  1. Well this has been a treat on a gloomy Monday morning 🙂 Great start to recapping the show, Couch Baron. I was honestly psyched that you would be doing this, and my excitement wasn’t in the least misplaced.

    These characters are so well-drawn, and the show is perfect for recapping because there’s always more going on in any given scene.

    Take Hank and Gretchen’s entire screwy, uncomfortable relationship. You can see a shadow of what Hank must have been like while drinking whenever he’s around her. His boundaries are almost non-existent, he has his ability to rationalize and deny unhealthy behaviors in overdrive. She’s like a whiskey bottle with feet for him. Whenever he’s around Gretchen, Hank just starts breaking the rules he needs to live by to stay sober.

    For her part Gretchen acts like someone who you can see being a big ol’ enabler for the better part of a decade.

    It’s one of my favorite stories within the series because it isn’t a blatant thing. Even the “You thought it pretty loudly.” is…isn’t that exactly how the spouses of alcoholics tend to handle things? They’re still playing out their dynamic.

    Anyway, don’t want to blather on too long this early, but thank you again for doing this. Every season there’s a show that pops up and goes away that shouldn’t. This one really shouldn’t perish and any efforts to keep it alive are appreciated!

    • Yeah, I definitely think they put a lot of thought into the Hank/Gretchen dynamic. Very believable, but really cringeworthy at times.

  2. First of all, thanks for doing this – I’m with you in the crusade to keep this AMAZING show going. Secondly, a sort of general observation that reading this recap reminded me of: aside from the wit of the dialogue and intelligence of the storytelling, one thing that stands out for me on this show (and a trait it shares with Veronica Mars) is male characters who conspicuously not only endure but actively get off on smart, strong, complicated women. You don’t see a lot of that on TV, certainly not so consistently and thoughtfully. It is a big reason why Hank and Britt are by a long, long shot the hottest guys on television right now.

  3. Yes, for sure. I also thought you pointed out very well all the little moments where Hank and especially Britt enjoy women at they sharpest/bitchiest/bad-ass-iest. There’s a genuine admiration for strength in women, paired with a sort of gallantry, by these men that makes them very attractive. In fact, my crush on Michael Raymond-James is at this point putting a certain amount of stress on my marriage.

  4. Forgot all about the “Gypsy warning” to Britt. Show is better the harder you look at it.

    Thanks for recapping. Day made.

  5. 1. the second he came on screen I was like “Joey Potter’s dad is up to no good once again!” seriously, that guy always plays crappy dads.

    2. I mostly agree with you about Gretchen, up until a more recent event that we can discuss when you get there in your recaps–in that instance, I am 100% on her side.

    3. I don’t think Barry meant that Hank relapsed, but that it is where he became a drunk.

    4. I never noticed that moment with Britt and Katie before, I will definitely have to check that out next time I watch this episode.

    • You’re probably right on #3. It seemed like an odd way of phrasing it, but maybe that’s an AA stock phrase.

  6. Couch Baron, you have great taste.

  7. I am so excited to find that you are doing pro bono recap work! I’m the only person that I know who is watching this show, and it has been killing me that TWoP isn’t even minimally covering it.
    So this is such a nice late-in-the-season surprise – and honestly even better than if TWoP were covering it, because they’d have probably relagated it to one of those infernal “weecaps.” I’m not into those abbreviated recaps – almost no room for funny commentary.
    I’ll be back to read all of these!