Previously on Hap and Leonard, ‘War’
Starring: James Purefoy, Michael Kenneth Williams, Christina Hendricks, Jimmi Simpson, PollyAnna McIntosh, Enrique Murciano, Henry G. Sanders, Terence Rosemore | Director: Jim Mickle
Battered. Bruised. Bleeding out. No rescue in sight.
The situation was looking fairly dismal for Hap and Leonard. Still, things could have been worse. For instance, there could’ve been a gun-toting maniac wax dementedly about how teeth are more important than vaginas while his amazonian girlfriend creeps up behind you to break your neck. This show, I swear…
“Eskimos”, the sixth and final episode of Hap and Leonard’s first season, pulled no punches during the lucky duo’s final stand against urbanites Soldier (Jimmi Simpson) and Angel (PollyAnna McIntosh). Thankfully, Trudy (Christina Hendricks) had a change of heart at the most convenient time to pull Hap and Leonard’s fat out of the fire. After the whirlwind of carnage created by Soldier and Angel, the remaining crew barely make it out before they all succumb to their wounds. What follows is an extended epilogue that features Hap reflecting on the events that unfolded the past couple days, including a few deaths and renewing the bond between him and Leonard.
It’s a bit difficult to compose a review for “Eskimos”; not because the episode had a disjointed or muddling plot (it didn’t) or bad performances by the cast (they weren’t). The finale of H&L wasn’t the typical fare seen on television so much as an airy philosophical treatise (of sorts) on value theory. On the whole, “Eskimos” provided a conclusive ending for a reflective Hap, who was tested a number of times by everyone, but mainly himself. Throughout the six-episode season, nearly every character was put through the existential wringer at one point, forcing themselves to question their own value, the value they place on others and objects they sought and whether the endgame would even be worth the effort.
Looking back, Hap may not have had the dream life yet he maintained a positivity and respected the fragile gift that is life. Even though most people took for granted (looking at you, Soldier and Angel). To counter Hap’s enduring light, Leonard was the stalwart pragmatist who pierced through everyone’s bullshit with a laser precision. They were figuratively and literally chained, forever due to the shared tragedy that’s finally unveiled in “Eskimos” in its entirety. In their loss, Hap and Leonard unconsciously formed a devotion so profound, they are each other’s constant in the face of social and cultural. Of course a relationship even as indomitable as theirs isn’t without its rough patches.
There were a number of pratfalls experienced by Collins and Pine during the season but without question the biggest hang-up Hap faced was Ms. Trudy Fawst. Although the venture to grab old loot was pretty much doomed from the start, Hap’s old memories of his lost love – and boy, was she lost – only dragged him (and Leonard) further down the rabbit hole. In the end, with death so near, the three found the relative intrinsic value of their lives once more. Whereas the cash could have been a sweet bonus, finally seeing things as they are, unfettered by one’s fear or anger is the greater reward.
Quasi-philosophical ranting about the inner motivations of opportunistic Texans and thrill-killing city slickers aside, “Eskimos” capped the first season of H&L in a consummate and satisfying manner. The cast was thoroughly engaging, the storyline, though it possessed some foreseeable moments, was gratifying nonetheless. Hopefully SundanceTV takes another chance on the Southern Noir series… to leave a pair of rogues like Hap Collins and Leonard Pine on the shelf – especially with the way the season ended – would be a grave injustice for such dynamic characters.
Hap and Leonard S1E6 = 9.3/10