Previously, on Hap and Leonard
Small towns tend to have big secrets and LaBorde, Texas is no different. After a turbulent series of events in its first season, titular characters Hap Collins and Leonard Pine earned a well-deserved respite. Problem is they weren’t aware that their latest headache had been rotting underneath the floorboards of Leonard’s childhood home for a good, long time.
Three months have passed since the killer duo that was Soldier and Angel stormed through town. From the look of things, life has returned to normal for most residents in LaBorde, with exception to our stalwart pair. Hap remains distraught over the loss of his ex-wife Trudy and Leonard must deal with continued harassment from his late uncle’s neighbors. While the two of them do their best to make it through each day, Leonard made a chilling discovery under Uncle Chester’s place. Naturally, all hell breaks loose when the police immediately pin our dynamic duo as their primary suspects… and key evidence goes missing to boot.
The guys managed to have a luck on their side with the arrival of a no-nonsense attorney, but ultimately it’ll be up to Hap and Leonard in their second season to not only prove their innocence to a seemingly corrupt department but solve a murder no one else appears interested in investigating.
Given the social climate of the era, Leonard has many vocal objectors to his lifestyle. One of the first was The Reverend James Fitzgerald (Hell on Wheels’ Dohn Norwood), who will likely be a continued annoyance throughout the season. Worse yet, Pine has a more foreboding adversary that has the power to irrevocably destroy his life: Detective Marvin Hanson (Cranston Johnson). For many citizens of LaBorde, the mere sight of Leonard Pine is an insult to their God-fearing beliefs. However, knowing Pine’s out and unafraid to get his hands dirty in order to defend himself aggravates them even further. Introducing Fitzgerald and Hanson – two upstanding, law-abiding, narrow-minded Black males in positions of authority – adds a starkness that wasn’t in play during the first season.
Hanson’s disgust for Leonard’s “kind” is glaring when his questions into the remains found in Chester’s home turn into a condemnation of homosexuality. Here is a man, the only Black person on the force who likely had to go through his own trial by fire to be received by his co-workers, confronted with another Black male who’s the complete antithesis of his cultural beliefs. Leonard not only is an affront to his Black Male ideals but his presence could set Hanson back at the workplace among his colleagues. A similar sentiment could be felt between Pine and Fitzgerald, who evoked scripture to justify his prejudice. Of course, Leonard wasn’t going to take shit from either one of them.
Pine’s patience is tested one more time when Raul strongly suggests he looks after Ivan (Olaniyan Thurmon), a local boy caught up in drugs. In spite of Chester and Leonard’s strained relationship the apple didn’t far from the tree, as evidenced by Pine’s reluctance to foster the young addict. Chester never expected to have Leonard in his life, yet for a time both provided the fellowship and purpose each needed. How and if Leonard will strike a form of kindly reciprocation with Ivan isn’t known. The only certainty is Pine should glue down everything that’s valuable in the house.
In the meantime, Hap is a complete mess and cannot give up his ex’s remains no matter how hard he tries (which isn’t much at all). For most of “Mucho Mojo”, Collins was played for comedic elements to prove that life is still giving him the worst time even though he maintains his glass-half-full attitude. Even when it appears the cops are ready to arrest both of them for the murder of the john doe they uncovered, Hap almost immediately forgets about Trudy when Florida Grange (Tiffany Mack) jumps in the scene.
It’s clear Grange will be the compass that’ll lead the guys out of trouble this season; her brimming confidence is matched only by her legal acumen and she managed to get Hap and Leonard’s fat out of the fire… for now. Like Det. Hanson, Florida had to work thrice as hard as her peers, especially being a Black woman in a male-dominated profession. She had proven herself worthy to Texas State Bar and from the way the cops reacted to Florida’s presence, they’re already well acquainted with her shrewdness. If Florida didn’t believe she could help Pine and Collins, Grange wouldn’t have taken their case. Based on what we saw in the premiere, the three are going to be fighting an uphill battle with the police and local government attempting to conceal the murder of a missing boy.
Hap and Leonard is off to a fast start and as expected, haven’t pulled any punches. After a few references to the Otis family last season, it appears they’ll be an active presence during the investigation. What that means for Collins and Pine remains to be seen.