Previously on Hap and Leonard, “Mucho Mojo”
After last week’s raucous opener, Hap and Leonard confidently delved into rather serious territory with legal eagle Florida Grange pulling double duty – with a little help from Collins. She was not only tasked to keep Leonard out of jail (by any means she finds necessary), but is slowly developing a timeline for the scores of children that went missing over the last four years. Pine and Collins do their best to keep their heads low but “the law” – and the term is used loosely – have other plans for them, and may possibly succeed.
“Ticking Mojo” formally introduced the Sheriff Valentine Otis, the old lawdog around those here parts, played by the exceptional Brian Dennehy. Never one to shy from a crime scene, Sheriff Otis seems to have a knack for suppressing problematic scandals – as evidenced by his son Beau’s vehicular manslaughter decades ago. Despite the fact that children have been abducted for years and the first sign of evidence that could reveal the serial kidnapper/murderer was thoroughly compromised, Valentine had the undaunted gall to tell a congregation that LaBorde will heal and justice will prevail. Thanks for the platitudes, now do something about it already.
For casual fans of the show that never read Joe Lansdale’s prolific series, all finally came to a head between Hap and the detestable Beau Otis. As seen in flashbacks in the season one’s finale “Eskimos”, we learned Beau was the person behind the wheel that killed Hap and Leonard’s fathers. 30 or so years may have passed, but there’s no way in hell a heart-rending injustice would be forgotten. It was a bit strange that Beau wouldn’t recall who Collins was while he shamelessly campaigned for votes after Sunday service – then again who would think straight after Meemaw comes at you strong with some righteous comebacks and a “Jesus wasn’t White!” to pulverize one’s caucacity into a fine powder.
In fact, one of the underlying themes in “Ticking Mojo” – and likely for the entire season – is the pervasive nature of privilege and how it shaped LaBourde into two wholly different towns over the decades. This way of life was (and remains) prevalent in the American South. The Otis family is the quintessential example of privilege wrapped snuggly in authority; years dozens of young Black children across the county have been abducted with no one within law enforcement giving a damn.
Hap and Florida get to the heart of the matter when the mothers of the missing congregated in the police station only to be turned away once more. In a beautiful yet despairing sequence, Collins and Grange interview each mother about their sons, what they last wore, their appearance, what they loved to do… viewers were front and center as director ‘’ forced them to listen to every plea and concern of these women if they were Hap or Florida. The absolute sad thing is a story such as this isn’t an outlier; in point of fact, it’s occurs on a regular basis and was recently put in the spotlight due to concerns about the D.C. area. In this narrative, the sole connection between the missing boys is the late Chester Pine.
The bad mojo that permeates the harrowing endeavor Chester endured had passed on to Leonard who goes through his own scrapes, beginning with an overeager officer wanting to exact vengeance for the kids by beating Leonard with various items. While getting his injuries tended to by Raoul, Melton – aka the Guy Who Got Pissed on by Leonard – continues to frame Pine by having Ivan plant evidence inside Chester’s house. It’s capped off with a visit to the elusive Illium Moon (Wayne Dehart), the secret partner in Chester’s fruitless investigation. Claiming that Illium is a touch outside our reality is an understatement. If there were two things we learned about Moon it’s his belief that spirits dwell when they’re unfulfilled… and he’s an extreme mistrust of white people. Both of these facts may been in play when Moon’s suddenly met his unfortunate demise.
Just when Leonard and Hap found the sole witness that would vindicate the Pine family, they’ll have no other alternative but to leave LaBorde once they learn Ilium went on to the other side. Whoever is responsible for inflicting misery on LaBorde’s Black community isn’t close to done but right for now, the killer is the least of their problems.
Hap and Leonard S2E2
Hap and Leonard – S2E2 – Ticking Mojo | James Purefoy, Michael Kenneth Williams, Tiffany Mack, Cranston Johnson, Brian Dennehy, Irma P. Hall, Dohn Norwood, Enrique Murciano | Writer: Abe Sylvia | Director: Maurice Marable