Previously on Hap and Leonard, “The Two-Bear Mambo”
After the ice cold reception Collins and Pine received in Grovetown – Obviously far more traumatizing events occurred as the pair searched for Florida; one doesn’t go to bed clutching a loaded pistol otherwise. It’s difficult to know which is worse at the moment: Hap’s bad dreams about Florida’s possible death, or the living nightmare he and Leonard are enduring in the present. All signs point to the latter in “Ho-Ho Mambo” as viewers are given a thorough introduction of Grovetown’s prominent citizens and the means by which they maintain their power in their infamously prejudiced community.
It all began when Charlie visited Hap the day after he drove Collins and Pine home from their violent encounter in East Texas, Hap recounted his first few hours in Grovetown to Charlie, starting with his unexpected run-in with Deputy Sneed (Evan Gamble). Disgraced and unable to find any work in the surrounding counties of LaBorde – after his treatment of Leonard and collusion with Melton in “Mucho Mojo” – Sneed found a home in Grovetown. It wouldn’t be awfully surprising if Sneed’s tarnished record wasn’t regarded positively by his new partner Reynolds (Laura Allen), an officer who proudly exhibits her intense disdain for everything and everyone non-White. Still and all, Sneed appeared genuinely contrite once alone with Hap and Leonard and warned them to leave Grovetown as soon as possible. Of course we know they aren’t going to take Sneed’s advice and despite the very real threat of disappearing just like Florida, neither Collins or Pine feel like they’ll err on the side of caution.
Deserted in arguably the worst possible backwoods hole in all of Texas, Collins and Pine press on in finding Grange and meet a few more of Grovetown’s nastiest, beginning with Chief Cantuck (Corbin Bernsen). As the law in Grovetown, Cantuck’s word goes. Sporting a mean streak slightly bigger than his distended testes (yeesh), the Chief doesn’t give a damn about Florida or her bothersome friends.
Though Cantuck doesn’t appear to be a flaming racist like Reynolds or a majority of the town, his surliness coupled with his colorful tale about living it up with chickens left Hap and Leonard a bit disturbed. OK, more than a good deal disturbed. It’s a credit to Bernsen’s deftness in channeling the acerbity out of his characters, from his long-standing role as Henry Spencer on Psych, to his one-off appearance as Vulcan on American Gods.
Regardless of Grovetown’s abhorrent White pride, there are a few outliers who have managed to live among the mob. Collins and Pine became acquainted with local DJ Sonny Knox (Andrew Dice Clay), a country and blues aficionado who sought to acquire the last recordings of L.C. Soothe from his grandson Bobby Joe. After reviving an old radio station into a successful business, Knox hoped to purchase the recording before moving to Nashville and really cutting his teeth in the music business. Alas, Florida wasn’t budging in her demands. One may not have expected an actor like Clay to fit in a show like Hap and Leonard but that would be a grave disservice to Ellen Chenoweth’s faultless casting acumen. Clay brings the perfect balance of humor and ridicule for Knox, who switches his ridicule for Grovetown off and on like the microphone in his booth.
Cullen Moss jumped into the scene as the annoyingly gregarious Tim “Rocket” Garner… mechanic, motel owner, self-proclaimed lothario and resident rumor mill. After all the hoopin’ and hollerin’ (and ass kickin’) Hap and Leonard did in Grovetown, Rocket provided the boys with their biggest pieces to the puzzle so far. Like Cantuck, Garner claimed Florida left his establishment the morning she alleged left Grovetown. However Rocket also let slip that the police ruled Grange’s client’s death a suicide. Rocket may be a fry short of a Happy Meal, but even he knows the cops are used to making their own version of the truth ‘round these parts.
Their actions could also be attested by Bacon, played with a compelling solemnity by the legendary Louis Gossett Jr. The sole Black person tolerated within town, Bacon appears to be a jack of all trades: cook, undertaker, and perhaps the only representative for the Southside of Grovetown. From the moment Bacon saw Leonard in particular it was apparent he knew a few things and wanted to warn young blood the imminent danger he was in.
In spite of the cold shoulders, constant harassment from an especially ornery pair of redneck, and being stuck in a dank motel room, Hap and Leonard remained undeterred in their search for Florida. However they immediately lost their appetite for pulled pork sandwiches when Hap uncovered the note Bacon wrote for them on a napkin… ‘She is dead You’re next”. We know a frank warning like that won’t compel the duo to leave town overnight, but knowing the Klan has virtually all of Grovetown in its pocket, Hap and Leonard are going to take their share of licks before getting the answers they want.
Hap and Leonard S3E2 Review Score
Hap and Leonard – S2E2 – Ho-Ho Mambo | James Purefoy, Michael Kenneth Williams, Tiffany Mack, Cranston Johnson, Douglas M. Griffin, Evan Gamble | Writer: Nick Damici | Director: Jim Mickle