Previously on Hap and Leonard, “Senorita Mambo”
Without question Hap and Leonard have endured a lifelong string of bad luck since that fateful night when Beau Otis robbed them of their fathers. In the time viewers became acquainted with LaBorde’s finest, the pair had been double and triple-crossed, targeted by spree killers, lost old friends, driven away true love, and unearthed the darkest secret in their town’s history. Somehow all of that pales to their current predicament in Grovetown, which had left them bloodied and broken in every which way. For all of season three viewers could only wonder what Collins and Pine suffered to rattle their very souls, and in the penultimate episode, our fears were confirmed in a stark, inhuman fashion.
“Mambo No. 5” carries on immediately after last week’s episode, as the brothers are more determined than ever in their search for Florida after discovering her car and personal items. Nevertheless, Hap remained haunted by dreams that may foretell the conclusion of the season. Florida is always out of Collins’ reach by a hair’s breadth yet the looming threat of the Klan has invaded Hap’s unconscious, forcing him to decide between looking for Grange or saving Leonard from certain death.
Naturally, Pine isn’t spared from the weight of the matter as he recounted his most traumatic experience in ‘Nam. In spite of the promise of death at every turn in that foreign land, Leonard’s resolve carried him through; just as it will in their search for Grange. As much guilt and concern Hap feels about Florida’s whereabouts, he’s been a touch oblivious about Leonard’s growing angst during their stay in Grovetown. No one in and around LaBorde would ever doubt Pine’s fortitude or his predilection to get things done, no matter the adversity. Yet this season has been a whole other ball of wax for the duo and they’ve been slowly coming apart at the seams.
Coincidentally, Hap and Leonard’s presence in Grovetown hastily fractured the town’s shallow veneer, forcing Officer Reynolds and Truman Brown to forgo their civilized demeanors and unleash the true evil living inside them. Once Collins and Pine walked back into Grovetown for the final time, a sense of dread and inevitability swept across the remainder of the episode. All manner of pleasantries vanished as many of the townsfolk awaited the Klan to arrive and finally make Collins and Pine disappear. What followed for the next ten minutes of the episode was an agonizing display of torment that’s seldom seen on television. While the scene itself was extremely difficult to watch, the saddest thing of all is this maliciousness caused by Brown and his cronies isn’t alien in our reality.
The beatdown behind Maude’s diner was a microcosm of sorts for the overall narrative of “Two Bear Mambo”. After all these years of building up this facade of being a wholesome haven in East Texas, the pain and ugliness of Grovetown is fully revealed in a grimy back alley. although Hap and Leonard aren’t strangers to getting their asses handed to them on occasion, all involved in the sequence created a genuine sense of urgency about Collins and Pine surviving their torturous ordeal. There are poignant moments strewn throughout the series thanks to Purefoy and Williams, yet this particular moment when both are physically and emotionally destroyed, nearly at the end of their rope, Collins and Pine still exhibit more empathy and strength than most if they were in their position.
The fight isn’t remotely over as Truman tasked his top Klan goons to murder Hap, Leonard and their allies while they recuperate and strategize at Bacon’s home. Before the onslaught, Pine was still on Bacon’s case soon after he regained consciousness. Never one to let go of beef, Bacon finally schooled Leonard about his supposed “uncle tom” status in Grovetown.
In a way, Bacon is an older yet genteel reflection of Leonard. He was full of piss and vinegar like Pine in his youth but retool his frustration by making the most of his opportunity provided by the military. Though he prospered in Chicago, Bacon returned to Grovetown to ensure the Southside received the healthcare it needed. Granted, Bacon’s station in Grovetown was severely limited compared to his time in the big city but the call to serve was ever present, and something Leonard can wholly relate to, in spite of his inelegant response to LaBorde’s unsavory residents.
Meanwhile, Chief Cantuck’s eyes are wide open to the corruption going on in Grovetown – and how it may be supported by a few deputies. Sadly, Cantuck wasn’t able to be much help for Collins and the gang after their failed execution. After promising Hap he’ll learn all he can about Florida, Cantuck was shot between his eyes by Reynolds, and from what I can gather, automatically assumes the role of Chief. Now with no one standing in the way, a few hundred miles won’t do a lick of good for Hap and Leonard when the Klan is dead set on making an example out of them.