Based on my exploration of last week’s reviews it seems I was higher on “Aqua Caliente” than most, but that’s okay. And even though I really, really enjoyed that episode, I found that “Pimp Daddy” holds together a little bit better and is thus a “better” episode.
Like last week’s effort, “Pimp Daddy” separates Hank and Britt for most of the episode, but I think with better results this time. Whereas last week was obviously trying to tell a specific story about their partnership and friendship, this one feels more like it’s more interested in telling a fairly straightforward tale about how these two guys handle cases. Moreover, I kind of see it as something of a test run for Britt. We’ve seen him work with Hank for 7-8 episodes and now it’s almost as if this is the midterm exam where he has to proved what he’s picked up from his time with Hank and apply to a case that he is working on his own.
And instead of pushing the case(s) to really connect with the episode’s thematic concerns, “Pimp Daddy” is more obvious in the sense that it has Hank working on an extremely personal case that directly connects to his life. There’s no interpretation needed for what happens after Hank discovers that Jason was a part of a criminal case in which his parents were accused of molesting multiple children and has subsequently changed his name. Britt’s case eventually reminds him of things going on in his personal life with Katie, but it’s not as much of an obvious thread as the last few weeks have been, and it’s nice to see the series mix it up just a little bit.
With Gretchen and Jason’s wedding just a few days away, Hank is still undecided on whether or not he should attend. And though I find the fact that they even invited him to be something of a slap in the face, that decision Hank has to make gets muddled up when Maggie delivers some information on Jason (the aforementioned child molestation case). From there, Hank tracks down a journalist who covered the molestation trail (of which there was no verdict) and a supposed victim in hopes of finding out the truth about Jason. When he brings this to Gretchen’s attention, things don’t go exactly how Hank planned, as it seems Jason told Gretchen the truth fairly early in their relationship (or at least a version of the truth).
What’s great about Hank’s search for the truth and the scene with Gretchen is that doesn’t come down with a specific judgment. We’ve followed Hank all season and all episode, so it’s really hard to argue against the fact that what he is doing seems to be powered by good intentions. If I was Hank, I’d probably do the same thing. Sure, he is ultimately trying to get Gretchen back, but a few episodes ago, he realized he was more comfortable with not accomplishing that goal, so this search for the truth could just as easy exist as him serving as a protective friend. Just about anyone who found this information out would do what Hank did in bringing it to Gretchen’s attention. Although most people wouldn’t have spied on Jason in the first place or stalked down a few victims, but the general intent is there.
However, it’s also hard to disagree with Gretchen’s side of things either. Though Hank is the supposed hero of this story, he’s not unflappable, and actually far from it. Gretchen has been nothing but a likable, cordial person since the beginning of the series, so if she divorced Hank, it was for good reasons, most likely related to his drinking. Therefore, it’s easy to view Hank’s actions through her eyes and see them as him continuing to budge into her life when she’s asked him to respect this new situation and also serves as yet another example that Hank is a destructive mess that when disregarding intent, tends to screw things up.
Terriers isn’t afraid to make Hank act like a dick, and much like in “Change Partners,” he ultimately ends a heated conversation with a biting remark to Gretchen about how he’s glad the two of them never had kids, the implication being he assumes that Mark did have something to do with the molestation and he’s happy he isn’t putting anyone in danger.
Meanwhile, Britt’s solo journey into the depths of San Diego street-walkers is a fun and light, but ultimately kind of heartbreaking story that unravels in the traditional Terriers fashion. What first begins as Britt getting some money back from a hooker for a teenage boy turns into an interesting investigation into the murder of the hooker’s friend. I’m a sucker for the cases that start as one case and end up as an entirely different affair, and even when the case here doesn’t necessarily evolve into a deep-seeded conspiracy or anything, it still has impact.
Plus, the tranny hooker is really fun character to have around, one that seems like a real person and not just a stereotype of that kind of character. The series is really good at integrating this intriguing supporting players into the world so that it seems completely fully formed.
The case shows Britt that time isn’t something to waste, particularly when he finds a pregnancy test box in the trash and assumes that Katie is now pregnant. Not wanting to look like an idiot who only proposes because his girlfriend is pregnant, Britt pops the question. Katie hesitantly accepts, but there’s one problem with this situation: she doesn’t know who the father is.
Moving forward, it seems like Britt’s on something of a high while Hank’s on his way down. Is it here where Gustafson’s claims about Hank’s destructive attitude rears its head? Will Hank let the truth about Katie’s infidelity seep out just because he’s messed up and angry? I hope not, but as “Pimp Daddy” suggests, Hank Dollworth can be an asshole, even to those he cares about most.