With the ground rules set and our main players introduced, Hap and Leonard‘s second episode begins to expand their world, planting seeds for a second season adaptation of the second novel, Mucho Mojo. We also get more emotional development for both Hap (James Purefoy) and Leonard (Michael Kenneth Williams) that forces our heroes to split up for a while. That physical isolation ultimately translates into both characters giving in to temptation in times of stress. The secondary characters don’t get much movement, with Howard (Bill Sage) beginning to display a slight edge – although he holds it in check for now – and Chub (Jeff Pope) remaining a loveable loser. Paco (Neil Sandilands) is revealed to have a radical past that draws its inspiration from real headlines of the times. Trudy (Christina Hendricks) knows exactly how to keep Hal interested, and it’s not just with sex (although that helps). She begins to play the long-lost lover who regrets her life choices. Now this may be true, or it may not. We’ll have to see how it plays out. The villains of the piece, Soldier (Jimmi Simpson) and Angel (Pollyanna McIntosh) continue to float around the edges after the murder of the police officer we witnessed last week. Ah, the benefits of setting one’s story in late-Eighties rural Texas. No security cameras everywhere, no cell phones, no internet, no global satellite tracking. These characters have to work to find what they need, and criminals have a leg up when it comes to getting away with murder. What I said last week about the show being about friendship (and getting paid) is made plain this week. Hap and Leonard are a team, watching each other’s backs and pretty much not giving a shit about the rest of the crew. Their first excursion out to find the bridge almost turns into a dangerous scenario, but writers Nick Damici and Jim Mickle pull back expertly to allow what could almost be called mutual respect develop between Hap and Paco. Then Chub is used as comic relief that allows everybody to have a good laugh together. It was a very good way of playing with expectations and it then sets up a situation where Hap and Leonard can take advantage of having their leash loosened. Turns out the bridge isn’t that difficult to find for Hap, but the river is another story. But tragedy strikes and breaks up our team the time being. Leonard’s horrible, homophobic Uncle Chester (Henry G. Sanders) has a heart attack and winds up nearly dead in the hospital, forcing Leonard to head for home and leaving Hap on his own. Or almost on his own. He’s still got Trudy. And Trudy’s not just along to make things pretty; she’s got a good head on her shoulders and helps Hap actually find the river, the missing car full of money, and a big-ass alligator. Is it any wonder they end up having sex in the dirt and sand? Although, alligators have been known to actually go after people and animals on shore, too, so I personally would have argued for sex in the car instead. Leonard ends up getting some too this week, as the nurse caring for his Uncle is an ex-boyfriend named Raoul (Enrique Murciano), who shows up at Leonard’s place later to “talk” and “return some records.” It’s an interesting decision, bringing Raoul into the story at this juncture, as he doesn’t really show up in the books until the fourth novel, Bad Chili (due diligence, I haven’t read beyond Savage Season, so I may be off a bit), but it does allow for an expansion of Leonard’s world. And if the show gets picked up for multiple seasons, it’s a line of narrative that won’t appear out of the blue when Bad Chili rolls around. It’s good to see him interacting with someone other than Hap, especially since the only other interactions we’ve seen have been either sarcastic jokes or kicking the asses of drug-dealers. In a flashback, we get a flashback to Young Leonard (Kaden Washington Lewis) being taken care of by Uncle Chester when Leonard’s dad died. It’s a beautiful moment, briefly glimpsed, that makes Chester’s rejection of his nephew all the more tragic and Leonard’s loyalty all the more noble. It’s also good to see that the show isn’t going to pull punches when it comes to Leonard’s sexuality. It’s one thing to show him being discriminated against, or to have funny banter with his straight best friend, but I was a little worried that for a Texas Noir crime show, it might have been a safer play to keep that in the background. It’s refreshing to see a gay character on television who literally breaks nearly every stereotype and has a personality and story arc that isn’t defined by his sexual preference. He’s a character before he’s a gay character, and we need that. And we need actors like Williams, who isn’t afraid to play not one, but two of the baddest-ass gay men in television history without repeating himself. Hap and Leonard 1.02 "The Bottoms"Paul's Rating4.0Overall ScoreReader Rating: (0 Votes)Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.