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This Business Requires a Certain Amount of Finesse

By Dustin Rowles | TV | December 2, 2010 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | December 2, 2010 |

The season (and potentially the series) finale of “Terriers” didn’t have any of the oh-shit moments that Kurt Sutter brought us the night before in “Sons of Anarchy,” nor did it give us a real sense of satisfying closure. It didn’t exactly leave us hanging, but it certainly left us wanting more. And more is definitely what it deserves after a stellar first season. Shawn Ryan and gang managed to successfully callback most of the major turns of season one to close the airport case, kill Burke, and take down Zeitland, and while there weren’t any major shoot-outs our twists, there were no cheats, either. They also closed the first level of the overall conspiracy arc, but the relationships are still in flux, though they are at least pointed in the right direction.

It was a remarkable season overall, and while I’m not ready to put “Terriers” in the same category as “The Wire” or even the AMC shows, I think it’s the best show on F/X, and that’s saying a lot for a network that’s quietly found a comfortable groove between the empty candy of the USA Network and the density of the AMC shows. F/X is smart and highly watchable, and Hank and Britt are the two characters I’ve looked most forward to spending an hour with each week. There’s a warm, rugged chemistry between those two, and it’s been their relationship that’s made “Terriers” such an immense joy to watch. The writers on the show have deftly managed to keep their relationship at the center of the show, even as they both have troubled love lives with which to contend.

Moreover, I also appreciate how the series evolved from what seemed like an episodic show, built around individual cases, to a serial mystery. Many of those cases earlier in the season worked into the overall conspiracy. It’s classic “Veronica Mars” Season One plotting (only not as obvious as the “VM” bookends in each episode).

And how about the way Britt manned up there in the end (assuming that he and Hank don’t take a left to Mexico, which of course they wouldn’t). It’s clear there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done in his relationship with Katie, but he’s matured considerably over the course of the season, and I hope if “Terriers” isn’t renewed that Michael Raymond-James lands elsewhere. He began as a goofy sidekick to Hank, but he grew into a really solid lead character.

For Hank: He and his old partner, Mark, have finally made amends. If it’s necessary for the plot, I’m sure Mark’s distrust will return, but in last night’s episode, they were comfortable together (although, how jarring was it to see Mark smoking a cigarette after chewing on that thing all season long?) Hank’s kind of back to square one with Gretchen, although now that she’s single (poor fucking Mumford), it appears that Hank is actually trying to move on, and I wonder if that would mean Gretchen gets written out in a potential second season?

No use in speculating too much right now. Instead, it’s probably best to reflect on Hank and Britt’s final moments in the truck, exchanging affectionate banter on the way to prison. Leaving them in the truck together isn’t such a bad way to end the season, or even the series, if it comes to that.

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.