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Review: ‘Hap and Leonard’ Season 2 Was ‘Mucho Messy’

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‘Hap and Leonard’ was a very wild wide this season. I wrote a review for the first episode titled Mucho Let Down. Then after the 2nd episode I thought it was ‘mucho redeemed’ episode 3 came out and I thought it was once more ‘mucho disappointed’. This pattern went on and on throughout the entire season. It had an almost equal amount good points and bad points leading to a particular unremarkable and messy season. I think it was a ‘mucho messy’ season which wasn’t nearly the thriller of season 1. It was uneven. Ironically the season catch phrase was ‘The Good the Bad and the Mojo.’

Hap and Leonard

First the good. The format remains the same. Hap and Leonard are once more two men caught up a dangerous conspiracy that they’re involved in more by fate than by chance. As with season 1 it’s a conspiracy with social and political implications for today despite the show’s 80s time frame. Season 1 dealt with the dark side of activism and how people can go too far into fanaticism. Now season 2 deals with race relations and the police. Hap and Leonard’s involvement doesn’t stretch credibility and their drawn into a hopeless terrifying situation.

The villains remain scary. Drug dealers Solider and Angel with they’re over the top psychotic personalities were a big drawn for me as the series villains last season and toping that this season was clearly a very tough obstacle. The writers chose not to give us villains meant to outdo our previous set and instead we’re watching the shadowy serial killer whose not seen for the majority of the season, Reverend Fitzgerald. he is the opposite, he’s almost ever present as an evil without the flashiness. When he’s reveled it’s a surprise and for about ten minutes we get a stellar performance of cold religious fanaticism.

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Now the bad. Brian Dennehy being brought in as Sheriff Valentine sounds great on paper, but he wasn’t used to his optimal effect by the show. Valentine was referenced in season 1 and finally seeing him should be great. Dennehy is a masterful bad guy and even in his old age should be wonderful as an equally omnipresent villain, but his screen time was too minimal. There wasn’t time  for us to see him being the threat that we know the actor can be. Valentine as a character was also a strange choice. We knew his son killed Hap and Leonard’s fathers so his presence has a lot of emotional impact on the characters that seemed supercilious to the plot. A different bad sheriff would have been just as good.

Brain Dennehy

There was actually a lot of things that seemed superfluous. Hap’s newest ill-fated romance was also strange and seemed out of place. Episode 1 had an entire plot about how he wasn’t over Trudy and implied that he wouldn’t be for awhile only for Hap and Florida to get together two episodes later. Leonard’s foray into surrogate fatherhood is likewise written in a manner that makes the viewer wonder if they could have archived the effect on the plot in a more concise way. Both of these plots were simply handled badly if they were meant to be important.

Basically, this season was a disaster in terms of cohesive story telling. There were a lot of good parts and a lot of bad parts. That said if since they renewed I’ll be watching again next season, or at least I’ll try to.

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Conlan Murphy
A semi-existant Scotts-American weeb and sci-fi fanboy living in Kansas, I’m capable of both random and complicated thoughts about the world and it’s people, mostly uselessly random. Hoping to provide an interesting progressive perspective. An avid rare pair shipper and Shinji Ikari Defense Squad commando in training.

1 COMMENT

  1. This story was actually quite cohesive including the Florida, Hap semi romance. Trying to find the serial killer aside, this season also touched quite heavily on race relations. I won’t patronise by stating the obvious scenes with the police, Leonard etc. but the Florida, Hap non-romance was a more subtle way of addressing cultural divides still relevant today when she admits she can’t be with him because he’s white. Ivan living with Leonard touched on family dysfunction and the trouble young people find themselves in when parents are not in the picture. You can also see that Leonard’s character is evolving as a result of his time with Ivan. Sometimes one just needs to pay closer attention when watching well written shows that are made to entertain as well as make you think; in this case about race relations from several different characters/angles. Therein lies the importance of said scenes as well as the fact that these sub-plots serve as a setup to next season. Perhaps you should watch the season again with a renewed perspective.

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