The second season finale of Hap and Leonard: Mucho Mojo (Wednesdays, 10/9C) wraps up the last loose ends of the season – who was BB and who killed him?
All of the details that have made this season so memorable – deeply unexpected circumstances; characters that are fully formed and relatable; that hint of the supernatural that feels natural when it really shouldn’t, and a final reveal that is both satisfying and completely logical – culminate in the what is a remarkable season of television.
Hap Collins (Jim Purefoy) and Leonard Pine (Michael Kenneth Williams) have come to the conclusion that whoever killed BB (Kendall Cloud); it wasn’t the Reverend Fitzgerald (Dohn Norwood).
Following a lead they get from BB’s mom, Miriam (Deja Dee), they find items that lead them to suspect Sheriff Valentine Otis (Brian Dennehy). Their plan? To confront him. Simple, elegant and surprising.
No Mo’ Mojo is an exceptional hour of television. Written by series creators Nick Damici and Jim Mickle, and directed by Tim Southam), opens with a memorial for the boys murdered by Fitzgerald; follows Hap and Leonard as they try to deal with their knowledge that BB wasn’t one of his victims, and ties up loose emotional loose ends – like the Hap/Florida (Tiffany Mack) relationship – before coming a final two scenes that prompt goosepimples (one in a good way; the other, not so much – setting up season three).
One of the reasons I enjoy Hap and Leonard so much is that every character has several facets – no one character, even the antagonists, is any one thing.
As we saw throughout the first five episodes, Fitzgerald was a caring, concerned provider of spiritual guidance; an athlete with a temper, and a serial killer with a unique motivation. When even the bad guys are three dimensional, it makes for compelling television.
Another thing I really like about Hap and Leonard is that the story is told at the appropriate pace. There’s no sense of having to rush to get every essential into the story, but it’s never so slow that it becomes boring.
Plus, Hap and Leonard are interesting and engaging protagonists – the friendship between a straight, white guy and a gay, black guy is certainly different, and in a time when prejudices against some were casual and blunt, it gives us a starting point that already produces problems. For the duo to get things done, they have to deal with a lot of crap before even getting started.
The supernatural element is also intriguing. The ghosts of the people murdered at the old Hope Church, BB and Uncle Chester (Harry G. Sanders) watch the proceedings with a solemn eye – and suggest that there is yet another level to the proceedings.
Plot-wise, the second season may be stronger than the excellent season one. You can’t tell the good guys from the bad guys without a scorecard (one you get past Hap and Leonard) – and it’s invariably surprising the roles that each major character (Hap and Leonard aside) eventually takes.
Even as bigotry towards gays and blacks is as upfront as sunrise in Hap and Leonard, the show’s writers treat every major character (with the possible exception of Beau Otis) with respect – if not dignity.
For an episode that could have been merely an epilogue to a pretty crazy serial killer thriller, No Mo’ Mojo is perhaps the best episode of the season because it contains a couple of killer surprises, some unexpected clues and Hap’s freshly painted old pickup truck.
Season one was so good that I’ve ordered the book. Season two doesn’t need to persuade me, but it certainly convinces me that it is one of the best hours of television available from any platform – in fact, it has (for me at least) supplanted Longmire as the best mystery/crime series on television.
Bring on season three!
Final Grade: A+