Hap and Leonard season 2 episode 3 review: Leonard lets it burn

Hap and Leonard season 2 episode 3 reviewEarly on during Hap and Leonard season 2 episode 3, Florida issues a warning to Hap Collins: “Don’t do anything stupid.” It’s a warning that makes sense, but probably a warning that Florida knows that Hap and his longtime friend are not going to keep.

After all, by the end of this episode we had Leonard playing with fire to take out the drug-infused poison within his neighborhood, even in spite of the fact that such an act won’t be heavily favorable in the eyes of the law. This is a guy awaiting trial, and a guy who already knows that due to racism and potentially even convenience, he’ll probably be handled a guilty verdict if nothing changes. He’s just thinking of a world bigger than himself, of a dynamic that won’t change and a kid in Ivan whose health and safety is often compromised. It’s harder to raise any kid right in the midst of such a specter.

Granted, it may be rather hard to figure out a way for Leonard to parent at all behind bars.

For Florida, much of her goal for the episode was getting the evidence necessary to show that Leonard was not some accomplice responsible for killing children. Losing a key witness at the cliffhanger of the last episode didn’t help matters. The same goes for what we saw with Judge Otis. She wanted him to recuse himself, knowing full well his history with Hap and Leonard and the obvious bias that was there. He refused. Later, Hap roughed him up, threatened him, and continued to exercise whatever freedom from the law he had given that he had so much leverage on the judge. He knows that his commentary could sink his election campaign, and this is precisely how we got here. You can argue that Hap’s actions are ones of desperation and frustration over a lack of confidence in the case as-is, but there’s also this latest fear of losing his friend that’s driving him. He’s balancing that and the fear of having his father’s killer in plain sight, allowed this flood of oppressed feelings to come out.

Maybe this violent confrontation was a form of relief for Hap, given that he’s started to find a place for himself as an investigator. He sees a use, and he’s growing in confidence. As he and Florida slept together at the end of the episode, Leonard was letting it all burn. Maybe this case, the stress, and their shared trauma are allowing their true selves to shine through. They are not the guys with the simple job you saw in the show’s pilot — they are movers, shakers, and lightning rods waiting to shine. Even though they didn’t share a ton of screen time in the episode, you could still feel the extent of their love and respect for each other.

While there may not have been one watershed emotional moment within “Holy Mojo” for us, this was a consistently compelling, smart, and validating character hour. It justified the eight episodes that aired before, and it set the stage for a deeper investigation as we see if Leonard can somehow find the vindication he needs. Grade: A-.

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