Mark Watches ‘Terriers’: Episode 4 – Fustercluck

In the fourth episode of Terriers, THIS SHOW HAS TRANSFORMED SO MUCH IN JUST FOUR EPISODES. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Terriers. 

Trigger Warning: For mental illness.

So, this show is something. Look, I didn’t go into Terriers – even after the last episode! – expected one big serialized narrative. Nor did I expect dangerous heists or murder conspiracies or THE ENTIRE LAST TEN MINUTES OF THIS EPISODE. Just… what?? ? WHAT IS THIS SHOW? It’s not what I thought it was, and goddamn, that is so exciting.


SO. SO THAT’S WHO IS LIVING IN HANK’S ATTIC. “Fustercluck” doesn’t give us a whole lot of details about Hank’s sister, though what we do learn of her is from dialogue clues. She graduated from MIT, she was hospitalized for her mental illness at some point, and then, a month or so prior to the events of this episode, she checked herself out and began to hide in Hank’s place. (Both of them, I should add.) The bulk of this episode follows Hank and Britt, though, so I’m hoping that Steph is developed beyond being a plot twist. I admit that it was nice seeing Hank’s affectionate side come out once Steph was caught; it’s clear he adores her a lot.

But what’s her story? What role will she play in the unfolding saga of this show? Is she more than just the mentally ill character?


I had assumed that Terriers would, more or less, follow a case-of-the-week format with some overarching storylines here and there. Technically, that’s not far from what we’re getting, since there IS a singular case here. It’s just that it started out as a wacky joke: Lindus wanted Hank and Britt to steal a quarter million dollars. FROM HIMSELF. It’s the kind of bizarre twist on the genre that I’d already come to expect from Terriers, and that’s why I thought this would largely be a funny episode.

Yet the writers find a way to raise the stakes consistently and believably, and I’m still in awe of how the show has become about a much bigger mystery than I anticipated. Lindus is not a “good” guy by any means, but we’re meant to assume that he’s such a scumbag that everything out of his mouth is a lie. That’s reasonable! So when he claimed that he did not kill Mickey and that he was part of some vast “conspiracy” regarding his hotel development project, I just wrote him off.

The script then slowly confirms practically everything that Lindus said: that there’s some sort of shadowy organization determined to keep the development going. That Mickey saw something so dangerous that he was killed off. That literally nothing that’s happened since this show started has been a coincidence at all. Now, the writers do balance humor, suspense, and a dark edge to the story, and I appreciate that. It’s not that “Fustercluck” is funny for the opening scene and then jarringly turns into something else. The heist itself is pretty amusing, at least until it becomes SUPER UNNERVING AND SCARY. Hell, even the Lindus chase sequence is funny in a way, at least in the sense that Hank and Britt really aren’t that good at their jobs.

In that sense, I admire that Terriers is not about experts. Oh, Hank and Britt are good at being unassuming, and they each have their own skills that they bring to the job. But they’re such deeply flawed people. Hank often can’t concentrate when his concentration is what Britt needs. (Actually, we’ve seen a pattern of Hank thinking purely of himself right when Britt needs him most, too.) And while we understand the desire they have to learn what those development papers were, they’re kind of responsible for Lindus’s death, aren’t they? They don’t take him to the hospital, they abandon him in the bathroom when he’s clearly slipping into unconsciousness, and they barely escape Mark’s suspicion. In essence, they fly by the seat of their pants constantly. It’s like the only mode they thrive in, you know?

My god, this is a huge disaster. There’s a dead body in Hank’s bathtub! OF THE GUY THEY KIDNAPPED IN FRONT OF HIS WIFE. How the hell are they going to get out of this???

The video for “Fustercluck” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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