Sunday, April 30, 2023

REVIEW: 'Lucky Hank' - Hank Grows Aimless Following His Confrontation With Henry in 'The Count of Monte Cristo'

AMC's Lucky Hank - Episode 1.07 "The Count of Monte Cristo"

Hank contends with the return of his father to Railton. Lily hunts for apartments in New York. Julie looks to Hank for help in Lily's absence.

"The Count of Monte Cristo" was written by Taylor Brogan and directed by Nicole Holofcener

Hank has been driven by resentment and anger his entire life. He believed channelling all of that into a confrontation with his father would result in a burden being lifted. Everything changed because of that interaction. It wasn't necessarily for the better. Henry couldn't say anything that would justify his behavior. He's not responsible for every horrifying thing Hank has ever done. Hank has certainly projected a lot of blame onto his father. And now, he believes he can't be cruel to him because he has dementia. Henry is an old man abused by the world. He carries a great deal of esteem wherever he goes. The professors at the English department hang on his every word. Hank has never had that kind of reverence for his father. In fact, he doesn't view anyone that way. That has stifled so many of his relationships. It makes him lacking whenever it comes to offering Julie advice. She has always gone to Lily for a reason. But now, Lily has essentially moved to New York. She's still looking at apartments. She's determining what she wants her life to be. In fact, she may even have a moment of clarity in declaring her desire for a divorce. It's a completely imaginary situation that is forced onto her. She plays into it because it provides catharsis. This is what she needs to express in order to truly grapple with what comes next. It's not some ploy by a realtor to sell her an apartment. It's true introspection. Her life may no longer need Hank. She can no longer go back and forth over whether it would be good to have people visit her in New York. That uncertainty was fine for a little while. It also leaves her stuck. Hank isn't in the right headspace to listen to his father when he talks about people losing themselves within a marriage. And yet, that applies perfectly to the evolution Hank and Lily have gone on. They have tried to make this relationship work. They move together mostly out of inertia. They have refused to acknowledge the problems. They deflected onto the issues of the people around them. Those appeared as more pressing. It was always obvious that Hank and Lily were simply on two different pages. Their actions speak louder than the words they speak. The world could be open to Hank now that Henry has made Railton his home. He could continue to ignore that relationship and allow something new to prosper. That's not the mentality he employs though. Instead, it's just straight up depression. He lacks purpose. He was driven for years by rage. Now, he feels bad giving himself that option. He's resentful towards an old man who can't care for himself. Of course, Hank is still capable of being manipulated by his mother. She is very controlling. Family members are hardly the only people Hank has hurt. With them, he has the luxury of making amends and stepping up when it's needed. Elsewhere, he doesn't always deserve that opportunity.

Julie is spinning out because Russell didn't come home and isn't responding to her messages. Hank tries to calm her by saying the simplest explanation is probably the truth. That doesn't work. Yes, Russell is purposefully avoiding Julie's messages. She was ultimately right to fear he was having an affair. In turn, that sends Hank spiraling further. It's not a depression where he just stays at home as the world decays around him because he can't put in the effort to focus on anything. He becomes an active part of the world. That doesn't inherently make his actions good or productive. He doesn't follow through on Tony's advice. Tony knows Hank can only handle small responsibilities right now. He needs to build up his confidence and identity once more. A project is given. It's not completed. Instead, Hank is sidetracked by seeing his father in distress. He pulls over and welcomes Henry into his world once more. Hank still carries resentment. He hates how people view his father. He can't stop them from behaving that way. They haven't been betrayed like he was. Moreover, Henry is willing to admit that he never intended to be a father. It's something that happened. He knew he wouldn't be good at it. Hank paid the cost for that in a lot of ways. Henry chose to leave the family instead of causing more pain. The psychological damage was already done. Hank sees the pattern with his father's behavior. He can't change his ways. He's stuck in a certain routine. He continually avoids giving Hank what he has always wanted to hear. As a result, Hank can't listen to anything that comes from his father. Henry's perspective is valuable. He's a complicated man. He destroyed his family. He ignored them for decades. And now, he relies on them once more. This is the only option available. Hank understands the pitfalls of the quest he embarks on. He knows the shortcomings it has produced in another tales. He sees those parallels and chooses to ignore them. He would rather chase the satisfaction of leaving his father behind so he can suffer. As such, he truly is no better than Henry. He abandons him in the store where he is confused about where he is. However, the pattern breaks because Hank comforts his daughter. It's better for him to simply make some tea and provide a shoulder to cry on. He recognizes that. That's a huge improvement. It may put him on the path to a more productive life. That doesn't mean everyone can wait around for that to hopefully come true. They can't lose themselves in his slow ability to make progress. That's not fair. Hank will always be stubborn even with the right intentions. So often, he projects his issues onto others when they don't need that feedback. Plenty of people operate like that. It's not always destructive. Hank's actions simply have the most far-reaching impact in this small world of Pennsylvania.