That was a pitch-perfect ending to a nearly perfect season of television.
The writers (this episode credited to Ted and Nicholas Griffin) weaved in a lot of the elements from earlier this season while adding one new one in the Big Bad.
Throughout the first half of the episode, Hank is saying goodbye to everyone he loves. In the pre-credit sequence, he tells Britt to clean up and go to his court appearance. Hank than says "Take care of yourself, partner." He visits his ex-wife and hands her his will. Unlike everyone else, he doesn't tell her to call him if she needs anything (following Jason's murder). Hank then visits Gustafson and fills him in on what he knows about the airport, the land grab, Jason's murder, and Laura's disappearance.
Hank is nearly ready to hop on Zeitlin's boat and shoot the bastard when Mark shows up. Laura posted a new article online about the airport and includes a veiled reference to Hank's sister. (Yay for Stephanie!) Hank goes to the home and finds Laura hiding out. He and Mark take Laura down to the police station to get her set up with protective custody, but Hank is placed under arrest. Turns out two thugs confessed to Jason's murder and said Hank hired them to do it. (oh shit!) Hank was seen stalking Jason, accusing him of being a child molester, and using his credit cards - all things he did throughout the season. Hank is allowed one visitor and he chooses his ex-wife. In a great scene, Gretchen says Hank is screwed up, but she knows he would never kill Jason and he should fight whoever is setting him up.
Great, great twist there. Never saw it coming, but all the pieces fit perfectly. Of course, Mark springs Hank and allows him to continue his investigation. They find out from the Zeitlin employee Britt seduced last week that Mickey Gosney's daughter was at a meeting with Zeitlin, Lindus, and their boss, and could identify the guy. Elanor Gosney tells them she doesn't know the guy's name, but he was an old drinking buddy of her father's and he had some blackmail material on the rich guy. He probably kept it in his old army jacket - which is in a box of Mickey's stuff at Hank's place.
Hank retrieves the stuff (killing Zeitlin's tan-suited lackey in self-defense) and our duo force Zeitlin to give up his boss - a man named Tom Ketchaw (Neal McDonough). How great is Neal McDonough? I've been a fan of his since his Emmy worthy appearance as DA David McNorris in the short-lived series Boomtown. He only has one scene, but he fits perfectly. In order to keep the blackmail stuff from going public, he agrees to stop the airport and feeds Zeitlin to the wolves.
We never find out what exactly Mickey Gosney had on Ketchaw. Sepinwall seems to think that it shows Ketchaw is a pedophile (could be considering an earlier photo of him surrounded by children). Others seem to think it could be a love child from a long ago Mexican fling. At one point, I thought it might be proof that Ketchaw could be involved in an accidental death south of the border. Whatever it was, it was powerful enough to stop his plans cold.
With all the other pieces of the puzzle now in place, we see a fuller picture of what's been going on. Mickey's murder (the event that started Hank's crusade) wasn't about the land grab. It was about preventing blackmail. Hank and Britt just happened to stumble upon a much larger mystery. Something that happens quite a bit in PI novels.
Hank is in a better place at the end. He avenged his friend's death and stopped the airport. He's healed the wounds between him and Gretchen. Britt has reconciled with Katie and has come to terms with going to prison. The episode ends like the series began, with Hank and Britt in the truck. While stopped at a long red light, Hank says he can go straight and take Britt to prison, or he can turn left and they take off to Mexico. They banter about the pros and cons and feel comfortable with each other again. The light turns green and Hank says "What do you say, partner? Which way will it be?" Fade out. The end.
I hope there's a second season. There are so many stories to tell with Hank and Britt and I know they'll be great considering the writers and actors involved. If the show gets canceled, I'll be sad, but I'll be OK with it. I'll buy the DVD and watch it again and again as a flawless 13 hour movie. To ask for more seems almost greedy.