This is my first foray into daily AV Club reviews for a streaming series. This…this is not a good series. But the challenge is prodigious, and there are, as ever, some fringe benefits, mainly in this case from the stellar cast. Andre Royo, Alona Tal, Emayatzy Corinealdi, Bill Cobbs, and especially Garret Dillahunt, who is as good here as he’s ever been. (There’s a scene in the fourth episode that is as good as anything I’ve seen on TV all year.) Oh, and Ron Perlman is the star and is as vivid as ever, even as he’s stranded playing an unplayable character.
Anyway, I won’t trouble you with links to every episode individually—no one needs that. But check them out here at the Hand Of God landing page. (That’s inside baseball talk. It might also not be a thing.) Here’s a bit from that episode four review about Dillahunt. If this were a better show, he’d win an Emmy.
It beautifully (sorry about this) lays the groundwork for the episode’s big reveal, when Pernell uses the fact of K.D.’s relocation (without telling his parole officer) to send him back to jail in order to get access to Jacob Vargas’ Julio, jailed for Shane Caldwell’s murder. (It also gets Pernell off the hook with the lawyer reporting him for misconduct). Dillahunt imbues K.D.’s zealotry with a terrifying implacability that coexists with a heartbreaking desire for approval and acceptance. His speech in court is stunning, layered with his pain and confusion at Pernell’s betrayal, his still-fervent belief that the judge speaks for the Lord, and his desire to hold on to this one, tiny good thing he’s brought into his life.
“But, wait, hold on. I guess I thought I would never go back there, but if you say I made a mistake and have to go back there, I’m willing. But could we wait, just a couple weeks. I got grass growing in. I killed all the weeds. I prepared the ground. The seeds are laid down but they need water. If you send me back now all that grass is gonna die. Yeah…I get it. To most people this doesn’t make sense, but it makes sense to me. This grass matters to me. So if I could have just a little more time your honor. Just a little more time to water it. Please.”
Dillahunt’s clenched cadence as K.D. emerges through the ex-con’s tangle of madness so that it’s always punctuated with strangled pauses and strange emphases, and practically every word of this speech crackles with meaning. Hand Of God’s been disappointing, but this is one of the best scenes I’ve seen on television all year.
Fun fact: writing ten daily episodes of a bad TV show is challenging and, unsurprisingly, sort of exhausting.