Monday, March 27, 2017

Hand of God: Powerful Second

I binge-watched Hand of God - second season - on Amazon the past few days.  The long and the short of it: I enjoyed the second season much more than the first, and am therefore really sorry there won't be a third season.

The story is about a tough "hanging" judge, who has more than a God complex.  He actually thinks he's receiving directions from above - or maybe he actually is - and all of this emerges as his family and then he get embroiled in a murder-of-a-cop case.

On one level, this is a top-notch police and whodunnit story, which was a little murky in the first season but became clear and riveting in the second season.   On another level, this is a story about what is really going on in the judge's head.

The second season features him undergoing a thorough mental evaluation via a cutting-edge specialist - who finds there's nothing physically wrong or different in the judge's brain.  This rules out all the possible sources of the judge's visions, such as Lewy body (which afflicted the Mayor in another wild series, Boss) and epilepsy.

And there's also this: the judge receives directions to where his wife is, when she's in deadly danger, twice.   How could he have known where she was?

So we're left with: Is he some kind of genius, who somehow figured out where he wife was, on no evidence that we saw (highly unlikely), or is God really speaking to him?

The acting is excellent - especially Ron Perlman as the judge, Dana Delany as his wife, and Garret Dillahunt as his loyal, religiously passionate accomplice, willing to whatever it takes to help the judge.   The dialogue is snappy - with even a shot at Fox News.  And the accoutrements, which revolve around privacy in the digital age, sharp and timely.

My recommendation: see both seasons, and don't let the slightly discombobulated first get in the way of your seeing the altogether excellent and philosophically provocative second.

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