Lucky Hank – Season 1 Episode 8 Recap, Review & Ending Explained

The Chopping Block

Episode 8 of Lucky Hank sees the central tension mount over who in the English department will be “chopped” and who will stay. There is also the question of Hank and Lily’s marriage, as well as Julie and Russell’s.

What does Hank try to do to prevent firing people in the English department?

As Dickie Pope proudly announces to the media his “Deal” with the legislature to cut the budget, we see the layoffs taking place. Many of the faculty, who have held the post for years, are rendered jobless. Hank, in a bid to dissuade Pope, goes to his office but he isn’t there.

Dennis, his assistant, points Hank in Pope’s direction in the cafeteria, where he touches raisins in a public buffet with the same hand he licks them with. Hank threatens to reveal Pope’s secret of siphoning funds from the faculty fund to pay for the shortfall in the “Jeffrey Q. Epstein” building. He even claims to have a letter from Epstein to this effect, but Pope is unmoved.

Hank reports for work on what is called the “Hatchet Day.” There is a searing nervous energy in the room. He writes all the names down on a piece of paper and sits in his chair, vexed. He first calls in Rachel, his assistant, and then Billy, his closest and oldest friend in the department, to ask for the three names. However, both of them reject doing “his dirty work.” Hank is suffering badly and he “does not know what to do” (now we know where Julie gets her personality trait from).

Hank decides to throw “one last Hail Mary” and arranges a secret meeting with Epstein. Toni is there too but Epstein believes Pope might have financed the shortfall of 10 million. It is routine in their business. Hank and Toni leave disappointed, inviting Epstein to Nora’s at 5 to buy them drinks. The friendless billionaire is happy to make new ones.

Do Julie and Russel get back together?

Russell shows up at Hank and Lily’s house to win Julie back. Her anger gets the better of her and she throws a wine bottle straight into the wall. It lodges there quite nicely and her shocked parents watch the entire act.

Russell camps outside the house on the porch until Julie takes him back. Lily slaps Russell when he says Julie will come back to him as “she does not know what she wants.” Lily leaves for NY and has an awkward moment with Hank, where he half-promises to visit her at the weekend. Julie is confused but Lily does not point her in a direction.

Julie and Russell are now alone on either side of the house. He once again tries to get her attention and to talk things out. It is then revealed that Julie also cheated on Russell twice before this. He confesses it is difficult bringing up issues to her as Julie gets “angry and judgmental” like Hank.

Lily Meets Catherine Keener – but what happens next?

Keener’s name first came up in episode 1 when Lily mentioned Hank making a move on her when Kener came into their conversation. Lily excitedly approaches and tells her about this habit of theirs. Keener is warm and nice, and they get to talking. Lily explains her situation with Hank and even Keener thinks it “might not work.”

Who does Hank choose to fire?

Gracie has sex with Dean Rose, who is leaving the job due to his hatred of Dickie Pope. He invites Gracie to come with him to Florida but Gracie defiantly says she “likes it here.”

The Department has banter among themselves when Hank reveals he is not going to give Pope names. It probably won’t save their jobs but at least they can be tension free for now. He takes them to Nora’s for drinks, where Meg clears the air with Hank – she doesn’t have feelings for Russell. But Hank is too hooked on the idea of Meg trying to hurt him to resolve anything.

Rose joins them at the bar. When Epstein arrives and consoles the professors, Rose tells them about the decision the Board took. Emma, Finny, and Billie are fired, while Toni is there too and invites everyone for a rager at his house.  There is an environment of sadness and melancholy. Epstein mentions Pope’s obsession with MIT and Rose adds that there is an open position at the top at MIT.

How does the English Department, with Epstein’s help, bring down Dickie Pope?

Of all things, Epstein takes offence to learning that it was Pope who inserted the “Q.” in the name of the building. In the episode where Jeffrey same his first appearance, he confides in Toni and Hank that he did not like the use of “Q.” in “Jeffrey Q. Epstein,” since it is not actually his middle name.

Pope used it to distinguish the name from the disgraced name of the billionaire child molester. Hank mocks Pope in his office before Pope learns that the Board of Trustees has called him into a physical meeting in the same building.

It is revealed that Pope violated “his fiduciary duty to the college” by cutting 25% workforce not to benefit the school but to prop himself up for the MIT job. Dennis, his assistant, proves to be the whistleblower by giving the press digital evidence of emails and call logs.

Pope is fired and the English Department – and all of Railton College – is saved! Julie is still unsure of what to do but calls out Hank’s neglect of his failing marriage.

Hank calls Lily and they tell each other about their respective days. But when they talk about “separation”, things get awkward and the realization dawns upon them, but they still choose to ignore it.

The next day at work, all the English professors search for Hank to celebrate. He is in his office but gestures to Rachel to tell them he isn’t there. In reality, he wants to celebrate his feeling of pride with his parents. Now, that is a surprise.

William and Laurel aren’t very excited by the news but Hank does not mind. William goes off on his harangue about the people at Columbia fact0-checking William’s claim of being in Selma in 1965. He lied, and they fired him. Hank sees a desperation and urge for validation in William’s teary eyes when Hank jokingly refers to William’s big attempts “to be invited to panels and conferences.” What else really is there to this profession? Hank furiously drives up to New York.

Hank hands in his resignation to Rose and thinks to himself, “I have everything.” He rings the bell. Lily looks through the peephole and is shocked and excited at the same time. This is certainly not another “false start” from Hank and he is truly making efforts to grow with Lily. Rose shreds Hank’s resignation and as Hank uses the toilet, which he hasn’t been able to do all episode, Lily sits there wondering what it means for their marriage.

The Episode Review

Hank peeing in the final moments shows how much of a burden the list was on his mind. But the bigger questions that need answers lie elsewhere. Why did Rose shred Hank’s resignation? The two share an amazing rapport, took down Pope together, and Rose wanted Hank to leave Railton. Does this mean Hank will have to stay at his job for the time being or something else entirely? It is unclear at the moment.

What is even more unclear is Julie and Russel’s future. From her reaction, in the end, it seems like she might get back with Russell. If she does, it will be a sign of her not growing past her naivety and immaturity. But what happened to Lily? Why did her emotions suddenly change?

She fell into deep thought when Hank was busy exclaiming about the wonderful toilets of NY. Was her mind made up for separation? Or is she afraid they will fall back into the same dull routine and this is another “false start?” No one knows yet but it is probably the latter.

Lucky Hank leaves us with a puzzling finale to season 1. We have more questions than answers that will eat us up from the inside. There was jubilation right near the end as the English department scored a sweet victory over Pope, all thanks to a billionaire’s frustration with the letter “q”. But the ending squarely belonged to Hank’s triumphant realization and closure over his father’s abandonment.

In the show’s peculiar style, that moment of clarity and relief was instantly followed by a sucker punch that brought us back to square one. Lily’s pensive and thoughtful face before the credits rolled tells a whole different story.

Props to Enos for pulling off the masterclass in acting in the final scene. Even though Hank redeemed himself in his own eyes, the viewers are left scratching their heads and waiting in nervous anticipation for season 2.

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