I’m not much of a “watcher” these days. I don’t really have the time to sit down and enjoy a movie or a TV series, although I’ll admit doing so has always been a favorite way to relax and shut off my brain. Of course, that’s part of my problem. As I’ve gotten older, my tastes in entertainment have changed considerably and I will rarely watch anything that can be enjoyed while my mind is shut off. I like stories, drama, complicated plots. You can’t just space out and watch those kinds of things. That kind of entertainment actually takes focus and commitment.
That being said, I actually got caught up on my work a few weeks ago and had some time to spare. I decided, after two years of being an Amazon Prime member, to see what sorts of shows and movies I could watch for free. After all, access to free videos is one of the great benefits of Prime membership (I’d previously only used it for free shipping since I buy damn near everything on Amazon.) So I loaded up the app and got started.
I began by marathon watching a few HBO dramas…always a guaranteed win with me. I blew through Newsroom, Deadwood (again), and Carnivale in a matter of days. Then I started to notice the ads for “Amazon Originals,” and one in particular caught my eye: Hand of God, a pretty catchy-looking drama starring Hellboy…uh, Ron Perlman.
The show captured my attention within two episodes (the first was kind of slow, but exposition does that.) There was a fairly compelling cast of characters, a ton of mystery, and a judge that may or may not have been hearing kill orders from God. Once the story gets rolling, you really have to stick around to see what’s going to happen next, who’s going to get killed or arrested, and how the whole thing is going to be explained.
Each episode stands on its own merit. I can’t think of a single installment that I sat through only to get to the next piece of the puzzle. It plays out like a true mystery, too, with legitimate clues and red herrings scattered throughout. One might even be able to figure out “whodunit” before the final episode if they were so inclined.
And “whodunit” is pretty much the through-line of the season. Judge Harris (Perlman) is our anti-hero, and he’s dealing with hallucinations/holy commands that arose after his son put a revolver in his own mouth and pulled the trigger. Harris’ son isn’t completely dead though, just in a coma, and the voices in Harris’ head are telling him that if he can bring justice to the people who brought him to attempt suicide, then his son would reawaken. Of course, the religious themes of the story should tell you that there will be plenty of “pull the plug” controversy added to the mix, as well as adding a ticking clock to Harris’ quest to find the responsible parties.
There’s only one complaint that comes to mind. The mayor is a good character, but the actor (Andre Royo) has a very noticeable and frustrating speech impediment. I don’t want to hassle the guy for something that’s beyond his control, but maybe the casting director should have thought twice about putting him in a key role. I’m not fond of having to punch the little “rewind 10 seconds” button multiple times an episode just so I can figure out what the character is saying. It takes me out of the story and it kind of kills the whole viewing experience, which is unfortunate because Royo plays the role well.
That being said, I highly recommend this show. It’s engaging, compelling, and even thought provoking at times. One of many reasons that I’m further appreciating my Amazon Prime membership.
All opinions are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Deck Ape...or anyone else. Arrr!