By Ken Tucker
Updated December 01, 2010 at 12:00 PM EST
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Terriers wrapped up its first season on Wednesday night with a highly satisfying episode and an open-ended conclusion that did not feel like a cheat or a tease. While I’ve made clear my reservations about the series in a previous post, I thought the last three episodes of Terriers were excellent, and am solidly in the please-FX-renew-it camp.

What I appreciated most about the finale was that it really did wrap up the key plot. The secret plan to pave over Ocean Beach to build an airport was exposed, thanks in large part to Donal Logue’s Hank. This was Terriers plotting at its best, taking bits from movies ranging from Chinatown to Night Moves, as well as the California detective novels of Ross Macdonald, and making these influences work as the show’s own. Which is to say, Terriers achieved a nicely sardonic tone that knew the distinction between honest skepticism about the challenges life throws at you, and cheap cynicism. In this sense, you could say Terriers is one of the grungiest feel-good shows on TV, a very solid accomplishment.

The Britt half of the story was handled maturely as well. Michael Raymond-James’ character did what he should have done in the first place — forgive his gal Katie for her one-night stand and profess his love — and he accepted his two-year conviction for beating Gavin to a pulp with manned-up equanimity.

And how about that ending? It was terrific. Hank and Britt in their battered truck, rumbling along to drop Britt off for his stint in jail. Stopping for a red light, Hank poses not a theoretical, existential dilemma, but a real one: Go straight, and Britt goes to jail. Turn left, and they both head off to Mexico, where sober Hank promises to fall off the wagon and Britt will officially be on the lam. (The red-light/green-light, go-straight/go-left dilemma is also, of course, the producers’ nod to the fate of the series itself. The episode was, after all, titled “Hail Mary.”)

Supposing Terriers returns, what do you think Britt’s traffic-stop decision will be? And what did you think of the finale as a whole?

Twitter: @kentucker

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