Lucky Hank Season 1 Episode 2 Recap – Why does Hank decide to moderate?

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: March 28, 2023 (Last updated: March 18, 2024)
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Lucky Hank Season 1 Episode 2 Recap - Why does Hank decide to moderate?


With sharp writing and a very good lead performance from Bob Odenkirk, the second episode of Lucky Hank reveals itself to be a deft bit of drama.

This recap of Lucky Hank Season 1 Episode 2, “George Saunders”, contains spoilers.

I write for a living, so I’ve probably spent more time looking at a blank Word document and a blinking cursor than I have doing anything else. “George Saunders” opens like that, with Hank failing to put anything into words.

Lucky Hank Season 1 Episode 2 Recap

Snippets of flashbacks suggest he’s prone to procrastination. In his inactivity, he looks up an old YouTube video of himself and another novelist, the titular George Saunders, back in their heyday. Hank was slimmer and cooler and more confident then, talking about the distinction between form and content. When the interviewer asks how either of them got published, George quips that he slept with Hank’s father.

You can see the problem, even in the video. The implication is that Hank is a nepotism novelist.

Who is George Saunders?

As it happens, George, now a Booker Prize-winning writer and, according to TIME Magazine, one of the hundred most influential people in the world, is being paid $50,000 to visit Railton College. Hank doesn’t like the idea of sharing the stage with him, he claims because of budgetary reasons, but really because he’s worried he might say something “consistent with his personality” but “inconsistent with a modern college campus.”

This episode expands a little to incorporate a minor beef between other professors in the English faculty – a petty, worsening dispute over a parking spot – and a business idea from Hank and Lily’s daughter that they misinterpret as a pending pregnancy reveal. But it’s really about Hank’s own personal anxieties; about the origin and perpetuation of his writer’s block, and about his persistent self-sabotage.

Of course, Hank interprets everything George does as a personal affront. He thinks his attention towards his students is designed to highlight his own inadequacies as a teacher, and that celebrating his work is tantamount to dismissing his own.

Lucky Hank Season 1 Episode 2 Ending Explained

George makes multiple efforts to sincerely bond with Hank, but Hank considers them all disingenuous and insulting. The dramatic arc of the episode is about Hank coming to terms with the idea that George isn’t his enemy; that his compliments of his writing are genuine, and that his highlighting of Hank’s failings stems from him considering his stunted writing career as a waste of great talent.

Why does Hank decide to moderate?

Both Odenkirk and the show itself really turn it on towards the end of this episode, when Hank eventually agrees to moderate the discussion with George. He realizes that George is sincere in his appreciation of Hank’s work, genuinely disappointed that he hasn’t continued it, and that he’s actually best positioned to moderate the discussion.

The back half is a masterclass in gradually building towards an inevitable conclusion only to eventually subvert it. But it isn’t a big, showy subversion; instead, it’s a warm and hopeful turn that allows Hank to both finally relax and to also consider his own self and work in a new light.

You can stream Lucky Hank Season 1 Episode 2, “George Saunders” exclusively on AMC and AMC+

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