Based on Richard Russo’s ‘Straight Man,’ AMC’s drama series ‘Lucky Hank’ revolves around William Henry Devereaux, Jr., the head of Railton College’s English department. The first episode of the series, titled ‘Pilot,’ follows a crisis Hank faces at his workplace upon describing the institution as “mediocre.” His students and colleagues react unfavorably towards Hank, who thinks about opening a new chapter of his life elsewhere. His father William Henry Devereaux reaches out to him through the former’s secretary, infuriating the latter. The engrossing episode ends with developments that concern the professor’s future at Railton. If you are intrigued by the climax of the episode, let us share our thoughts regarding the same! SPOILERS AHEAD.
Lucky Hank Episode 1 Recap
‘Pilot’ begins with Hank conducting a class. A student named Bartow reads his short story and asks the professor’s opinion about the same. Hank tries to avoid giving his feedback by encouraging other students to offer theirs, only for Bartow to insist on hearing his professor’s thoughts. Hank reveals his opinion harshly, only to end up debating the quality of the story with its author. Bartow retaliates against the “attack” against his story by talking about Hank’s unsuccessful first novel. An enraged Hank proclaims that Bartow is a mediocre writer and student because the latter is studying at a mediocre institution such as Railton and he is no different since he is teaching at the place as well.
Hank’s words get published in the college newsletter, causing a stir in the college. His fellow professors, most prominently Gracie, confront him about the same the next day. Bartow meets Dean Rose with his parents, who demand an explanation. Rose tries to calm the parents of the student by saying that Hank hasn’t been well emotionally due to his ill health, which caused the outburst. He promises them to take action regarding the incident. Gracie meets Rose concerning “dechairing” Hank in the wake of his recent behavior. After a vote of no-confidence procedure, Hank gets removed from the position of the head of the department.
Hank’s wife Lily Devereaux, a high school vice-principal, tries to resolve a predicament involving a teacher and disobedient student named Calvin. She avoids his expulsion by finding a resolution to the issue, only for him to make her potentially reconsider her decision by breaking a window at the school. Hank’s daughter Julie meets her father and asks for financial help, specifically to help her boyfriend. Hank succeeds in avoiding her request by criticizing her partner.
Lucky Hank Episode 1 Ending: Will Hank Get Fired?
When Hank describes Railton College, along with the students and professors at the institution, as mediocre, the same group starts to question his commitment to his job. Bartow publishes an open letter demanding the professor’s departure from the institution and his classmates do not really think otherwise. His fellow professors, at least most of them, aren’t any different. Gracie tries to “dechair” him to make the possible firing process easier. Hank is outwardly confident that he doesn’t have anything to worry about because he is a tenured professor at the institution but he is aware that tenure cannot save him in every adverse circumstance.
In the wake of Bartow’s open call for Hank’s firing, his position at Railton College is indeed under threat. If the college board considers the open letter as a war cry, the members of the same may want the professor out of the institution at least for a while. However, it doesn’t mean that Hank will get fired. Hank has the support of Dean Rose, who tries his best to protect his professor regardless of the pressure Bartow’s parents exert on him. He may take advantage of Hank’s tenured appointment to convince the board that firing him may not be an easy affair.
It is unlikely that the board, which doesn’t even care about the institution’s operation enough to provide an adequate budget, would care about Hank’s words too much to insist on firing him. Removing Hank from the position of head of the English department is nothing but a stroke of genius from Gracie. She may have been able to take advantage of the no-confidence motion against Hank to likely support Bartow. However, she fails to think about replacing Hank with someone other than himself. Hank wins the election to the new department head with the votes of Billie, who votes for him as an act of protest against the war against him, and Finny, who votes for him thinking nobody else would.
Since Hank is the only professor who garners more than a vote, he becomes the department head again. He may present his re-election as a sign of his fellow professors’ confidence in him, likely in front of the board if the members consider firing him.
Why Doesn’t Hank Want to Move to New York City?
When Hank initially thinks that his future at Railton isn’t as safe as he thinks, he considers moving to New York City. He asks his wife Lily whether she will be able to earn a job at a school in New York City, to which she responds positively. Hank also thinks about working on his second novel, likely to return to the literary scene from oblivion as a writer. Lily reaches out to the school and garners favorable updates from an official. Hank changes his mind to move to New York City by then, offering Lily only silly excuses. He decides against moving to New York City to avoid meeting and taking care of his recently retired father William Henry Devereaux.
In addition to retirement, Devereaux separates from his third wife, which leads him to loneliness. With no one to take care of him in his twilight years, Devereaux reaches out to Hank through his secretary. The last thing Hank wants in his life is his father, with whom he hasn’t talked for fifteen years. Hank must have always lived under the shadow of Devereaux’s fame and reputation, which must have affected their relationship. Regardless of the reason behind their separation, the father and son haven’t been getting along well. Hank doesn’t even come to know about his father’s retirement or third marriage from the latter, who cannot even communicate with his son without the help of his secretary.
Hank doesn’t want to take care of such a person when he is confronting a midlife crisis. Thus, he decides against moving to New York City to avoid his father and his obligations as a son. He avoids reconnecting with Devereaux, at least for the sake of a formality, by crushing Lily’s dreams of living in New York City.