The third episode of “Lucky Hank” suggests that Hank has developed abandonment issues with which he is literally struggling. You can observe the stress he is going through, which is having an impact on his social and professional life. Susan Anderson, an American author who has written extensively on overcoming abandonment, states, “It isn’t fear of abandonment that sabotages our relationships; it’s how we handle it.” After having observed Hank’s behavior, you will conclude that he didn’t handle it well; the fear of abandonment had made him experience the fear of rejection too. Hank’s abandonment issues stemmed from his parents’ constant arguments and divorce and the fact that his father considered him to be a distraction in his literary career.
Apart from this, the episode discusses the effects of layoffs and a hiring freeze, parental expectations, indecision, self-obsession, betrayal, family obligations, and feelings of confinement to a place, person, or job. There is a lot to understand and derive from the way each of these characters reacts to the layoff announced to them: some sit and cry, imagining the worst; some drown themselves in alcohol, cursing the system; some try to prove their worth and importance to the company or the institution; and some start searching for new opportunities elsewhere. This episode is a good example to prove that in the face of a threat, human beings do not remain silent but react and act quickly.
Why Are All The Faculty At Railton College Upset?
When Hank is worried about the metal box that lies in front of his garage and also about his father, who is planning to come to stay with him, the dean of faculty, Rose, informs him he has to make a list of the faculty whose services need to be terminated due to a layoff and submit it by the end of the week. This adds to the distress that Hank is already going through. Rose also informs him not to disclose it to the faculty to avoid causing any concern. But the news or the rumors about the layoffs that are happening in other departments reaches the English department; therefore, when Hank enters his office, the faculty request a confirmation on the issue. Unable to hide it from them, Hank confirms that he is being requested to prepare a list and hand it over.
All of a sudden, when you are not certain about your job and whether you will continue to work or not, you get worried and upset. One starts to think of options to pursue further to settle one’s unsettled life. Each of the faculty members starts thinking of ways to make himself or herself stand out on the list that Hank will prepare. The inactive professors start getting involved in the activities of the college, trying to prove that they are valuable assets to the college. The pandemic in recent times gave us a glimpse of how such layoffs can drastically change and shatter people’s lives, especially those of the marginalized. The social exclusion that the marginalized have to endure already puts them through stress and depression, and losing one’s job can topple their world. Emma is a physically challenged faculty member who, although a no-nonsense professor, worries about losing her job.
A layoff also means that the institution’s heads have also decided upon a hiring freeze, which affects those who are unemployed. Especially Meg Quigley, who has been hounding Professor Hank to help her get a teaching job at Railton College. Hank advises her not to think about the job anymore, considering this development of events. He also gives Meg a negative image of the students studying at Railton College. The fact that the college was offering a mediocre education already meant that something serious was going wrong. The kind of education you offer by word-of-mouth travels to people around, and therefore there was bad publicity about the institution, and there were fewer development opportunities. A hiring freeze would probably restore financial stability for Railton College. It would also ensure efficiency and teamwork with the existing competent faculty members.
The faculty at Railton College are upset because they aren’t sure whether their comfortable lives will be disrupted. But Hank has still not decided about the list. The episode doesn’t tell us about his plans for making the list. He is busy worrying about his father and his father’s belongings that have arrived and are lying outside his garage. That doesn’t mean he is not observing the reaction of his faculty. He is observing it all, and perhaps he will decide accordingly.
‘Lucky Hank’ Episode 3: Ending Explained – What Pain Is Hank Going Through?
Hank is angry about his father, whom he feels has betrayed him and his mother. He cannot accept the fact that his father left him and his mother, walked away without saying a word, and never bothered to inquire about them after he left. He feels betrayed and cheated by the behavior of his father. And therefore, when his father tries to contact him and speak to him, he escapes, remaining silent and cutting the call. When Hank hears the voice of his father, he just freezes; he has not forgiven him, and his anger toward him continues to grow. He thinks to himself that when one abandons one’s children, one must sign a contract stating that one has released oneself from all family obligations. He is not willing to take responsibility for his father, who is now growing old, just like his father didn’t feel the obligation to take care of him when he was young. Hank still remembers the days when his parents would argue continuously. What still disturbs him are the words of his father, who expressed dissatisfaction about the presence of his mother and considered them distractions for him as a literary giant.
What made matters worse were the letters that he found written by his mother to his father. He reads them one by one and feels rejected. His mother had accepted and forgiven his father and therefore kept in contact with him all through. His father had sent his manuscripts to his mother, who read them and gave her opinion. And she read them all with great passion and expressed her love and appreciation for the works. Hank gets upset that his mother kept these things hidden from him. Feeling rejected, he starts projecting his feelings onto Julie, his daughter, and Meg, who works at the restaurant he visits. He is not able to accept the fact that his mother could do this to him. He becomes negative and dwells on the same issue, not wanting to move on from it. He loses perspective and is thus unable to concentrate on conversations, especially when Julie comes to tell him about her failed project. He wants to hide and escape the feeling he is experiencing, so he drinks a lot of alcohol with Meg.
He becomes indecisive and masks all the pain he is going through. He attempts to share all his anxieties and worries with his wife, Lily, but she, too, is going through problems of her own at work, which makes it impossible for her to give him positive advice. These feelings of abandonment and rejection make Hank seriously think about his life, and though he is a chair at Railton College, he feels infantilized. Nevertheless, through all these experiences that Hank is going through, he is learning to be a different and better person. He may not handle the issues as required, but they are making him a stronger person. “Lucky Hank” Episode 3 ends with a lot of questions unanswered, but let’s hope for the best in the next one.