Why ‘Your Honor’ should end with its Season 2 finale

Why ‘Your Honor’ should end with its Season 2 finale

“Your Honor” wrapped its second season Sunday night, leaving the door ajar for Season 3 — and I have mixed feelings about that.

On the one hand, I want to see more of the labyrinthian drama starring Bryan Cranston, Michael Stuhlbarg, Hope Davis, Andrene Ward-Hammond and Isiah Whitlock Jr., originally slated for a one-season run unlike its predecessor, “Kvodo” (“His Honor”), which ran for two seasons (and 22 episodes) on Israeli television from 2017 to 2019.

Plan A changed after “Your Honor” set Showtime viewership records upon its December 2020 premiere, triggering a no-brainer second season, though it was hard to fathom where the series could go after the finality of Eugene Jones (Benjamin Flores Jr.) — seeking vengeance against Carlo Baxter (Jimi Stanton) for killing his older brother, Kofi, in prison — missing his target and shooting Adam Desiato (Hunter Doohan), who died in his father Michael’s arms.

That wrapped the Shakespearean storyline in poetic fashion, with Adam’s death karmic payback for accidentally killing Rocco Baxter, the son of New Orleans mobster Jimmy Baxter (Stuhlbarg) — setting into motion the resulting disastrous coverup orchestrated by Judge Michael Desiato (Cranston) … and its tragic conclusion.

Benjamin Flores Jr. and Carmen Ejogo as Eugene Jones and his lawyer, Lee Delamere. They're in a courtroom and are looking away from the camera. There's an American flag and the judge's bench behind them.
Eugene Jones (Benjamin Flores Jr.) in court with his trusted lawyer, Lee Delamere (Carmen Ejogo), in the Season 2 finale.Andrew Cooper/SHOWTIME
Jimmy Baxter (Michael Stuhlbarg) and his daughter, Fia (Lilly Kay) watch the trial of Eugene Jones.
Jimmy Baxter (Michael Stuhlbarg) and his daughter, Fia (Lilly Kay) in the courtroom watching the trial of Eugene Jones.Andrew Cooper/SHOWTIME

Season 2 returned in January, and my trepidation was quickly quelled as the narrative arc branched in many directions a year after the events of Season 1.

Disgraced/disbarred Michael Desiato is sprung from prison by US Attorney Olivia Delmont (Rosie Perez) to infiltrate/take down the Baxters’ criminal enterprise, discovering he’s now a grandfather via Adam’s relationship with Fia Baxter (Lilli Kay) — Jimmy’s daughter.

Eugene escapes to Houston with the help of Little Mo (Keith Machekanyanga) and eventually returns to face the music; Jimmy and his vengeful wife, Gina (Davis), the daughter of old-school mobster Carlo Conti (Mark Margolis), hit the skids; Fia abandons her family and moves in, baby in tow, with Michael; drug lord Big Mo (Ward-Hammond) buys a club directly across the street from The Baxter House and experiences strife both personal and professional; and Michael’s best friend, Mayor Charlie Figaro (Whitlock Jr.), is pulled deeper into the original cover-up vis-à-vis surprising revelations.

“Your Honor” might have — and perhaps should have — ended its run with Sunday night’s finale, which included, among other didn’t-see-it-coming twists: Eugene vindicated and placed into the Witness Protection Program; Michael returning to prison; Big Mo selling her club to Gina Baxter and striking an uneasy alliance; and Fia, after all the soul-crushing lies she’s been fed, giving Rocco up for adoption (via her church) and fleeing New Orleans for parts unknown.

That tied up many loose ends … and here’s the “but” … the episode’s penultimate scene, more than any other plot twist, signaled there could be more “Your Honor” in our future.

The camera cuts to Jimmy, previously gunned down by Carlo Conti in the hallway of The Baxter House (a hit deviously arranged by Gina), lying on a hospital bed with a breathing tube down his throat.

Then his eyes suddenly open. He lives, somewhat unbelievably, considering the pools of blood surrounding him after he was shot.

Disgraced ex-judge Michael Desiato (Bryan Cranston) testifies in the Eugene Jones trial in the Season 2 finale of
Disgraced ex-judge Michael Desiato (Bryan Cranston) testifies in the Eugene Jones trial in the Season 2 finale of “Your Honor.”Andrew Cooper/SHOWTIME

That opens a pandora’s box of narrative possibilities should Showtime renew the series although, in the run-up to Season 2, Cranston told Dax Shepherd on his “Armchair Expert” podcast that he was “preparing for the second and last season of ‘Your Honor.'”

That may be true, but the world of television is rife with spinoffs, including “Better Call Saul” from Cranston’s “Breaking Bad.” So who knows? Perhaps we’ll see a season devoted to the Baxter clan as Jimmy, out for revenge, squares off against Gina as their son, Carlo, chooses sides and Fia returns to New Orleans. Or not.

Suffice it to say that “Your Honor,” finished on a high note and checked all the boxes — and it’s always best to bow out on top.