True Detective S02 E04: Down Will Come

CRAP! I had to go and waste a good “Game of Thrones” comparison way back in episode two of “True Detective,” didn’t I? For one stinking, surprising  killing of a major character (who didn’t even stay dead!) Now what am I going to do? I can’t use the same line!

Hell with it, I’m going there again. “True Detective” interrupts a perfectly serviceable, quiet episode with a “Game of Thrones”-ian style blood bath that left you unable to look away from the screen (or take notes for a recap), find out what I think (as if you don’t already know) after the break.

...all it needed was this guy swooping in from the valley and it would have been perfect...
All it needed was this guy swooping in from The Valley and it would have been perfect…


So, how about Paul waking up in that guys apartment? That was exciting right? It had me looking up “Put out some fires” in the urban dictionary to see if that was some hip slang I was too old to understand. Apparently, urban dictionary is too old as well, because their definition didn’t really fit the context.

One week after I said I hate this story arc, I find myself growing to like it, both because of it’s realism (how many young men find themselves in the same position, denying who they are because it doesn’t fit their image of a strong man?), as well as how it parallels Paul’s other background story: the atrocities that may have occurred in the Middle East.  This is one dude with a lot of plates in the air (add an impending wife and child to the mix), and what I took originally for stereotype is really gelling into a complete character.

Excellent choice to have Paul reach out to Ray to pick him up, as opposed to Ani. While they’re all broken souls, Ray has fallen much further down the ladder (and is working his way up), and was less likely to judge. Their scene in the car, as Paul laments that even when you do what your told, it turns out bad was great, both for establishing who his character is (always trying to be the good soldier) as well as some great foreshadowing for what may have occurred in the desert.

... before we get married, I have a few things to share...
Before we get married, I have a few things to share…


This is my week for recanting recaps, and way back in week one I disparaged bringing in Ani’s sister and father as having no purpose. That was dumb. Of course there was a purpose, because now it looks like the Casper and Vinci mess, including creepy Doctor Jesse’s Girl (yes, that’s Rick Springfield hiding behind the indoor shades back in episode two might be tied into Daddy Bezzerides’ hippy commune. David Morse was great as always. Loved they way he straight-faced looked at Ray to talk about his aura.

This episode just clicked on so many levels, maybe none more so than the transition between Ray telling Ani to watch her back, to Ani finding out she’s got an HR complaint against her. Just a nice way to flesh out her backstory, her involvement with other cops, and the hypocrisy women face when it comes to being sexual adventurous. Her CO was correct, if a woman filed these charges against a man in a senior position, there still would be an investigation. But would his past sexual experiences be thrown out there as well. Just a great level of realism, and Rachel McAdams did a great job, showing the rage, disgust, and the fear that things were slipping through her fingers.

...alright, our investigation already blew up a 'bout a building next...
All right, our investigation already blew up a car… how ’bout a building next?


Yes, Jordyn now gets on the main character list. I’m so glad the showrunners heard my complaint about the Frank’s washrag wife last week, and I’m really impressed they could get the fixes into episode so quickly. I never realized I had that much pull.

But seriously, Kelly Reilly was amazing, and the dynamic between her and Vince Vaughn is electric. Here is a woman realizing what is needed, and taking charge. Maybe making some missteps. Her producer friend probably wasn’t the best choice to get involved, but owning those decisions and reminding Frank that he’s not the only one with his balls on the line.

...or whatever parts ladies put on the line...
…or whatever parts ladies put on the line…


It looks like Frank Semyon doesn’t go half-way and he’s heading towards resurgent criminal empire or bust. Another week one recant on my part, when I described him as a mobster trying to go straight, I was wrong. It looks like he had already gone straight(ish), and now needs to get back into the dark alleys. And here is another part where it’s starting to come together.  I had not liked Frank’s apparent discomfort (and ineffectiveness) at playing the thug role in the first two episodes, but now it makes sense.  Frank had  gotten out of the game. And coming back in was like putting on an old pair of shoes. He had to stretch them out a bit, get used to the wear, but now they’re fully on his feet and ready to kick ass. Looking forward to seeing where that gets him.

...I suppose I could go into dentistry if this falls through...
I suppose I could go into dentistry if this falls through…


Whether he was providing a sounding board for Paul, giving Ani advice, listening to offers from Frank, or simply nodding meaningfully to his corrupt senior officers before the big shootout, Ray seemed to be everywhere this episode. I’m looking forward to hearing some behind the scenes interviews at the end of the season, because Colin Farrell seems more than willing to let his co-stars shine, to play off him and make each scene better. He was remarkable here, and once again in a cast that’s really gelling, he’s been the transcendent player here.

...thanks, it was really my work in Daredevil that put me over the top....
Thanks, it was really my work in Daredevil that put me over the top….

Misc Stuff

OK, what was that aforementioned meaningful nod about? I assumed that it meant Amarilla had to die and Ray would make sure that happened, but was the whole shoot-out planned? The bad guys were just too prepared for it not to be, which I guess means Ray was as expendable as anyone on the street.

Did anyone think that maybe the carnage was too much? We’re looking at maybe six dead cops, a dozen dead bystanders (all on camera), a blown up building, and a shot-up bus. I know they had to make it bad to make things tougher on our little crew to figure things out, but the level of outrage that would generate in the real world is enormous.  There would be Federal inquires, too much press to get anything done… I can’t imagine this would be the route the season takes for the final four episodes.

How touching was the scene between Ray and his son? The boys confusion, Ray’s apparent acceptance that maybe he can’t be part of his life, even Ray’s Batman-like disappearance into the shadows. Just a great scene all around.

This was really Taylor Kitsch’s episode to shine, and I think he really delivered in several scenes. The look of anguish and confusion when he woke up in the apartment, the single tear as he pulled away in the cab, the forced, desperate air of happiness when he found out about Emily’s pregnancy and he decided this was his chance at a ‘normal’ life. All capped by the gunfight at the end, maybe the first time he seemed happy, because he was in the middle of the mayhem and the only joy he gets is when the adrenaline races and his life is on the line.

Believe it or not, this was the halfway point of a very short season. What will the second – half bring? Will Casper’s murder really be closed? Will Frank be able to recapture his power and wealth? Will Ray’s pornstache survive?

..oh please say yes!
…oh please say yes!

I guess we’ll find out starting next week, with “Other Lives.”


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