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TV Review: True Detective Episode 2: Seeing Things (SPOILERS)

01.19.2014

Check back every week following Sunday night's airing of TRUE DETECTIVE for an episode rundown/ review. Here's this week's- but beware- SPOILERS ahead.

Episode summary: More of Cohle's (Matthew McConaughey) tragic past is revealed as his investigation with Hart (Woody Harrelson) heats up. The two pursue leads which take them from a backwoods bordello to a burned out church that may hold an important clue to the ritual killing of Dora Kelly Lange.

Review: Following its spectacular debut, episode two of TRUE DETECTIVE manages the impossible and all but outdoes its predecessor. The first installment was certainly a slow burn, but the ending blew the show wide open, and the second episode is paced like lightening. Having already been introduced to the central mystery, no time is wasted plunging us into Cohle and Hart's investigation, even if the focus this time tends to be more on their personal life.

Now, you'd think this might mean that this slows things down a bit but it does the exact opposite. The question on the tip of everyone's tongue following the pilot is how Cohle went from the conservatively dressed master detective from '95 to the drunk loser from 2012, and we get some important clues. The most important thing we learn is exactly how his young daughter died and how it led to the end of his marriage, which in turn led to him transferring to an undercover narcotics unit that turned him into a junkie and left him with permanent brain damage.

In the episode's weirdest scene, Cohle starts hallucinating while driving, explaining to Gilbourgh (Michael Potts) and Papania (Tory Kittles) that it's a result of neurological damage from all the drugs he consumed as a narco- which we're led to believe were extensive. However, Cohle, or rather “Taxman” also picked up some nifty skills, including a mastery at hand-to-hand combat that's teased during an argument with Hart, with whom his relationship is already starting to show some major cracks.

As for Hart, Harrelson's home life is shown to be in disarray, and if his on-screen wife Michelle Monaghan is still a relatively minor presence in the show, the ending of the episode suggests that's going to change soon. In a scene that was infamous long before the episode even aired, Alexandra Daddario has a red-hot sex scene with Harrelson, where she goes completely nude, showing off her incredible body. That said, I imagine her character has some deeper significance than merely to titillate audiences with some cable nudity (not that I'm complaining), which is suggested when Harrelson starts letting go a few too many aspects of the case while engaging in pillow talk.

On the case front, not much happens before the last scene, although an early trip to a backwoods “bunny ranch” shines some light on the desperation of victim Dora Kelly's existence, with Hart in particular moved by the plight of an underage prostitute, played by BANSHEE's Lili Simmons. As in last week's episode, the seediness of the Louisiana setting is not downplayed, with shots lingering on an over-the-hill prostitute's bruised-up legs, and more. This isn't TRUE BLOOD. In TRUE DETECTIVE, everything ain't sexy.

Overall, episode two of TRUE DETECTIVE is stunningly good, and if the show somehow manages to maintain this level of quality, we're no doubt watching a classic in the making. I'm so damn impressed with this show so far that I'm almost sorry that the Coehle and Rust saga will be over in just six more episodes.

Verdict: 9/10

Source: JoBlo.com

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