TV Review: True Detective: Season 2, Episode 2
Season 2, Episode 2: Night Finds You
SUMMARY: The investigation into Ben Caspar’s demise uncovers his more unsavory side. Meanwhile, Frank Semyon (Vince Vaughn) finds himself backed into a corner financially.
REVIEW: It’s unfortunate that last week’s episode was so coolly received as – while not quite in the same league as the first season – it was still pretty absorbing stuff and a promising start to a new season. Episode two picks up on that promise. By necessity, a lot of exposition was packed into that first hour, but now show runner/writer Nic Pizzolatto has gotten to the business at hand – namely uncovering the grisly details behind Caspar’s murder.
One thing that’s been immediately apparent about season two is that – compared to the first – it seems streamlined and simplified. While threads are exposed here that should lead into some pretty sordid territory, it seems unlikely that we’re going to be delving into any deep philosophical territory. This is perhaps fitting, and none of the protagonists this season are cut from the same Rust Cohle-cloth, but rather than being disappointing this is actually quite liberating as it gives this second season its own identity. Whatever it is, it can’t be said that season two isn’t distinctly different from the first.
While episode one clearly established the fact that all the main characters were “tortured” episode two makes them slightly more personable. It’s interesting that perhaps the most sympathetic guy is turning out to be Vaughn’s mobster, with the episode opening with him telling his wife (the absolutely amazing Kelly Reilly) a chilling story about his childhood when his gambler father left him unattended in a cellar for days where he was feasted on by rats. His desperation to remain financially solvent while maintaining an air of respectability will likely back him into a corner in a big way and it’ll be exciting to see what lengths he goes to in order to obtain his dream of legitimacy.
Colin Farrell’s Ray Velcoro seemed to be the most divisive guy last week, and while he’s certainly not softened here, it’s interesting how little effort he puts in to hiding his corruptibility when paired with Rachel McAdams’ Bezzerides. Rather than bristling at being made a secondary investigator, it’s interesting that Velcoro seems gung-ho to actually be a good partner to her, even admitting to her that he’s undependable and possibly corrupt.
The Farrell/McAdams relationship is likely as close as we’re going to get to Harrelson/McConaughey, with the two even having some signature “drive and talk” scenes, but the two seem almost immediately in tune with each other which is a departure. McAdams will likely emerge as the closest we’re going to get to a heroine with her being the one person here who actually seems devoted to solving the case. She also has a couple of great Pizzolatto-lines where she explains to Velcoro why she carries around a bunch of knives – nicely acknowledging the legitimate threat a slightly built woman such as her faces when going head-to-head with hulking perps.
Like last week, the character who’s the hardest to fathom is Taylor Kitsch’s patrolman – Woodrugh. Pressed into being an investigator, he’s a tough character to figure out but a huge clue is uncovered this week when he tells Farrell’s boozing partner (a scene-stealing W. Earl Brown) about a pass made at him by a bank employee and his extremely homophobic reaction. The knowing way Brown played his end of the scene is priceless and Kitsch’s homophobia mixed with his sexual dysfunction makes it seem like the character is closeted, adding an extra wrinkle to the part.
Hopefully, now that we’re further into the second season, viewers and fans will cut Pizzolatto some slack and start to accept the show on its own merits. Certainly, this was another good episode and I imagine that ending of this week’s installment will all but guarantee even the most pessimistic and critical viewers will be tuning in to ep three. At any rate season two is shaping up nicely and I can’t wait to see what surprises Pizzolatto has in store for us.