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TV Review: True Detective: Season 2: Episode 3 (SPOILERS)

07.05.2015

Season 2, Episode 3: Maybe Tomorrow

SUMMARY:  Frank (Vince Vaughn) finds himself drawn back into the violent underworld he left behind, while Paul (Taylor Kitsch) is confronted by some long-suppressed urges.

REVIEW: Hopefully, all of you who are reading this review have heeded my SPOILER warning in the headline and have waited until after seeing this week’s episode before reading this review. If not, you best turn back as we’re getting right into spoiler territory following last week’s cliffhanger that seemed to end in Ray Velcoro’s (Colin Farrell) death.

 

Suffice to say, Velcoro is not dead. Some low-impact buckshot knocked him out for a bit, sending him into a bizarre dream world complete with his father (Fred Ward) and a Conway Twitty-impersonator lip-synching to ‘The Rose’. A very strange scene, Velcoro’s father’s warning about playing in the trees (“they cut you to pieces”) and a seemingly fatal wound in his abdomen suggest that while he’s not quite in the ground yet, his days just might be numbered. In a nice touch, Velcoro spends the rest of the episode trying to extricate himself from the case, first demanding that Frank cut him loose and then telling his superiors that he’s “no Columbo” – all to no avail as he’s so dirty they can’t help but trust him to cover up their own misdeeds.  

Now being about a third of the way through the season, the different plot strands are starting to pull together. As suggested by the first two episodes, the mystery surrounding Ben Caspere is really just a MacGuffin, with the murder only really existing as an excuse to mix-together these tortured souls which each representing some kind of moral compromise. Vaughn’s Frank is a family man but happens to also be a violent mobster. Farrell’s Velcoro is a loving dad, but a corrupt cop. McAdams’ Bezzerides is honest but so cut-off emotionally that she has no allegiance to anyone but herself.

As for Kitsch’s Paul Woodrugh, up to now he’s been the most enigmatic but last week’s episode revealed a big piece of the puzzle when he had an extremely homophobic reaction to a bank clerk, arousing the suspicions of Velcoro’s soused Vinci partner Dixon (W. Earl Brown) who we see this week shadowing Woodrugh. While it was pretty obvious that Woodrugh’s homophobia was covering something up, this week that becomes explicit when it’s revealed he carried on an affair with a fellow black ops merc. His reaction, to almost pull a gun on the man when he tries to come on to him, shows a violent, almost psychopathic aversion to his sexuality and it seems that of all the characters he’s the one that might go the most violently off the deep end.

While the arguable focus of the last few episodes, we don’t learn too much more about McAdams’ Bezzerides. There is one scene involving her that really felt off, where her superior tries to get her to at least “pretend” to seduce Velcoro in order to get his confidence. To me this sums up Pizzolatto’s one real flaw as a storyteller –his lack of attention to peripheral characters in authority. This was a cartoonish scene that likely would have been left on the cutting room floor if a stronger director was helming the season rather than hired guns (with documentary director Janus Metz Pedersen doing this week’s).

 

Still, outside of this one boneheaded moment there’s a lot to love about this week’s episode. It’s a real treat to see Fred Ward joining the cast as Farrell’s dad, who both as a figure in Velcoro’s dreams as well as his more unseemly, racist true self later on. The ending, where Vaughn’s Frank is forced to prove to his subordinates that he hasn’t softened is the highlight, with him easily besting his hulking pimp opponent in a fight, and then using pliers to rip off the thug’s “grill”. It’s rare to see Vaughn play a tough guy, but it can’t be said that his 6’5 frame isn’t menacing here.

By this point, you’re either on-board or you’re not with the new season. While undoubtedly not as good as the first season, on its own merits this new season of True Detective is pretty damn good. Now that we’re a good chunk of the way into things it’ll be interesting to see how Pozzolatto pushes the envelope as the season goes on.

Source: JoBlo.com

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