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TV Review: True Detective: Season 2, Episode 7 (SPOILERS)

08.02.2015
100%

Season 2, Episode 7: Black Maps and Motel Rooms

SUMMARY:  With their operation having gone disasterously awry, Bezzerides (Rachel McAdams) and Velcoro (Colin Farrell) are now fugitives, while Woodrugh – in the clear – deals with a blackmailer. 

REVIEW:  Another week – another True Detective. With the season quickly drawing to any end, the predictable Twitter backlash against “how bad season two is” is in full-spew as I write this. Despite all this, I'm proud to be one of the few few critical voices of dissent who've found season two of True Detective to be – if undeniably inferior to the first season – quite solid on its own merits. Last week's installment, with the Brain De Palma-style denouement was the best yet, and this penultimate episode manages to nearly match it in terms of tension.

 

As the season's gone on, the two characters I've become most invested in has no doubt been Velcoro and Bezzerides and their undeniable chemistry comes to ahead this week when Ani, still high on molly, makes a pass at Ray, who turns it down on principle. The mutual respect the two share has been surprisingly affecting, with it being interesting in that the “bromance” shared between McConaughey and Harrelson in season one got turned into a literal (if conventional) romance for season two. This has been a long time coming, and while people might be peeved to see both of them go down such a traditional path its believable considering the extreme situation they've found themselves in – with both being hunted by the cops.

It's interesting that Ani's slaying of the bodyguard last week – done in self-defense – is leading to her downfall with her being sought for murder. More interesting still is that the girl Ani rescued turns out to have been a very willing participant in the Chessani Jr's prostitution/blackmail ring. In the end, Bezzerides and Velcoro both seem to realize the futility of their illegal operation – an interesting contrast to season one where Cohle and Hart's avenging was portrayed as ultra heroic.

Running an extra few minutes, this is a packed episode with tons of plot jammed-in to lead up to the next episode. One valid criticism is that considering how much exposition and plot is blown through here, maybe Pizzolatto could have paced the season out a little better by toning down on the tough guy posturing of Vaughn – who's really turning out to be a peripheral character (for all his screen-time) and sticking to the detective heroes.

Meanwhile, this episode turns out to have been the last for Taylor Kitsch as Woodrugh, who's betrayed by his mercenary lover, with his former black ops crew now being on the Vinci payroll. He gets to go out with a hell of an action scene as he shoots it out with his former crew, only to be eliminated by Vinci cop Burris. It's a satisfying end, although the whole aspect of him being closeted didn't really have the payoff I thought it might.

As for Vaughn's much-maligned Frank, I'll say this. Many have complained that this season was too reminiscent of a James Ellroy novel called The Big Nowhere. I've never read it. However, I have seen the movie The Long Good Friday and Frank's story-line seems heavily inspired by that, especially with him now planning a big strike against his betrayers. If this ends with him and his wife being killed just after they thought they've succeeded I might put a little more stock into some of the criticism of Pizzolatto – saying he borrows too liberally from other works.

At any rate, I'm still being consistently entertained by this season of True Detective and while people love to beat up on it (yet they keep tuning in – with the ratings being excellent) I'm still convinced that if this didn't have the name True Detective attached to it people would love it. I'm anxious to see how this all turns out next week.

Source: JoBlo.com

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11:11AM on 08/03/2015
"You're not a bad man"...."yes I am"
"You're not a bad man"...."yes I am"
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6:16AM on 08/03/2015
I don't understand why so many people are comparing this season to season one. We all knew McConaughey, and Harrelson weren't coming back, and the fact that this is a whole new set of characters and storyline should justify that to most people dismissing this season.

I've been enjoying this new season and think it's just as entertaining as it's predecessor. Can't wait to see the finale.
I don't understand why so many people are comparing this season to season one. We all knew McConaughey, and Harrelson weren't coming back, and the fact that this is a whole new set of characters and storyline should justify that to most people dismissing this season.

I've been enjoying this new season and think it's just as entertaining as it's predecessor. Can't wait to see the finale.
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5:44AM on 08/03/2015

The criticism is ridiculous...

People forget easy. They're sheep after all. Season 1 was a slow burn too. And Season 2 while different (of course it would be, new cast, new story, new location), FEELS like True Detective. People have put Season 1 on a pedestal (as they probably should), but are too uncompromising with comparing it to the new season. At least get through the whole season before you do shite like that.
People forget easy. They're sheep after all. Season 1 was a slow burn too. And Season 2 while different (of course it would be, new cast, new story, new location), FEELS like True Detective. People have put Season 1 on a pedestal (as they probably should), but are too uncompromising with comparing it to the new season. At least get through the whole season before you do shite like that.
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6:20AM on 08/03/2015
Ahhh we're sheep because we like a cohesive story. We're Sheep because we like even pacing. We're sheep because we like characters stories to actual go somewhere and matter. Example being Woodrough having like the 15 different story directions at once and going comepltely unresolved on almost all of them. Like I said in my post, you could take Kitsch's character, write him out, and you'd never impact the story in the slightest bit. Thats a sign of shitty writing. I'm not comparing it to the old
Ahhh we're sheep because we like a cohesive story. We're Sheep because we like even pacing. We're sheep because we like characters stories to actual go somewhere and matter. Example being Woodrough having like the 15 different story directions at once and going comepltely unresolved on almost all of them. Like I said in my post, you could take Kitsch's character, write him out, and you'd never impact the story in the slightest bit. Thats a sign of shitty writing. I'm not comparing it to the old season, I'm taking it on its own merits, and its own merits are flawed. One more episode isn't suddenly going to change the mediocrity that this has put forth this season. Is it downright terrible? No probably not. But what they have put on screen would be nothing more than mediocre, and people have the right to criticize mediocrity especially from HBO.
5:25AM on 08/03/2015
Haven't seen this episode yet, but even if every episode left was a 10 that would only make this season a 5 or 6 at best. Episode 6 was sooooo boring, seriously, why do we have to see every second of these cliched characters lives. I want to throw a brick through the tv each time I see that sniveling kid of Farells. If there is a season 3 they better get a story that has a better plot.
Haven't seen this episode yet, but even if every episode left was a 10 that would only make this season a 5 or 6 at best. Episode 6 was sooooo boring, seriously, why do we have to see every second of these cliched characters lives. I want to throw a brick through the tv each time I see that sniveling kid of Farells. If there is a season 3 they better get a story that has a better plot.
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4:21AM on 08/03/2015
I'll say this, out of all the episodes thus far, and the fact that this season has flat out sucked, this episode was solid. It was gripping start to almost finish. And yes as Halofett said, this really felt like I was watching a Mann movie. The sad thing is that I didn't even care about Kitsch's character biting it. It was entertaining during the shootout phase, but frankly his character had so many different angles with zero payoff to every single one of them, that I just don't care about him.
I'll say this, out of all the episodes thus far, and the fact that this season has flat out sucked, this episode was solid. It was gripping start to almost finish. And yes as Halofett said, this really felt like I was watching a Mann movie. The sad thing is that I didn't even care about Kitsch's character biting it. It was entertaining during the shootout phase, but frankly his character had so many different angles with zero payoff to every single one of them, that I just don't care about him. You could completely remove his character and the story would be completely unchanged. And that saddens me as I was really hoping this series would invigorate his career. Again though, Vaughn's character is my favorite and its nice to see him finally show some balls. Despite a good episode though, its too little too late. While some of the hate is undeserved simply because its not exactly like last season, most of it deserved because its uneven and "main" characters like Kitsch's are throwaway.
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2:30AM on 08/03/2015
This episode was the most Mann-ly out of all of them. Vince Vaughn's character arc is pretty much the same as James Caan's in THIEF. They're both named Frank, they both want to have kids the conventional way, but haven't been able to, they both end up ultimately under the rule of more powerful crime bosses and are face the fate of being wage slaves, and they both tell their wives to pack up and leave while they burn down all their front companies.
This episode was the most Mann-ly out of all of them. Vince Vaughn's character arc is pretty much the same as James Caan's in THIEF. They're both named Frank, they both want to have kids the conventional way, but haven't been able to, they both end up ultimately under the rule of more powerful crime bosses and are face the fate of being wage slaves, and they both tell their wives to pack up and leave while they burn down all their front companies.
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1:56AM on 08/03/2015
Couldn't agree more Bumbray! As I've said before, there is no matching season 1, but if this was constantly compared to the greatness that was season 1, a lot more people would see this for exactly what it is, some damn fine cable television! I'm hooked, my only complaint is that next week, it's already going to end. Finding out that next week is gonna be 90 minutes was a nice little bonus though! Can't wait to see how it ends!
Couldn't agree more Bumbray! As I've said before, there is no matching season 1, but if this was constantly compared to the greatness that was season 1, a lot more people would see this for exactly what it is, some damn fine cable television! I'm hooked, my only complaint is that next week, it's already going to end. Finding out that next week is gonna be 90 minutes was a nice little bonus though! Can't wait to see how it ends!
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