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TV Review: True Detective: Season 2: Episode 4

Season 2, Episode 4: Down Will Come

SUMMARY:  As Velcoro (Colin Farrell), Bezzerides (Rachel McAdams) and Woodrugh (Taylor Kitsch) start to make headway on the Caspere murder, the push back from the Vinci bureaucracy starts to intensify to the point that it may not only cost them their careers, but their lives too. 

REVIEW:  Ooooh Nic Pizzolatto, you almost fooled me. I'll admit, I was nervous when – after the first three episodes of the season – screeners for the next couple of installments weren't forthcoming. Could it be that True Detective was going to go off the rails and prove the naysayers right?

The fact is, for a good chunk of the episode, it looked like that was exactly what was going to happen. Some of the scenes just felt a little off. As I didn't benefit from an advance copy this week, I had over a few friends to watch it with me. Two of them agreed with me early on, that this was  feeling a bit like a filler episode, neither good not bad. Another one of them, probably the most passionate True Detective fan of us all, started to lose it, saying that the show had finally gone off the rails with some of the early scenes  admittedly failing to impress any of us, such as Ani and Ray's visit to a medical marijuana office that felt cartoonish (I doubt people just sit around in there smoking huge bongs all the time – most of these places are actually businesslike). Ditto the stuff with Ani and her sister, or some of the tough-guy Vince Vaughn scenes, where it felt like he was going beyond simply being desperate but almost ridiculous in his villainy. It wasn't all bad though. An early scene where Velcoro gave Woodrugh a ride after the latter got drunk and had a fling (with his former merc lover) hit all the right notes, with Velcoro becoming more and more interesting as the weeks go on. Still, it all felt...minor.

However, about midway through this episode started to pull it together – big time. First we got to see McAdams do some of the best acting of the season as her back got put up against the wall, with the Vinci mayor likely helping organize a sexual harassment case against her (by her vengeful deputy fling) that could have dire consequences to her career. Then, we got to see Woodrugh put in a corner of his own when he found out his girlfriend is pregnant and “doesn't believe in abortion” - giving him the out he seems to have been looking for as he still can't accept his homosexuality. The next bit, with Farrell and his kid bordered on being beautiful and even my buddy – who ten minutes earlier was trying to get us to switch over to Ray Donovan – was back in.

 

All of that though was just a prelude to the last ten minutes, where the show erupted into a huge firefight between the cops and some thugs they were put onto – walking right into a deadly trap that took out all of the cops they were working with. While it's maybe a little convenient that only our three heroes survived, the scene itself was brilliantly executed by HBO vet Jeremy Podeswa, with it being a feature-level action setpiece, with collateral damage that turned L.A into a war zone. It just got crazier and crazier, with the baddies spraying random people with bullets and Farrell's ex-partner (W.Earl Brown) getting his head blown almost clean-off in the crossfire. It was amazing, and so brilliantly acted by Farrell, McAdams and Kitsch, who didn't play it in action hero mode, but kept reality in check as they all appeared terrified, with Farrell memorably breaking down into tears once it was over having come so close to dying for a second time and seeing so many people ripped apart in the crossfire. What a scene!

When it comes to grading this episode, I can't give it a super high grade as it was really only the last act that totally distinguished it, but I'm torn. The rest of the episode was only average for a good cable drama, and I'm getting tired of Vaughn and Farrell always meeting back in the same bar with the same chanteuse singing away in the background. But, the last twenty minutes or so is really True Detective at its best, and it feels like this shootout was the moment – not unlike the tracking shot in season one – that's going to kick the rest of the run into high gear. Certainly, I'll be going into next week's episode with renewed optimism.

Source: JoBlo.com

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