ByCasey Haney, writer at Creators.co
I love movies and comics, but I know all things DC. Find me on Twitter @HaneyCasey
Casey Haney

I guess a shotgun shot to the gut isn’t as bad as getting your twig and berries shot off at point blank range with one. Well, this episode was a definite step up from last weeks disappointing season premiere. The wheels are turning and some have apparently stopped already. We get much better pictures of our characters this week as well as a better grasp on the plot. The writing was still a bit too heavy handed, but the acting is still through the roof. I am beginning to have a few issues with the cinematography, but they aren’t too bad. Also, I hope the show isn’t going to deliver shockers like the one in this episode on a regular basis. It worked very well tonight, but I hope they don’t try and twist and yank us around all season. So, with all of this said, let’s begin our autopsy for this week’s episode of True Detective.

What Worked?

Vince Vaughn

We begin this week’s episode with a scene of Vaughn and his wife/girlfriend (I don’t know if it’s been officially disclosed which she is). He is staring at the ceiling contemplating his current situation and how it connects with an extremely pleasant childhood memory. I speak of course about his story about his drunk father locking him in the basement for 6 days in the dark with little to no food, a shitty light bulb, and of course rats. There’ll be more on this anecdote later. Although, I had some issues with the story being told, Vaughn was extremely believable as an unhinged gangster remembering the days that shaped him into who he is now. He is telling a great story with his eyes during this scene. You can seem to see him actually recall these events as if he were using a personal story for his character. Later in the episode, you can see his desperation wiped away. In the first episode, one of my criticisms was that he didn’t seem like a believable gangster. Now that he isn’t playing nice anymore, I can see what the casting director obviously saw. He is very reminiscent of Vincent D’Onofrio from Daredevil. Much like Kingpin, Vince Vaughn is forced to get tough with those around him who are trying to screw him over. Much like D’Onofrio, Vaughn is charismatic and unhinged. I’m excited to see him get his hands even dirtier. I like his reluctance to get back into the underworld, but you can tell that this is where he thrives. I’ll be keeping a close watch on his eyes, because that is where Vaughn is telling his story.

Colin Farrell

Can you keep breaking my heart, making me hate you, and making me root for you? Up until he was shot and presumedly killed at the end of this episode, he was, pun intended, murdering his character. Farrell has created a character so dynamic that it's almost excitedly, exhausting just keeping up with his storyline. He shows you all the sides of his character whether ugly, good, bad, beautiful, or sad. The whole episode this week just seemed to shit on him, and he just took it in stride. He considered the idea that perhaps he wasn’t all bad, just to then get shot right in the fucking gut, twice. I really hope he isn’t dead. I don’t think the show would kill off its easily most compelling character. It just wouldn’t make sense for them to kill the character we feel the strongest connection to. I really think he is wearing a vest. If he were to die, I would be extremely sad to see his character leave the show with having only thought of redemption rather than attempting some sort of act of redemption.

Character Filth

We all love this show for the horrible pictures it paints with its characters. The side characters we see this week are creepy, gross, and corrupt. The psychiatrist we meet is extremely unsettling with his mannerisms and tone. He obviously knows much more than he is letting on, and perhaps could play a much bigger role in this season than just this small part. Also, the fact that he knows Rachel McAdam’s father is another hint/nod that the cult/commune her father leads could be much more nefarious than previously believed. We know that True Detective doesn’t just reference things offhandedly.

Also, the mayor is just such a despicable leader and overall corrupt person. His demeanor is just so revealing about what he is all about. He obviously isn’t bothered by what is going on because he is in a safe position, however, when he needs to show power or make a point, he sits up in his chair and makes pointed eye contact. This just asserts the level of talent all of these actors have, but it just oozes what True Detective is all about. We want to see the worst in the world and how it operates, and this week we saw just that.

Plot

I can happily say that I have a better grasp on what is actually going on now. Vince Vaughn lost all of his capital because Caspere screwed him over, and then died. Now Vaughn is not only out millions of dollars, but out of the deal that he and Caspere were working on regarding the high speed railroad. We know that Vaughn is also in deep water with some of his more nefarious investors such as the russian mobster we saw last week. Rachel McAdams is also now the task force leader in the investigation to solve Caspere’s murder. Taylor Kitsch is still the same brooding man he was before and has a fucked up mom who is oddly sexual towards him. Farrell is, with the prospect of losing his son, reevaluating his involvement in the criminal underworld. He now wants to actually solve this case rather than obstruct it in favor of the mayor and police chief. Obviously now, Caspere’s murder will be the catalyst all of these characters need in order for them to develop and change. I am now intrigued and wanting to see and learn more about Caspere’s murder as well as what he was involved with whether it be another cult, or some other sort of criminal enterprise.

What Didn’t Work?

Cinematography

Ok, seriously how many fucking aerial shots do we need in one episode? Literally after 99% of the scenes in this episode it is immediately bridged by a roaming aerial shot of the L.A. traffic landscape. It does nothing to help me get in the mood for what is to come, or help me understand anything. All it does is take me out of the moment that the previous scene just worked so hard to get me in to. It just makes me think, “Hmmm. L.A. traffic does suck. Glad I don’t live there.” True Detective is usually much more pointed with their scenery. It usually means something, or is supposed to make you feel a certain way, but it is having the opposite effect on me now. I hope this begins to change, but I have a lingering feeling that it won’t.

ClUnkY WritInG

This is exactly how I feel when listening to some of the bullshit written for these compelling characters to say. The opening anecdote that Vaughn tells is completely unnecessary and circular. I don’t feel like the story led me anywhere, and in fact, just repeated what it said in the beginning with the same lack of substance as it had the first time. He begins to talk about the world feeling like paper mache which then leads to a fucked up story about the abuse he endured because his father is a drunk and got arrested. Then the two completely separate issues are connected by nothing more than the fact that Vince Vaughn is speaking about both. They have no connection whatsoever, and if it weren’t for Vaughn’s excellent acting during this scene, I would have turned the episode off. Then later on, some of the dialogue between characters was so good and funny, only to be immediately ruined by dialogue that didn’t seem like it fit the characters at all. There was obviously lazy writing interspersed with great dialogue and storytelling. I hope this uneven writing doesn’t continue to happen, but so far we are two for two.

Overall Assessment

This was a large improvement from the season premiere. I am officially excited and intrigued by this new season. I am invested in the characters and care what happens to each, except for maybe Taylor Kitsch. He needs a bit more development. This episode delivered some admittedly disappointing elements, but they were fortunately out-weighed by the phenomenal acting and interesting plot. I hope Colin Farrell isn’t actually dead, nor do I really think he is, but who knows. This ending is one way to keep me watching! (I also loved the shoutout to Gilroy, CA, my hometown, in the episode!)

Score: 6.7/10

As always let me know what you think? Am I being too harsh on True Detective? Were you surprised by the explosive ending? Do you think Farrell is really dead? What is your impression of the season so far? Please be sure to follow me on Twitter @HaneyCasey, check me out on MoviePilot.com/HaneyCasey and read what else I have on my site SlackerNerds.com where we talk Tv, Movies, Comics, and Video Games! Thanks for reading!

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