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

Woodrugh! No! Sunday night's penultimate episode, Black Maps and Hotel Rooms, finally seemed to ramp up the dragging pace and story! Unfortunately, it did so at the cost of one of my favorite characters, Officer Woodrugh. As you may have noticed, I stopped reviewing the show due to my overall lack of interest from the previous episodes, but I felt this one finally started giving us a story worth talking about. Let's break down what exactly True Detective is doing right, and still doing wrong in this week's review!

What Didn't Work?

Repetitive Cinematography

How many times do we need to see the same overhead shots of freeways this season? It's not like last season where we kept getting glimpses of a significant location that had a meaning behind it. The freeway shots are only there to remind the viewer of the intricacies of each characters stories going on. It was a simple visual representation that is now just hitting me over the head every episode with the same message. I hope next season goes back to using visual queues for furthering a specific element to the story.

The Dialogue

Thus far, this season of True Detective has had some clunky segments of dialogue. Even though this episode was a vast improvement from prior ones, it was still plagued with poorly written dialogue. The two worst parts about this type of dialogue is that it either makes things so vague you don't understand what's going on, or the dialogue is so on the nose that they might as well turn to the camera and speak to the audience directly. For instance, in Sunday's episode we see Bezzerides and Velcoro mostly staring at each other from across a table in a hotel room. Obviously they are into each other, and they are finding solace in each other's tragedies. This is a snippet of dialogue that happens that switches between on the nose to extremely vague from line to line. The dialogue goes as follows:

Bezzerides: You're not a bad man.
Velcoro: Yes, I am. Do you miss it?
Bezzerides: ...What?
Velcoro: Hm..Anything?

At this point, don't we all know just how terrible Velcoro is, and that despite all of that he is trying to be a better man and do the right thing? Do we really need a line of dialogue reasserting this? Then, directly after that, what are they talking about? Miss what? Killing? The feeling of rage they both have/had? The moment their lives changed for the worse? Before all of the bad things happened? What the hell are they talking about!? It's amazing how they manage to put these lines together. I don't know how someone could read this and think that this would serve the story well. Luckily, there were some better dialogue filled scenes this episode, but this has been an ongoing problem for the second season of True Detective.

What Worked?

Vince Vaughn Is A Gangster!

I've had an ongoing debate with people as to whether or not Vince Vaughn is a gangster trying to be a business man or a business man who is being a bit gangster. We have our answer in the form of Blake's dead, beaten body. Vaughn is finally letting his true self be seen, and it is a vicious killer. I feel like we're finally getting what we all wanted with Vaughn's character, and even though his rage is a bit unsettling I am so glad to see it. The surprising thing about his violent outburst is that he actually seems like a better man than before. For the first half of the season he seemed like a sleazeball who was just trying to screw over as many people as possible. Now he seems like a man who is taking action against those who are actually hurting others, and it is all for a righteous reason. I hope this change of heart and character will allow him to find redemption in the season finale.

Thank You for Your Service Officer Woodrugh

The obvious shocker from Sunday's episode was the cowardly murder of Taylor Kitsch's Officer Woodrugh. I'll admit, I was audibly upset. I don't usually talk out loud when I'm alone watching something, but I was yelling at my screen as his death happened in front of me. I was sad and pissed off to see the one "hero" in the show gunned down in the back as he fought for his life as hard as he could. I knew it was coming right before it happened because of the shift in the music, and I hated every second of it. I'm sure many of you had a similar reaction and are still feeling the loss of Woodrugh. As bad as I feel about it, the whole sequence was amazing and intense. I finally felt like I was watching True Detective and that there were real stakes. The scene reminded me a lot of the catacombs chase scene from last season, and I was so happy that I was actually reminded of the good season of this show. Unfortunately, one of the greatest scenes all season had to also break our hearts.

The Atmosphere

As I mentioned above, the chase scene reminded me of last season which was obviously the stronger of the two. Besides just this scene, the rest of the episode had the tone that I have been expecting to get from True Detective. I felt like there was a real investigation instead of a jumbled bunch of names and locations. The characters also acted in such a way that related to the characters from the first season. I felt like everyone wore their flaws on their sleeves and we finally saw each person for who they really were. Throughout the episode you could feel the characters running from the darkness that had poured out of the holes they had been poking in the investigation, and it was actually interesting to see the consequences of all the actions they had been taking.

Velcro Velcoro

I call him Velcro Velcoro because he's been holding this entire season together. He has been the most emotional character to watch, and this episode just furthers the journey he's been on. I love that we're finally seeing him come to terms with his past, but stray back into nobility with his actions in the current investigation. I can't wait to see where his character arc leads him, but I am very much interested in finding out! I loved seeing the anguish in his eyes during his conversation with Bezzerides. Despite the dialogue being clunky, his body language was more than sufficient in telling the story. You could see him facing the fact that he is the reason his life turned out the way it did and all of the regret he now has with that realization. During the conversation between all three officers, it was great to see him step up and be the leader as he coordinated their best options and end-game.

Overall Assessment

The penultimate episode of season 2 of True Detective has delivered what we were all longing for: True damn Detective! Even though this episode suffered from some of the ongoing problems we've seen this season, it got the tone right for once! It also gave us the versions of each character that we've wanted to see come to light. I am actually excited for the last episode of this season!

Thanks for reading guys, and let me know what you all though of this episode! Be sure to check this episode out if you have stopped watching this season because it will definitely give you the True Detective vibe you've been waiting for! Also, make sure you watch the season finale of True Detective Season 2 on HBO this upcoming Sunday!


Did this episode change your opinion of this season?


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