Three cops all with sordid pasts come together over a dead body. The powers that be want them to join forces but for different reasons. The question is dose anyone really want the case solved? I think I just wrote the synopsis for when you hit the info button on your remote for Season 2 of True Detective.
Episode 2 “Night Finds You” was certainly a lot more promising than the first. We’re probably not getting any voodoo but this episode gave us some seriously weird sex vibes, black ops and a hippie commune that messed up a group of kids. Grown-ups doing bizarre things to children and creating malformed adults seems to be the common thread that will run through each season of True Detective.
Now that the main players have been introduced we can get down to the business of getting to know them. Previously we only got to dig into Colin Farrell’s character although (SPOILER ALERT!) it looks like we might not get to go much deeper with whiskey-swillin’, brass knuckle-wielding, tween-terrorizing Detective Ray Velcoro. Writer Nic Pizzolatto seems to have taken a page from George R.R. Martin. Velcoro carried the entire first episode and even got the coveted driving-around-waxing-poetic spot along side Deputy Bezzerides (Rachel McAdams) in episode 2, only to go all Jon Snow on us in a creepy sex dungeon. Thankfully, at least things got a little juicier with other cast members.
Right off the bat we get a harrowing tale from Frank Semyon (Vince Vaughn) regarding his less-then-happy childhood. Vaughn gives quite a performance explaining how Dad used to lock young Frank in the basement and go get liquored up. This glimpse into the past really helps to paint Frank’s desperation and let the audience know he is a man who doesn’t response well when he feels trapped. And we soon learn that trapped is a good description of his situation. He’s cashed in his criminal nest egg to go legit, only whoever is responsible for the dead body from paragraph one has also made off with all of Frank’s money. His childhood story lets us know that he is going to stop at nothing to find whoever is responsible. Powerful men with nothing to lose always make for riveting noir tales.
Ani Bezzerides is starting to feel like a worthwhile character. When last we saw her she was getting escorted out of a casino by security; we don’t know why but can assume it was probably the result of knocking back many, many drinks. In this episode we find out a bit more about her past and hippie Dad. She is one of five children who were being raised in a commune called The Good People and the only one of those kids not dead or in jail. The Good People is most likely not an appropriate name. Ani and Ray have some seriously open getting-to-know-you conversation where we learn why she keeps approximately fifteen knives strapped to her body at any given time. She informs Ray that the big difference between the sexes is that one is capable killing the other with their bare hands and any man who lays a hand on her “will bleed out in under a minute.” Well, OK then, there is probably more than just your typical daddy issues lurking within Ms. Bezzerides. We also get another hint about her sexual proclivities when she unwinds after a hard day at the office with some internet porn. I’m still not totally sold on McAdams but things are certainly looking up.
Speaking of sexual proclivities, it’s beginning to seem like Patrolman Paul Woodrugh (Taylor Kitsch) is probably a closeted, self-hating homosexual. First we hear him talking about wanting to punch some “fag” he felt was coming on to him, yet later we see him longingly watching several gay men from a distance. I guess this explains why he needs medical help to get it up for his now-ex-girlfriend. Like everyone else on the show, some of Paul’s issues might be traced back to his childhood. When we get to meet his trailer-trash Mom (Lolita Davidovich) there is a distinct incesty vibe in the room. Mom talks to Paul more like he’s an old flame than her son. PTSD isn’t the only thing fueling his reckless late night motorcycle rides.
So where is all this leading? We have three (umm, two?) police officers and one gangster, all with heavy psychological baggage, searching for the same killer. Each one of them is working for a different boss with a different motive for finding said killer. Then we have a perpetrator with a shotgun and an eyedropper full of hydrochloric acid who likes to wear a giant bird head. Was the murder about money or is it part of some weird sex network? They keep dropping prostitution and internet porn into the periphery of the show so I feel like there is more to this than just a few million dollars.
In reality the motive probably doesn’t really matter. In the first season of True Detective I realized very early on that this show isn’t a traditional whodunit. The initial crime is merely a catalyst to set this unusual group of characters on their not-so-merry way. We as the audience shouldn’t focus too much on the destination but just try and enjoy the ride.