True Detective Recap and Review: Season 1, Episode 1

Have you ever got sucked into something, whether it be a book, a movie or TV show, so much that you forget to do stuff?  And I’m not talking about forgetting minor details, like forgetting to do the dishes one night…

No, more like forgetting to do the dishes for three nights.  Or forgetting to cook dinner.  Or forgetting that you need to eat dinner, for that matter.

Yes, there have been a few TV shows and books that have caused me to neglect my real life, because….well, because the world in those shows and books was just so much darn cooler than my real life!

the dark tower cover_0

That’s right, Dark Tower series, Sons of Anarchy and Arrow!  You guys are responsible for many a neglected chore, and I thank you guys for that…I am just a sucker for a good story!

Sutter and Martin

I can also add the show True Detective to this list.  I had heard good things about the show on some fan site or another, and had birthday money to burn.  So I bought the series, and began to watch it almost immediately.

Rust Cole 2

And never regretted spending money on that series.  I never regretted one single dime.  In fact, I was so impressed that I bought my dad the series for his Christmas present.  And the man who can take years to watch a single season of any show had finished watching it by January 15th, and sent me a text message saying how impressed he was.

So yes, the first season of True Detective was impressive.  It was really impressive.  In fact, the only bad thing I could say about it was that it wasn’t returning for a second season…

Well, our beloved Marty and Rust were not returning for a second season.  True Detective is an anthology show, where none of the seasons are related to each other.  In other words, each season will have different characters, a different setting and even a different mode of storytelling.  We get to start over from scratch, so to speak.

Rust Cole 1

 

So, it was a bit of a bummer…I loved Rust Cohle so!  And I loved the setting, and the tie ins to HP Lovecraft.  That setting in particular just made all the events on the show that much more plausible.  But we get to start over with a new cast and a new story line…kind of like a new school year, where your slate is clean and all things are possible!

Well, I’m not sure about the slate being clean…with this show, that slate is more like another dirty slate, but a different kind of dirt.  After all, we are dealing with murder, corruption, sex, crooked cops, bullies and sex, if I didn’t mention that part before.

So, lets get ready to look at our new slate…here is my recap and review of True Detective, season 2, episode 1!


 

Synopsis

The show begins with a man dropping his son off at school.  The son is obviously troubled, but the man tries to reassure his son that all will be well at school.  The man is revealed to be a cop by the name of Ray Velcoro.  Ray learns that a city manager, Ben Caspere, has disappeared, and is assigned to investigate the case.  Ray searches the man’s apartment, but only finds evidence of an interesting sex life.

The story switches over to the perspective of Paul Woodrugh, a California motorcycle cop.  Paul is falsely accused of soliciting sex from a woman he pulls over and is placed on administrative leave by his superiors.  Paul also enjoys riding his motorcycle at high speeds on the California highways.

We are then introduced to Ani Bezzerides, who is a detective for Ventura county.  Ani investigates what she thinks to be an illegal porn business that her sister is involved in, but can find no cause to arrest anyone.  Later, Ani and her partner investigate a missing person report, which leads them to a commune, where Ani’s father is a leader.  Ani and her partner question her father and other employees about the missing woman, but don’t turn up any leads.  Ani also argues with her father about her sister, whom she feels is on the wrong path.

Frank Seymone is then introduced.  Frank is an entrepreneur with ties to organized crime.  Frank is also tied to Ben Caspere, who is a business partner of his.  Frank and Ben are involved in a project to build a new system of transportation for the city of Vinci.  Frank is also tied to Ray, in that Ray takes care of some of Frank’s nasty business.  For example, Ray brutally beats a reporter who tries to publish an article that Frank dislikes.  Ray and Frank are shown to have extremely close ties, but it appears Ray is conflicted about the relationship.

Ray learns that his son is being bullied at school.  Ray finds out the name of the child and his parents, and pays them a visit.  Ray then threatens the child, making him promise to leave Ray’s son alone, and then beats the child’s father in front of the child.  Afterwards, Ray flees the scene, leaving the child’s mother to assist her husband and son.

The episode ends with the discovery of the body of Ben Caspere.  The corpse is discovered by Paul, was was out on one of his motorcycle rides.  Ani and Ray are also called to the scene, signalling the beginning of a murder investigation.


 

My thoughts

For the record, I am trying my best to not compare the second season of True Detective to the first season of the season.  Trying really hard…

But I can’t help it, I’m human.  And when I watched the show, I did see some things that reminded me exactly what show I was watching.  For example, I did notice the lighting.  The first season showed shots of dim lighting, and so does this season.  This is a trick that works to the show’s advantage (in both seasons) and effectively sets the mood.

Speaking of mood, this show is one of the moodiest I have ever watched…I would hate to see what color its mood ring would turn, if the show wore one.  The lighting, the music (you can’t get much moodier when you have a Leonard Cohen song as a theme song), the ariel shots of the highways…to me, all of the above are supposed to make the viewer feel unsettled.  And if unsettled is what the writers, directors and producers were going for, then they should consider themselves successful, as the vibe I got was dark and downright creepy.

mood ring 1

Another interesting thing about season 2 of True Detective is that one of the main characters is female.  The female characters in season 1 were not central characters, and were either used to add twists to the relationship between Marty and Rust, or were victims of the serial killer.  The viewer only saw these characters through the eyes of Marty and Rust, and these characters were never fully developed.  However, this is not the case this season.  Regina George Ani is a character who is not (hopefully) used for the advancement of the male characters in the story.  I am already fascinated by her…she may have some daddy issues!  And her sister, what is going on with that, and how will that tie in to this murder mystery?  And why is she so at odds with what appears to be everyone?  These questions have sparked my interest, and the only way (maybe) to find out is to keep watching!

True Detective 4

And let’s talk about Ray Velcoro.  Like I said before, I am trying not to compare this season to last season, but sometimes even I fail.  But I just have this funny feeling that Ray Velcoro may be this season’s Rust Cohle.  We didn’t actually see a lot of Ray in the first episode, but I think it was enough to know that he will be this season’s most intriguing character.  Who beats up the father of his son’s bully, right in front of the bully (although naming your kid Aspin should get you beat up, I mean really?!  Really?!)  And working for the mob…I almost thought we were in Gotham for a minute!  Ray seems so angry and so heartless…he has no problem hurting anyone, even a kid (although said kid was a bully but still).  I am intrigued to find out why Ray is the way he is (like I was intrigued with Rust last season), and I have a feeling the back story will be an interesting one.

True Detective 3

My only complaint thus far is the character of Frank Seymone.  Vince Vaughn is a fine actor, but seems to be struggling a bit in this role.  The character comes off as a little two dimensional, and a character like his deserves justice.  However, I have only watched one episode.  There will be seven more episodes, and I am optimistic that his character will be developed more in future episodes.

True Dective 2


 

So that’s it for this week’s recap and review of True Detective.  Tune in next week to explore more in the world of corruption, crooked cops, high speed motorcycle chases and murdered city officials, when we dissect episode 2!

True Detective 5

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