True Detective Recap and Review: Season 2, Episode 2

What.  The.  Fuck.

Or is it what the fucking fuck?  Or maybe what the actual fuck?

Yes, I am talking about True Detective.  More accurately, the second episode of the second season.  To say this episode ended on a cliffhanger would be the understatement of the century (or at least of this month).

CarOffCliff

This show is all about suspense but this episode took that concept to another level, and wow.  Just wow.  Not sure what to say other than wow, but let me try…

With that being said, here is my recap and review of True Detective, seasn 2, episode 2.

And as always:

Spoiler alert

 

 


 

Synopsis

The episode begins with Frank Semyone awakening from a nightmare.  Frank then tells his wife of an incident in his childhood, where his parents locked him in a basement for a few days with no food or water.  Frank recalls that he was attacked by rats and forced to kill the rats with his bare hands.  Frank also wonders if he maybe still actually in that basement, and everything thereafter is actually just a dream.

Ani, Paul and Ray come together to discuss the autopsy of Ben Caspere, the city official who was found murdered in the previous episode.  We learn that Caspere’s eyes were burned off with hydrochloric acid, and that his genitals were shot off.

Ani and Frank begin to chase leads in Caspere’s murder.  They review Caspere’s appointment book, and speak to his therapist.  The therapist recognizes Ani by her last name, and states that he knew her father.  Ani replies that she is the only person among the girls she grew up with in her father’s commune to have a normal life; two committed suicide and the other two are in jail.

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We also learn that Caspere owed Frank several million dollars before his death, as Frank had given Caspere all of his liquid assets to invest in a land deal that never came to fruition.  Frank begins to panic, and places pressure on Ray to solve the murder as quickly as possible, so that he can recover his money.  Frank also poses as a witness, and has his people beat a man who owes him money.

Ray also begins to come unhinged.  He meets his ex-wife at his son’s school, and is refused visitation of his son by his ex-wife.  Ray’s ex states that she no longer wants their son to spend time with his father, and threatens Ray with supervised visitation.  Ray nearly breaks down in tears, and tells his ex that he will burn the city down for his son, if that is what needs to be done.  Ray’s ex also threatens him with a paternity test, implying that her son may not actually be Ray’s son.

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Paul travels to see his troubled mother, who almost acts like Paul’s jealous lover.  Paul then breaks up with his girlfriend, as she feels she does not know the man inside.  Paul is upset, but pays a visit to what appears to be a club that caters to gay men, and appears to have interest in the patrons.

Ray speaks to the mayor of Vinci, who states he wants the case solved, although the mayor does not seem serious.  Ani and Ray again chase leads, with Ani driving the car.  The conversation between Ray and Ani is awkward, but Ray admits most of the rumors about him are probably true.  In particular, Ray admits that his ex-wife was a rape victim, and that he is probably responsible for the death of her rapist.  Ani reveals that she feels the constant need to fight (and to keep a knife on her at all times) because she is one of the few women on the police force.  Ray also tells Ani that he thinks that there are people out there who do not want them to solve this murder case, as solving the case may expose some truths in regards to the city of Vinci, which has always been mysteriously prosperous.

Frank and Ray meet in a club.  Frank tells Ray that Caspere actually owns another house, which should also be investigated.  Ray’s exhaustion is apparent to everyone, including the cocktail waitresses employed by the club.

Ray pays a visit to Caspere’s second home.  However, his investigation is cut short when he is shot by a masked man a few minutes after he enters the house.


 

My Thoughts

Before I get into anything else in regards to this episode (and believe me, there is plenty to get into in regards to this round), I would like to give a shout out to the theme song.

Yes, you heard that right.  The theme song.  Mostly, I fast forward through those, via the magic of DVR.  But this theme song is actually worth listening too, as it is a Leonard Cohen song!  And Leonard Cohen and this show are a match made in heaven (or is it hell, considering how dark both can be?)  Whatever the case is, the choice of a Leonard Cohen intro song is brilliant, and I commend whoever made that choice.

See the first paragraph of this post.  Yes, this episode was eventful, and not just the cliffhanger of the ending.  I saw a few turning points to the story, so let’s attempt to break some of them down.

First of all, I thought the opening scene was brilliant.  And it made me think back to my childhood art classes!

Seriously, covering a balloon with a sticky newspaper concoction, popping the balloon and painting what was left was really fun!

In all seriousness, the opening scene accomplished a lot.  For one, it was creepy.  There were no visuals, as we had to rely on the storytelling of Frank, but the story still managed to be creepy.  Actually, when aren’t rats creepy?  I immediately thought of a story by HP Lovecraft.  And we know this show has (in the previous season, at least) made a few references to HP Lovecraft.  Probably this is just coincidental, but maybe not…

I also loved the “papier mache” reference, and the musing that perhaps we are all just dreaming, and that like papier mache, life is fragile and can fall apart at any moment…quite beautiful, really.  That one would have made Rust Cohle proud.

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And then there is the matter of Paul.  At first, I thought he was a pretty boy.  And he still is a pretty boy (Taylor Kitsch is easy on the eyes!)  but his character seems to be a bit more complex than that.  Complex as in a guy who is questioning his sexual identity but is still a pretty boy.  And did I mention that he may have some major mommy issues?

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Somehow the singer of Jessie’s Girl is really creepy and unsettling.  I don’t know how Rick Springfield has accomplished this, but a)  he needs to keep it up and b)  we need to see more of this character!  And I have a funny feeling that we will see more of this character, as the connection to Ani feels a bit too coincidental.  Is it too much of a stretch to imagine that the good Dr. Pitlor is somehow involved in the murder?  Maybe not, but I am sure we will find out soon.

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Ok, enough of the pleasantries.  We all know what really needs to be discussed today.  And that would be Ray Velcoro, although I may start calling him the Schrodinger’s Cat of the series…

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Well, I am sure the fate of Ray Velcoro will be solved with use of something slightly less complex than quantum mechanics.  Even after his apparent “murder” by one of these creatures:

Taheen 2

 

However, the show (in just two episodes, to boot) has spent a lot of time and energy developing the character of Ray Velcoro, especially with this episode.  The beat down of the bully and bully’s father was epic enough, but this episode added to the emotional landscape.  Ray is not a nice guy, but he is still somehow sympathetic.  I really did tear up a little during the scene with his ex wife, as that scene revealed the love that Ray has for his son, even though the boy may not be related to him in a biological sense.  Ray is also a sharp detective, and I could practically see him putting the pieces together, especially when he tells Ani that he believes that there are people who do not want this murder solved.  It would also be interesting to see just who set up that shooting:  was it Frank, Ray’s true boss, or someone else?  Could Ray’s earlier statement have been clairvoyant?  Fascinating questions, and I can’t wait to delve into the next episode and hopefully get some answers.

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Well, that is it for this week’s dissection of True Detective.  Tune in next week, where we open Schroedinger’s box, and find out the true state of the cat Ray Velcoro!

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2 thoughts on “True Detective Recap and Review: Season 2, Episode 2

  1. I’m sorry, but I just can’t resist. Frank Semyone (not Seymone) was staring at the water stains on his ceiling in the opening scene, and wondered aloud how they could have gotten there since there has been little to no rain and that the stains reminded him of the feeling that you quite aptly explained. That little tid-bit was important because it applies to the symbolism so prevalent in this series. Secondly, Caspere’s genitals were blown off by a shotgun blast, not the acid used on his eyes. That shotgun also appeared later on giving this viewer the impression that this weapon was the fatal tool used earlier for torture but this time for murder. Next, the man that Frank’s guys beat up was certainly not the mayor. Frank seemed to be trying to leave the underworld behind but due to Caspere not buying land as Frank’s front, Frank is forced to “put the arm” on people connected to his old world. As he was posing as the witness, he told the man that it may have happened because he runs a “book in a Vinci sweatshop” which leads the viewer to believe that this is a “protection-for-hire-or-get-your-assed-kicked” racket as outlined per The Sopranos. Like another mob icon, Mike Corleone, “just when he thought he was out, they pull him back in”.

    Like

  2. One other thing, the one water stain was almost identical to the flying starlings that you have posted from last season that Rust glimpsed.

    Like

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