The Western Book of Dead
After much anticipation, Season 2 of True Detective premiered last night on HBO. With much confusion, HBO introduces us to the main characters of this season – Colin Farrell, Vince Vaughn, Rachel McAdams and Taylor Kitsch. Here is what is going on in the lives of the new cast mates:
Ray Velcoro (played by Farrell) is a bent detective who serves the City of Vinci. Velcoro is seen at the beginning of the episode dropping his son off to school. Throughout the episode we find out that his ex-wife was the victim of a brutal rape crime. She became pregnant shortly after the rape and there is some question whether or not Velcoro is the actual father. Ray wants custody of the child but is unwilling to take a paternity test. We find out that there are other things about his life that could also prevent him from being awarded custody of his child. Velcoro is a junkie, getting high and drunk throughout the episode. He suffers from serious anger issues, we see him use brass knuckles to beat up the father of a bully at his sons school. Lastly, we see him taking a bribe to assault and threaten a writer.
Frank Semyon (played by Vaughn) is the owner of a casino. His story line seems to be the hardest for me to put my finger on. That could be because that is how the writers wrote this episode or it could be my own bias towards the actor. Every time he hit the screen, I waited for a quick hilarious one liner from him. It was hard. The thing is HBO is great at transforming a star into an actor you don’t know him or her as. When Steve Buscemi played Nucky Thompson on their popular hit series, Boardwalk Empire, I had a hard time with him. It took me a couple episodes to stop seeing him as the goofy roles he normally had played. They did such a great job developing his character that I now cannot see him as anyone other than Nucky Thompson. (If you have not seen Boardwalk Empire, go back and watch it. You will not be disappointed.) I am giving HBO a chance with Vaughn. What I am gathering from his story is that he and wife, Jordan (Kelly Reilly) are the owners of a casino. His business partner, Ben Casper, has been missing. We see Detective Velcoro searching through Casper’s house as he is a missing person in the City of Vinci.
Ani Bezzerides (played by McAdams) is a burnt out sheriff. In her first scene we see her carelessly hooking up with a guy who she basically throws out of her apartment, but there are bigger problems in Bezzerides life. We see her and her team raiding a home in which she thought was an illegal prostitution ring. She finds out that the owner is running a completely legal porn business out of the home. Not only is she wrong about the operation but she finds her sister is involved. The sisters have a confrontation and we find out that her sister has a dark past involving addiction. Sheriff Bezzerides isn’t much different. Later in the episode we see her getting kicked out of Semyon’s casino, drunk. Aside from this, her father is some type of yoga and/or meditation guide. She tracks him down at his place of work and we find out that Ani has had a tough upbringing. Her dad has given the girls almost too much freedom, raising them without discipline. Ani tries to get him to talk to her sister about the business she is in but her father seems not to care as he tells her it is not right of him to tell someone else how to live. We also find out that her mother is gone as she had committed suicide.
Paul Woodrugh (played by Kitsch) is a highway, motorcycle, police officer. He gets put on leave after a woman he pulled over claimed he asked her to perform a sex act on him in order to get out of her ticket. Woodrugh pulled a woman over after he saw her seriously speeding on the highway. When he asked her to get her license and registration we see that she is wearing a home arrest ankle monitor. She also may or may not have been drinking. She tells him that she does not have her license and asks if he will follow her home and she could give him a little something for him escorting her home. Paul is seen in his bosses office begging to get his job back. His boss tells him that he is on paid leave because this is the step he must take. You get the idea that the woman had lied. Woodrugh leaves work and heads to his girlfriends apartment where he finds her waiting for him in bed. He says he needs a shower and sits in the bathroom waiting for his Viagra to kick in. The look in his eyes is dead. He comes out and has sex with her. He then leaves the apartment saying that he has work to do. She asks him why he never spends the night. This leaves you wondering what else is going on in his life. When he leaves we see him in the middle of the night on his motorcycle, he is speeding and we see the speedometer increasing to over 100 mph. He turns his lights out and you get the idea that he is attempting suicide. After getting scared and skidding off the road, you see him conflicted, yelling at himself for not being able to go through with it. When he stops he find a man sitting at a park bench. Turns out the man is dead.
How do these four stories connect?
At the end of the episode we see Ray and Ani, both drunk, getting calls that they need to report to the scene of a crime. The crime? A man found dead along the highway, this is the man that Paul had found after skidding off the road. The man? Ben Casper, missing person of the City of Vinci and Frank’s business partner. Casper is dead, murdered, eyes burned out of his head and other severe injuries. The episode ends with Paul, Ani and Ray all giving each other really odd looks, like they are curious about the other but also like they are hiding something. It felt like a really amateur ending and nothing like you are used to with HBO.
The more I think about what I saw last night, the more I get excited about this season. The first season of True Detective was interesting, twisted, bizarre and amazing. I loved it. The actors was great, the story line was great, everything was great. This season had much anticipation since the end of last season, from finding out that there would be a new story line, to hearing it would be all new characters and to rumors to who was going to be on the show, people have been waiting a full year to watch this. At first I was very critical of the episode but after speaking with a regular HBO watcher, I am more understanding that this episode was done strictly to introduce the characters. HBO does a great job of always developing strong characters and this is what they were trying to do. Although confusing, after thinking about the episode, you get a good idea of what is happening and what part each person plays in the show.
If you are new to the show, this is a great place to pick up. The nice thing about True Detective is that each season is a completely new story. So you don’t need to go back and watch season 1 to catch up and to understand what is going on. (However I do recommend watching season 1 because it was seriously amazing.)
True Detective airs on Sunday nights at 9PM on HBO.
Until next week…