Is True Detective finally turning around? Perhaps. I’m still not totally convinced but I did think this episode drew me in a bit more and I’m definitely not ready to give up yet. Like last week, there were some good scenes and also some bad ones, but the show keeps on chugging nevertheless.
This week we get a new director, some guy named Janus Metz Pedersen, who apparently mostly does documentary shorts. You’d never know it from this episode though, which starts on a fairly Lynchian note. It’s nice to get some more surrealism and absurdity into the mix, and other than that drastic escalation at the beginning, it’s mostly following along the lines of what Lin established in the first two episodes. Luckily, more things happen.
It’s a while, not very long, but a minute or so, before we can be sure that Velcoro is decidedly NOT dead. I thought maybe the show would pull a Psycho on us, which would be an extremely gutsy move that I would have greatly appreciated. Well, mostly, seeing as Colin Farrell’s is the most interesting/relatable character so killing him off would have probably been a bad move. Gutsy, sure, but unwise. Even as I’ve said that I realize not much more happens with him in the episode, near death experience and Lynchian episode aside (I term it as such because there’s a seemingly random Elvis impersonator enveloped in blue light on the stage where the woman with the guitar usually is in Velcoro and Frank’s regular bar; he could singing “Blue Velvet” instead of “The Rose” and not seem out of place at all.)
Rachel McAdams as Ani Bezzerides continues to take no shit from anyone. I can’t say she’s really a character with depth per se, as we know hardly anything about her, but you can tell there are plenty of things to know, even if we don’t know them yet. She gets harassed about her e-cig again, and still doesn’t care. That scene where she sends the guy from episode one packing was great.
Maybe knowing more about the characters is exactly the opposite of what we need. We finally find out why Taylor Kitsch is so damaged and glowery all the time- he’s an All-American manly man type who’s still in the closet. The only way this could get more stereotypical is to have more scenes with his creepy mom (if that happens next week, I swear to God HBO…..). In other news, at least we get to see why exactly we should be afraid of Vince Vaughn. I understand he’s a gangster trying to go legit, but it’s nice to see him go not-so-legit when everything starts to go south.
I really wish the season was more in the vein of season one in one aspect in particular: the superfluousness of the actual case. I feel like I should know more of what’s going on with it here, but to be honest I find it hard to pay attention to. I feel like Pizzolatto and co. are spending more time on it and taking great pains with it, but whenever the case takes center stage, I just check out. My fault, I’ll admit. That said, I really loved the opening to this episode, that’s why I keep coming back to it. The introduction of Fred Ward as Velcoro’s father- I don’t know what it means in connection with the rest of the narrative but the visual sticks with me. Same goes for Elvis. I’ll take it for now. Here’s to hoping the improvement continues.
Long story short: 3/4 stars (but a higher 3/4 than previously)