Holy shit. Last night’s True Detective was a shocker right?! Who saw that one coming? It’s gone all Game of Thrones on us and potentially killed off one of the main characters in episode two, which serves as a not-so-friendly reminder that this show can get incredibly dark and twisted at the flip of a switch. No one is safe, everyone has a secret and the city is an unforgiving pit of despair.
The majority of the episode played out like any other, building character stories, opening doors, asking questions and widening the vice. The three detectives come together to hear the autopsy report for Ben Caspere, the man found dead at the end of episode one. Turns out his eyes were burned out with hydrochloric acid and he was shot in the crotch, destroying everything that was ever down there. We learn more about Caspere, that he had a serious darkness in him that takes the form of a sexual addiction with young girls. Velcoro and Bezzerides delve into his belongings and start to unpick the case, each fighting their personal demons at the same time. Velcoro is having his son taken away from him, Bezzerides is battling her past and Woodrough is just an enigma all unto himself. My problem with the season so far is that I find the characters all to be very one dimensional, they are all murky, brooding and corrupt people with dark secrets who are incapable of laughing or smiling or attempting to crack a joke. The men talk in low husky voices and McAdams is monotone and depressing. It’s going to be hard to get along in the season if these characters are only going to be “dark and brooding”. Frank Semyon being the exception, of course. The only guy who isn’t a cop and only wants to be involved in solving the murder to protect his assets and himself. He has a wife, a nice house, a successful business but all that is crumbling away since giving Caspere $5 million to invest which has now disappeared. I struggle to follow these explanatory parts of the story because I feel like you need to know something about Los Angeles, the area and how things work to understand the severity of their actions and what kind of business they are talking about. I get lost amongst the jargon, which can be somewhat frustrating. This inaccessibility of the script is currently acting as a barrier to my attention, which, when there are long scenes where characters are talking ‘business’ I don’t entirely know what’s going on.
This is not to say that I am not enjoying the season so far, interestingly it seems that the crime itself is not so much at the forefront of the narrative, it’s much more about building the characters and their stories, while they are investigating the crime. I haven’t felt that captivated by the crime yet, it hasn’t given me that shock factor from before and I am struggling to feel any empathy for this guy, but I have felt captivated by the stories of our four protagonists. The more we learn about them, the more intriguing they are. They’ve hit it quite hard with Velcoro and Semyon’s character, purely because they are at the forefront of the investigation, but its Kitsch’s character, Woodrugh, who has captured me the most. He is about as dark and broody as they come, those high cheekbones help massively, and he clearly has a very strange relationship with his mother who seems to be a hooker of sorts, the exchanges between them felt really unnatural and forced and had me thinking that something incestuous was bubbling under the surface…maybe I’m jumping the gun a bit, but something didn’t feel right…at all.
Anyway, none of the strong character development distracts us from the fact that *SPOILER ALERT*, Velcoro was shot at point blank range, with a shotgun, straight into the abdomen at the end of the episode, begging the question we are all too familiar with following recent events on the HBO network “Is he actually dead though?” I mean, it would be pretty tough to survive such a wound and with no hint of his character in the next episode preview, I am not feeling particularly hopeful. Let’s rewind a second and go back to the start of this scene. It turns out that Ben Caspere would spunk all of his money on prostitutes who he would entertain at a house he owned in Hollywood. Velcoro goes to investigate the house and upon entering, music is playing, candles are burning, the tap has been left on and the sink is overflowing, the room is shrouded in smoke and the lights are dim. It looks exactly how you would expect it to look to be honest. On the floor in front of him is a pool of blood and as he investigates, a man dressed all in black with a crow mask on appears behind him. The music gets louder as the first shot is fired, Velcoro falls to the floor and the man towers over him and shoots him again straight in the stomach. We are shown one final shot of the outside of the house as the camera pulls away and the music fades out.
As I’ve said before, these characters are only being used for this one season, they are all totally expendable. Maybe they will all die and Velcoro is the tip of the iceberg? This moment has set the tone for the whole season now, I was beginning to think the show had lost its way but this has brought it straight back around again. Is Velcoro dead? Is Bezzerides herself hiding a much darker secret? Is Semyon going to lose everything he has worked for? Will Nic Pizolatto kill off these characters before we get any answers? So many questions and only six episode left to answer them. Will we get the answers we deserve?
Here is a quick look at Episode # 3 “Maybe Tomorrow.”