Ray Velcoro and Frank Semyon are the most interesting characters on True Detective


The second season of True Detective is having a little trouble right now. There are signs that it will improve, and we’re optimistic that it will all come together by the end, but that doesn’t change the current situation.

More from HBO

The fact that there are four leads in True Detective season two was once a thing to celebrate, but now feels as if its spreading itself too thin. But there is something of an anchor there, and it comes in the form of the relationship between Colin Farrell’s Ray Velcoro and Vince Vaugn’s Frank Semyon.

Semyon and Velcoro are currently the most interesting characters in True Detective season two. The two of them are in the most “compromised” situations out of the four, and their tension-filled meetings are the only times in which True Detective is really trying to achieve something. And succeeding.

The fact that Semyon has Velcoro in his pocket is a stroke of brilliance. Outside of the mysterious crow men, Semyon and Velcoro are running the show. Screen-time is also weighed in their favor, with their scenes, both separate and together, taking up more time than both Rachel McAdams and Taylor Kitsch.

True Detective season two may have four leads, but right now really only two of them matter. It feels as if Paul Woodrugh (Taylor Kitsch) and Rachel McAdams (Ani Bezzerides) are just along for the ride. Their under-utilization makes it odd that we see so much of them, even if it is less total time that Velcoro and Semyon

They’re just bit players. For now.

Velcoro and Semyon also share a history involving Velcro’s wife. There is a reason that Semyon has Velcoro in his pocket, and it appears to be because Semyon helped Velcoro murder — or cover up the murder — of the man who harmed Velcoro’s wife.

Velcoro doesn’t particularly want to work for Semyon, but he also doesn’t have the drive to do anything else. He feels that he owes a debt, while also feeling ambivalent enough about the whole affair to just keep doing it. On the other side, Semyon seems to have some level of affection for Velcoro, as seen in last Sunday’s episode when he told him that he didn’t want to hear him talk about suicide.

This all adds up to some great moments in True Detective season two. Perhaps it should have always stayed at two leads, considering how much trouble the season is having at juggling the other players. For now, at least, Semyon and Velcoro are keeping True Detective interesting while everyone else feels wasted.

Next: Listen to the full version of the new True Detective Lera Lynn song, 'A Church in Ruins.'

More from Show Snob