Review: True Detective Season Two, “Maybe Tomorrow”


“Well, I got shot. That’s something.”

The third episode of True Detective season two didn’t waste time getting to the bottom of the “is Ray dead?” mystery. What it did do was return us to the scowling, angsty looks that we’ve come to expect from True Detective. So, no, Ray Velcoro is not dead. But we also didn’t gain anymore insight into the crow men and what their actual plan is.

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True Detective suffers a bit from Twin Peaks envy. The first season definitely had it, and the second season is no different. Most of the time it really doesn’t amount to much, but this episode took it up a notch. When the episode starts we’re greeted to a dream sequence between Ray and who we later learn is his father. This is done while an Elvis impersonator sings “Some Say Love.”

It’s another moment that makes us question if True Detective really is trying too hard.

It’s the Twin Peaks-iest moment of True Detective so far, but it doesn’t hit it out of the park. True Detective is bizarre, but not that bizarre. It’s another moment that makes us question if True Detective really is trying too hard. It’s an uneven sequence that gives it up too quickly, and it acts as the lead-in to an uneven but potentially important.

The episode doesn’t labor too long on Ray’s shooting. He’s hurt, he’ll heal, he’s back on the job. Neither is anyone overly concerned with who did it; they’re probably thinking if they get who killed Caspere they’ll solve that one as well.

Sexual dysfunction once again rears its head, becoming a definite theme of the season. Frank and his wife Jordan, played by Kelly Reilly, are having trouble conceiving. This episode gave Reilly the most screen time so far, but not much comes of it other than a bitter wife. Frank’s just about at his wit’s end, and his wife isn’t helping.

We get to see the Mayor of Vinci’s lavish mansion and sleazy son, which gives us a little more insight into just how deeply corrupt the Vinci government is. His son, sporting a fake accent, calls himself a “special event” organizer. He does orgies, in other words. He may be involved in the orgy scene that will take place later this season.

In another moment of likely government corruption, Ray is cleared for duty after his run-in after his shoot because “Borris says to clear you.” And that’s that. His broken ribs come back to bite him later while running after a perp with Ani Bezzerides.

There are more stale “mmm’s” and “alright’s” than actual emotion.

Ambivalence is running at an all-time high on True Detective. We know that they care about the case, at least Ray and Ani seem to, but none of that is actually felt. There are more stale “mmm’s” and “alright’s” than actual emotion. If anything it makes the characters more true to what they are — a bunch of emotionally stunted people dealing poorly.

Frank, who tends to show more emotion than anyone else, is understandably upset when another one of his guy’s is killed and has his eyes taken out with acid. But Frank’s raging is unconvincing; it feels as if something is holding him back. Later, at home, he delivers the last line of the episode — “Maybe Tomorrow.” Also the name of the episode. Frank used to be a “terror,” and it looks like he’s headed that way again. Again, it’s all a slow build.

Frank does, however, deliver the best line of the episode while beating on the club owner from last Sunday’s episode. “What kind of way is that to greet the world?” he says before he takes out the guy’s oddly explicit teeth.

As both of them become more unfurled and compromised, True Detective is starting to feel less like the story about Frank and Ray. That’s a good thing. Ray is naturally suspicious if Frank had a hand in his shooting, and his answer doesn’t fill Ray with confidence. But the two spend most of the episode apart dealing with their own issues. When they do meet, however, there is no Lera Lynn to be found.

Ray’s personal problems with his wife and son come to a head when she shows up to offer him money to leave town. Apparently investigators visited her. We know that they’re closing in on him; we learn that much from Ani. Ray’s struggle to turn his life around grounds the show a little more. True Detective is starting to spread its wings a little bit here, and there are some growing pains.

Paul often feels like an afterthought.

We get to explore Paul’s extremely damaged psyche a little more, but we’re only given a peek. Paul is a walking time bomb in a way that no other character is, and sometimes that makes him the most boring one to focus on. Eventually, once we actually learn something about him, that should change. Ani also has one speed — quiet rage — but her seething is more interesting. We already have part of her back story, and True Detective spends more time fleshing her out.

Ani is becoming a real player now, and True Detective is more interesting when she’s around. Paul, on the other hand, often feels like an afterthought.

True Detective may have gotten a short of adrenaline at the end of episode two, but now we’re back to the slow build-up of dark tension. That’s a mode that True Detective is comfortable with. After the tease of last week, however, episode three felt like a quiet comedown even though emotions are running high.

We look forward to the return of the crow men.

Next: This Week in True Detective: 6/29/2015

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