Review: True Detective Season Two, “Down Will Come.”


“What’s a hand usually out for?”

Let’s get this out of the way– the crow men are once again absent from True Detective. Sunday’s episode “Down Will Come,” doesn’t feature any major revelations in the Caspere case but does shake up the slow burn formula in several ways. This may have been the best episode of True Detective season two so far.

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“Down Will Come” catches our four leads continuing to come apart at the seams, but with a little more character depth to back it up. Nothing is working for Frank. That’s been well established, but this episode has him trying to hold onto what he can and actually making some headway. Frank is seen making several shakedowns in this episode, cutting a fierce figure without the use of violence.

Only the very clear threat.

When all is said and done Frank is actually getting a better hold on his situation, even if it means moving backwards to do it.

Also, what Frank did to the club owner’s teeth last episode is really getting around. Several characters mention it, with one off-handedly saying that “dental work’s expensive” in relation to the sugar that Frank puts in his coffee. But we know what he was really talking about. When all is said and done Frank is actually getting a better hold on his situation, even if it means moving backwards to do it.

Paul and Ray also have their own moments that make them more relatable. Until now, for the most part, True Detective characters have just been ultra-focused balls of anger. Or hate. Or pain. Really, just pick one. It’s great to finally spend a little more meaningful time with the characters. We learn that Ani’s mother died when she was twelve, and that Paul is actually a closeted homosexual. That puts his use of Viagra in the first episode in a different light.

It feels like a real moment, which is something that True Detective needs more of.

This is all meaningful development. Ani gets some great screen-time this episode, even if she wouldn’t quite agree with that sentiment. She’s now at the center of an internal investigation due to her relationship with a subordinate. “This would not be happening to a man,” she grumbles as her boss lays down the law. It feels like a real moment, which is something that True Detective needs more of.

Ani also spoke the most memorable line this episode, which is saying something since this episode of True Detective was filled with great lines. “Those moments, they stare back at you. You don’t remember them, they remember you,” she says to her sister about remember their mother. It’s haunting, and is spoken with just the right level of emotion so it doesn’t feel forced.

Paul and Ray have a one-on-one which goes as well as you’d expect. Neither one is stellar at emotion, but Ray cuts to the heart of the matter when he says that it’s all “just dust in your eyes, man.” Paul’s life is crumbling around him, and in order to keep afloat he proposes to his ex-girlfriend after she tells him that she’s pregnant. It’s a moment of pure desperation, and you can see it clearly; he’s far too eager and happy to create something lasting. He’s just trying to stay above water like everyone else.

Ray’s moment with his son might be the saddest scene of the season.

Ray’s moment with his son might be the saddest scene of the season. When handing his father’s badge to his son, Ray keeps mentioning how it’s for him to be remembered by. Ray is a terrible father, and mostly just confuses and scares his son. This interaction is no different, but has a definite sense of morbidity to it. Afterwards, Ray just disappears into the shadows.

Again, Ray is just another character trying hold onto something. Anything.

In a telling moment, Frank attempts to recruit Ray. But Ray’s not exactly the same person he was, and isn’t ready to take that leap. Ray is a dirty cop, but he’s now making strides to not be a terrible person. Previously Frank refer to Ray as a “burnout,” but he needs him completely on his side now.

And then there’s the shootout.

The shootout that goes completely wrong almost as soon as it begins and sees almost total fatality on both sides. The only survivors are Ray, Ani, and Paul. The three have been trying, desperately, to not fall apart. But there’s nothing they can do to stop it now. It’s a major action showdown, and acts as a devastating finale to the episode.

True Detective season two hasn’t really been about catching a murderer — it’s been about four characters standing before their own ruin. And now we’ve reached that point. True Detective season two has been a grim affair, and “Down Will Come” doesn’t offer any relief. But it does make the case that True Detective season two is finally coming together.

Next: This Week in True Detective: Week of 7/06/2015

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