True Detective Series Two continues in much the same that way it has been for weeks, and by that I mean barely at all.
Another week, another True Detective. You know the drill by now. We attempt to satisfy ourselves with the small scraps of plot they leave for us, do a character round up, we laugh, we cry, and by the end I like to imagine we’re all closer for it.
It certainly says something when my biggest criticism of the episode was that I think it needed more Paul. This week he settled into the role of Detective Obvious, repeating each easily noticeable fact while the police around him nodded at his brilliant intuition, and that was basically it. In fact the captain got into the role too, reiterating what sections each of them were to cover, just like that exact scene from last episode. This happens in the very beginning and largely sets the tone for what’s to come. Nothing new.
Frank’s story continues where it was left off with last week’s cliff-hanger. Truth be told I was relatively excited for this scene, as it’s the first actual sign of character tension so far in the show. Sure the characters have been put under tension, but from external forces, or secondary characters. This time it was two central characters, both determined to stay alive, regardless of what happens to the other. Instead the show once again displays its talent for dissipating tension like a cheap street magician, pocketing it for whenever he might think the audience is getting bored. Frank then continues his brutish campaign by consoling widows and children, before finally getting into a deal with a posse of rejected Breaking Bad villains.
Ray also has moments of consoling involving children. That is by consoling himself over how much of an awful child his son is by snorting immense amounts of cocaine. Thankfully, as we all know, drugs make everything alright, and with this small life-threatening push he’s able to realize that he has literally no obligation to this child, and that all of his problems are entirely down to the little life-sucker.
Oh, right, we’re already at the big episode ending. That was quick. To read I mean. To watch this took way too long. Ami gets the chance to recreate the intro scene to The Social Network, as she finally attempts to infiltrate one of those “parties”, a development that, again, should have happened several episodes ago. The entire scene is split into two parts. The first part in which the creators believe that ‘orgy’ means a blind date style dinner party, where the twist is that the girls are drugged while bond villain talks happen in secret side rooms. Then, as Ami begins to trip, someone on the crew googled what the word actually meant and sounded the “HBO ALARM” meaning that they had to suddenly become edgy, raw, and with a lot of nudity and awkward eye contact.
Now amidst all my jokes, I have to admit that, for a moment, the show once again showed a slither of promise. Finally revealing Ami’s past, and thus the entire reasoning behind her character, could have been one of the stronger moments for the show, were the rest of the sequence held to a similar quality. Unfortunately it was used as the half way point between soirée and swingers, and if anything made a mockery of what could have been an emotional moment for the character. The entire last quarter of the episode is devoted to this scene and is set to the cheesiest melo-noir music possible.
Meanwhile as this is happening, Ray and Paul complete some Pink Panther style antics in order to steal the secret documents, which Paul astutely points out have signatures on. The team nods appreciatively for his input.
I’m failing to have an opinion on this episode besides confusion, both for what is actually happening in the disjointed plot, and for how the people behind it could have screwed up so much.
True Detective airs on Sky Atlantic on Monday at 9pm.