The second episode of the second season of True Detective aired last night, and if it is any indication by the final scene, we have no clue what is coming. As with each week, I will go through what transpired with each central character.
Frank Semyon (Vince Vaughn):
After viewing the first episode of the season, I was concerned that Semyon was going to be a hallow character played by an actor who should stick to comedy. This episode sought to dispel this notion, as the viewers do learn a lot about who Semyon is. While in bed with his wife, Semyon tells a tale about his alcoholic father who would go on benders and would lock Semyon in the basement when he was a little kid to protect him. On one of these benders, his dad is arrested and Semyon ends up locked in the basement with no light, no food, and rats crawling around the floor. It is clear that this still haunts Semyon today and drives him in his legal and illegal endeavors.
While originally it seems that Semyon lives a lavish lifestyle, we learn that the dead city manager held a good portion of his money when he died. This means that Semyon is having trouble paying his expenses. He decides to investigate the death of the city manager, though he of course is working outside of the law. Also, his weekly meetings with Velcoro continue and it is evident that the power in their relationship is more one sided with the pendulum swinging towards Semyon.
Paul Woodrugh (Taylor Kitsch):
We are learning more and more about Woodrugh each episode, but for some reason he still remains the biggest mystery. In the second episode we meet Woodrugh’s mom, who lives in a trailer home and appears to have some problems of her own. It seemed at first glance that maybe Woodrugh’s mom was another lover of his as she walks into the room wearing nothing but lingerie. It is probably by no mistake that their relationship starts with the false pretenses of incest. Their life has some dark memories that the show hasn’t begun to explore yet.
In an encounter with his girlfriend, we learn that Woodrugh was part of a security team called Black Mountain Security. In the previous episode it looked like Woodrugh was a war veteran. This is probably the case as the security firm he worked for sounds very similar to the real Blackwater Security, the security firm that committed the massacre in Iraq. It is indicated that there are allegations that Black Mountain Security committed war crimes as well. Look forward to learning more about his checkered past in the upcoming episodes.
Ani Bezzerides (Rachel McAdams):
Bezzerides does not occupy the screen for long, but we do learn some important details about her past. While investigating the death of the city manager, she meets a therapist at what seems like a Beverly Hills rehab and cosmetic surgery institution. She reveals to the therapist (who looks like he has gotten some cosmetic surgery of his own) that though her father is a spiritual leader, of her five siblings, two have been incarcerated, two have attempted suicide, and one is a police officer.
In another scene we see Bezzerides off the job investigating online prostitution websites looking for a connection with the death of the manager. It soon becomes clear that she may be looking for her own pleasure. In the previous episode there is a scene where Bezzerides is with a sexual partner who thinks what she is into is a little too kinky. It has yet to be explored what Bezzerides past experiences are with sex and if that influences her actions today.
And now the character that we all have been waiting for:
Ray Velcoro (Colin Farrell):
A major revelation about this character comes within an encounter with his former wife. After his actions in the last episode when his son’s shoes were stolen, Velcoro’s ex-wife tells him that she is filing for sole custody of her son. It is revealed that Velcoro’s aggression problem is well known to her and it is possible that he may have committed domestic violence towards her in the past. When Velcoro finds out he could lose his son, he is distraught. In one of the more memorable pieces of dialogue, he reveals that he knows he is a piece of shit, but his son was the only thing in his life that had meaning to it. It is also indicated that his ex-wife knows that he had a connection to the killing of her rapist years before.
Velcoro meets with the mayor of Vinci alone and again with Bezzerides. While alone, he asks if he is allowed to solve the murder of the city manager. It becomes evident that there is serious corruption in all aspects of Vinci government. Semyon also demands that Velcoro tell him all details about the murder of the city manager. Velcoro seems to be caught in an impossible situation. It seems though that he wants to be a good cop, but everyone around him wants him to succumb to their corruption.
In the shocker of the episode, Velcoro follows the orders of Semyon to look at a house in Beverly Hills. He breaks into the house, and finds animal masks on the walls. This seems to be a direct homage to the devil worshipers in the first season of True Detective. Velcoro thinks the home is vacant so he seems to let his guard down. He opens a bathroom door and sees a camera pointed at him. As he turns around he is ambushed by a man in an animal mask and shot with a shotgun, yes a SHOTGUN! TWICE! This was by far the most shocking scene and it is unclear what his fate is. Perhaps he was shot with a beanbag round to knock him unconscious. Perhaps he is dead and the writers have just been toying with us for months indicating that Collin Farrell was going to be in the entire season of True Detective.
This episode was slow for most parts but it did reveal a lot about each central character. The ending was sure to shock everyone and viewers will be waiting with bated breath for the next episode to air.