True Detective Season 2, Episode 5 Review

Other Lives

Warning:  This review contains spoilers.

The fifth episode of True Detective’s second season takes place three months after the brutal final scene from last week. You could be forgiven for thinking you’d accidentally skipped over an episode because a lot has gone down in those three months. Things are getting tighter for the Semyons, they’ve downgraded houses and Frank is getting back into the gangster business. As for the detectives, they are no more, Velcoro has quit, Bezzerides is in evidence lock up and Woodrugh has stepped up to take their place.

I was quite surprised by the three month jump and whether the decision was made to speed up the story I cannot tell since there is a definite feel of a mid-season lull to this episode. Everyone has slowed down and the State Attorney is happy to believe Caspere’s killer died in the shoot-out, even when the investigation picks up again everything is on the hush-hush. The reveal that Semyon may have set Velcoro up is the saving grace of the entire episode and it leads to quite a gripping cliffhanger.

Depression, monotony and personal drama is the key to showing off a casts’ acting chops and this week Colin Farrell really pulled out all the stops. Without the help of his moustache, Farrell gives a stellar performance, especially when it comes to the scene where Velcoro realises his whole life may have been ruined for nothing. Velcoro has “gone clean” for his son and Farrell seamlessly delivers a more sober performance that shows how hard Velcoro is trying to get back on track. It’s either that or he looks more presentable without a moustache, I can’t tell.

scare chairAnother scene that was quite reminiscent of season one was the discovery of the terrifying lair of the crow master. I maintain my opinion that the murders from True Detective could be fit quite easily in a Criminal Minds episode. Nonetheless, tying the two crimes together is an attractive if obvious idea and I am still interested in the murder plotline. The relationship between the three cops is another aspect of the show that has been notched up a level of intrigue this episode. When compared to the bond between Cole and Hart from last season, it can be seen as both stronger and weaker depending on how you look at it. Velcoro and Bezzerides are the closest of the trio and their relationship makes for an interesting dynamic, I just hope Nic Pizzolatto doesn’t plan on taking their relationship further.

Fans of the first season may enjoy this episode more than previous ones this time around since this is essentially the deep episode. Superfluously ambitious vocabulary and eloquent metaphors are strewn around the hour like lovers’ clothes are thrown across the bedroom. Basically, big words and similes. One scene in particular, when the Semyons are talking about their prospects of a child again in what seems to be the quietest nightclub office ever. It’s nice enough but as I’ve said before, this is the weakest of the plotlines and these kind of scenes don’t go much in the way of furthering the story.

One thing that I have been quite impressed by this entire series has been Rachel McAdams’ hair. Deputy Head Hair, Patricia DeHaney (yes, I looked her name up in the credits) and her team of hairstylists have done an amazing job of making McAdams’ hair look as shitty as possible. It may be a minor detail but I think it’s quite fitting to her character and it’s a nice change from the norm, when every single person on TV has effortlessly amazing hair. Don’t worry Velcoro, I haven’t forgotten you, your hair looks like arse as well.

shit hairAll in all, this isn’t the worst episode of the series, neither is it the best. There’s not too much to talk about since things have slowed down for this episode. A few notable things have happened, namely the Velcoro/Semyon stand-off. While, a few dull things happened as well(since they are boring, there’s really no point mentioning them). I’m still watching for the resolution to both the cliffhanger and the murders but I’m less impressed by the personal dramas. Woodrugh’s secret sexuality was specially dull this episode and I wouldn’t be sad to see it trail off into oblivion. Shall we end with a quote? I don’t have one prepared but I can scrub through randomly to see what turns up…”Frank, thanks for coming”.

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