The detectives begin what appears to be an ill-fated investigation into the murder of Ben Casperre while Semyon scrambles to solidify his position. The episode ends in shocking fashion leading the heads of Internet pop culture writers everywhere to explode as though having been sprayed with buckshot.
Spoilers after the jump.
I want to talk about the ending because that was obviously by far the most and indeed perhaps the only significant event of this episode with Detective Velcoro getting double-tapped by a shotgun-wielding weirdo in a crow mask. I have a hard time believing that Colin Farrell would get top billing with his name in the opening credits sequence and all the pub only to be killed off in two episodes. There must be SAG rules against that kind of thing, otherwise what is the point of them? Then of course, there's this. So nice try Nicky P, but I'm not buying what you're selling just yet.
So my first assumption would be that Bird Boy is an insider on Semyon's organization seeing as he knows about Casperre's second home, Casperre holding on to Semyon's money and presumably that Semyon would be sending a talented investigator over to said house. In all honesty though, the show and this episode in particular is a little difficult to follow.
I can appreciate that this show is super genre-y with its incredibly heavy, dark tone, the slow drumbeat and arid filters but at some point it all just gets rather silly, especially when someone as important as Semyon is so miscast. I'm having a lot of trouble believing in Vince Vaughan. When he gets angry and up in a guys face threatening him it feels real. Everything else though, especially laying in bed attempting to sounds profound just sounds so off. The florid prose he has worked so hard to memorize does not exactly roll off his tongue but maybe it's not even his fault. I bet it would work great in a book. For a TV mini-series I'm not convinced - the world has changed and you need the levity.
The dense plotting has left Woodrugh on the outside looking in, his story not really fitting into the main puzzle. A lot about him is still a mystery whereas we have had a taste of what is motivating or in Velcoro's case not motivating the other main characters, there's not much insight into Woodrugh's mind - apart from the very obvious implication that he is gay. This is hinted at by the incredibly awkward encounter with someone I presume to be his mother or step-mother, his insistence on sounding as homophobic as possible when chatting with his colleague and his lingering gaze on a young dude in a tank top.
There's also his inability to get it up for his Hispanic babe girlfriend and in retrospect his unwillingness to accept sexual favors from the hot blondie actress. Girlfriend Andrea talks about his membership of a group called the Black Mountain Security who did "things" which sounds very ominous. I wonder if a guy having problems with erectile dysfunction would be angry enough to blast a guy he's torturing in the crotch with a shotgun? Just a crazy theory. Probably not even remotely close.
The narrative was jumping all over the place this week with no time to build atmosphere or properly introduce characters though I did notice Brianna Barksdale in the house along with two (or three?) Asian guys with speaking roles which is pretty stunning even though they're both minor parts. Rachel McAdams as Detective Bezzarides also continues to shine despite being hampered with the convoluted, unnecessary back story. There's a touch of Karen Sisco about her on top of the detached depravity that seems especially promising and will keep me watching.
I will reiterate though that I'm crossing my fingers no romantic subplot emerges between her and Velcoro. In the unlikely event that he is actually dead that would obviously simplify matters but assuming he is alive I also hope, probably in vain, that he can course correct and become a decent father figure if only because goddammit, everyone single one of these characters has a terrible father. That's almost a noir prerequisite but surely there must be some light at the end of tunnel, even if it is the sterile California sun.
"True Detective" airs Sundays on HBO at 9:00pm EST.