True Detective: The Western Book of the Dead

After a lot of pondering over what would take the spot of Game of Thrones for my Monday posts, it all suddenly became very obvious to me. For one, HBO has the best television shows of anyone at the moment (with Netflix surprisingly right behind them). Two, I don’t have cable, so it’s hard for me to keep up on schedule with TV shows as they air, but I am paying for HBO Now (it’s great, seriously. And Showtime will be following in their footsteps. We’re recreating television and I love it!) so I can keep up with HBO shows as they go live. And lastly, True Detective is a great show, so why wouldn’t I want to watch it every week and write about it?

So, for the next 10 weeks, I’ll be coming at you with my “reviews” of True Detective. Although, now that I’ve watched the premiere last night, I’ve realized that I may have made a terrible mistake. I had forgotten how dense, complicated, and confusing this show is, not to mention slow to get started. I didn’t even finish season 1 of True Detective, as it was intriguing, but a bit too slow for my tastes.

After the season 2 premiere last night, I’m worried that this new season will be slow to pick up as well, and with a different director than season 1, I’m even worried that it may not pick up speed at all.

I have every intention of finishing season 1, don’t you worry. And after seeing all the amazing trailers for season 2, I was so excited! But last night’s episode was just… wow, there was a lot going on there. So, let me try to make sense of this all and get the foundation of this season started!

Ray Velcoro, played by Colin Farrell is just… wow. Seriously disturbed man there. From the beginning, I felt for him. I thought, ‘now there’s a guy who is deserving of nice things.’ His wife was raped and beaten and had a kid that wasn’t even his own, yet he raised him and is out looking for the man who hurt his wife so that he can find justice. But then it very, very quickly spiraled out of control. Turns out, this man is a mess. He’s an alcoholic, he snorts coke in public, he bribes his lawyer, he violently and aggressively yells at his son and beats up people with brass knuckles, he kills the guy who may or may not have raped his wife, and there’s a chance he kidnapped and killed Caspere for money and in return for information from a mobster. All in one episode. And now he’s been put on the case of figuring out who kidnapped and killed Caspere, so it will be interesting to see how that all plays out. Plus, there’s always the chance that he didn’t actually kill Caspere, although that’s definitely how it looks right now. So, with Detective Velcoro, we have our first corrupted law enforcer/detective.

Ani Bezzerides, played by Rachel McAdams, seemed pretty all right from the start, as well. Turns out, she leans pretty heavily on alcohol as well, has some major daddy issues (seriously, guys? That’s the best you can come up with for a female character?), and is coping with a sister who is doing pornography now (which she awkwardly busted up due to some false information). Bezzerides seems honest enough, as far as cops go, so she’s probably less corrupted than Velcoro. But I see her character going one of two ways- she’ll either be the cop to bust Velcoro and bring justice to the department, or she’ll figure out Velcoro’s game and get in on it, becoming corrupt as well. Out of the cast, Bezzerides has my attention more than anyone else, and I’m actually pretty eager to see how her story and character develops.

Paul Woodrugh, played by Taylor Kitsch, is a hot mess. He accepted a blowjob from a girl who was recklessly driving while high, can’t get it up for his girlfriend, and attempted suicide by motorcycle. My best guess? He’s gay. While he’s probably the least corrupted of the police officers in his department, he’s still a mess. And gay. Most definitely gay. Just you wait.

And then we have mobster Frank Semyon, played by Vince Vaughn, who is pretty much in charge of this city, from what I can tell. He’s running some sort of scheme involving a high speed railroad running through California, and he may or may not have ordered the hit on Caspere. And it seems as though he’s pretty much got the police wrapped around his finger as well… maybe… I think. Seeing Vince Vaughn as a bad guy is actually pretty great. I never doubted his acting, but it’s no secret that he has mostly starred in comedic roles. But he’s pulling off the dark, manipulative bad guy pretty seamlessly- so props to you, man!

So, there we have our core characters for this season. As for the plot that will carry these characters through the season… I haven’t a clue. Corruption in the police force, mobsters practically running the city, solving the case of the murder/kidnapping of Caspere… I suppose those will be the main points we hit on this season. But for now, I’ll just have to wait until next week to hopefully piece everything together a bit more succinctly.


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