True Detective: Season 2 Episode 4 – TV Review

(Writen for Filmoria)

This week’s explosive episode, ‘Down Will Come‘, gets the pace of second series of True Detective back up to speed, as we’re left with a heap of dead bodies and only three detectives left standing. Nothing is going to be the same after this, that’s for sure, as the three leads in the series find themselves in a situation that isn’t going to be easy to get out of.

Down Will Come‘ finally sees some of the clues in the Caspere case add up, leading to the detectives uniting forces to arrest a suspect, a man who pawned some of Caspere’s jewelry, and finally get some answers. Or at least that was the plan.

The raid doesn’t go as well as expected, and after an energetic final fifteen minutes, things couldn’t be worse for the trio, and answers couldn’t be more far off.

But the fast-paced drama was needed. After being drowned with information and characters and the introduction of different gangs and possible suspects or acquaintances – all with little detail, just a lot of names and faces – with the first three episodes, ‘Down Will Come‘ kicks the series back into gear with a much-needed mass shoot-out, bring the pace of the series back up to a speed that we can get back on board with.

There’s still a lot going on, but things are starting to come together in this latest episode. Connections are being made, relationships are being uncovered, and it seems that Vinci is a much smaller place than the stunning landscape shots suggest.

Still, so much remains a blur, and even though a lot happens in this latest episode it’s still hard to decipher where it’s really going.

The writers and director had a lot to prove with this episode, with the unavoidable comparisons going to be made with episode four of the first series, ‘Who Goes There‘. The comparison forces us to ask, “Is this new series going anywhere?” The efforts are certainly being put in, but does an impressive final scene make up for a somewhat disappointing story progression in the rest of the series so far?

Down Will Come‘ starts to convince us that the new series does have somewhere much bigger to go.

Taylor Kitsch opens up the episode excellently, as, for the first time in the series so far, he’s given the chance to do some real acting. We knew that it was coming, and we knew that he was going step up to the levels of the rest of the cast at some point, so it was great to see Kitsch given the screen-time to show us why he’s a character that we should be interested in.

Last week we were clued into some of Paul’s past, and this week we got to meet somebody from it, allowing us to start putting his character together much better and even start sympathising with him for the first time.

As Paul becomes somebody who we could find ourselves really invested in, Ani (Rachel McAdams) also has some great character developments in this episode, as we were informed that she was being put on suspension for having an inappropriate relationship with one of her deputy’s. We still don’t know much about what’s led her to make her recently poor choices in life, but we’re once again reminded that she wants to live her life and she sees fit, and she couldn’t care less about what anybody else thinks. And there’s nothing wrong with that, but if you want to get some petty pay-back (like the Major) then her past makes some hefty leverage against her.

The characters are all becoming more and more interesting as the series goes on, but whilst this is the series’ biggest quality so far, I’m also finding it to be the series’ biggest weakness. Why? Because I’m so interested in the characters and their individual lives, that the case and the murder have become almost irrelevant.

Unlike the first series, the murder doesn’t have the same edge or intensity to it to peak the same amount of interest, and instead the mystery has taken a back-seat to the individual character stories.

I’d rather find out more about their past than see the story move forward at this point, which is why episode four betters itself from episode three. Last week’s episode had too much focus on Frank (Vince Vaughn) and his mobster goings-ons, as his actions attempted to dig up more information about those involved in the murder.

Frank’s separate life from the detectives does give us a lot of additional information to the case, and the scenes of Frank and Ray in their meet up place are always captivating, but his story on its own is quite lifeless, and takes a lot of the excitement and curiosity away from the stories we want to be exploring more.

That being said, this week’s episode puts the focus back to where it should be, giving us a lot more insight into the lives of the ‘true detectives’ – Ray, Ani, and Paul.

And as the episode ends with the three of them standing in shock and filled with regret, things can only go up from here.

True Detective airs on Mondays at 9pm on Sky Atlantic HD.

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