I Welcome Judgment: True Detective Season 2 Episode 3 “Maybe Tomorrow”


Dramatis Personae

Colin Farrell as Detective Raymond Velcoro, Vinci Police Department

Vince Vaughn as Frank Semyon criminal and entrepreneur

Rachel McAdams as Detective Antigone “Ani” Bezzerides of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department

Taylor Kitsch as Officer Paul Woodrugh of the California Highway Patrol

Season Plot:  Upheaval ensues when city planner Ben Casper disappears just days before he was supposed to present plans for a multi-billion dollar light rail project.  When he’s later found murdered by the side of the road, his eyes chemically burned out, the crime brings together a disparate group of characters including a corrupt Vinci city detective, a highway patrolman with a tormented past, a career criminal trying to go straight, and a County Sheriff’s department detective with a gambling problem.

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Review:  “Maybe Tomorrow”

Well I think we’re all relieved that Colin Farrell’s Detective Velcoro made it through last week’s attack unscathed.  Well, unless you count a few bruises and a pair of piss stained pants.  Turns out the shotgun shells were actually rubber pellets used for riots.  That in and of itself brings up an intriguing suggestion:  could the person who shot Ray be a cop?  And moreover, why use rubber pellets? Why not kill Velcoro outright?  Perhaps he’s meant to serve a different purpose we’re not privy to yet.

In the long run the attack on Velcoro may have been the best thing to happen to him.  Afterwards, it seemed like someone poured equal parts pissed off and determined into his body.  The scene where he once again meets up with Frank in the dive bar and essentially accuses Frank of setting him up was priceless.  His choice to forego alcohol in favor of water because it “keeps him angry” is just brilliant.  The simmering rage just beneath the surface is palpable.  It was the polar opposite of last week’s meeting where Velcoro came across submissive and resigned as Frank’s lackey.  Not so this time.  On a side note is it me or does it seem like all the significant moments take place in this bar between Frank and Ray?  Furthermore, I keep getting the sense that the scarred waitress who’s sweet on Ray is more than she seems.  Regardless, I’m pleased to see he made it, as Farrell’s Velcoro is far and away the best part of this season thus far.

Despite the show being one that has “detective” in the title, audiences hadn’t been exposed to any significant detective work until this episode.  The basics-following up on leads, pounding the turf, interviewing witnesses or potential witnesses–it comes to fruition in this episode.  From a law enforcement standpoint, there are two main storylines.  The first involves Ani and Paul exploring connections to Casper’s house.  The Catalyst company keeps popping up as they were the ones who leased Casper’s sex house and paid for the utilities.  One of those utilities happened to be the landline phone where Casper made multiple calls to (surprise surprise) the Mayor of Vinci.  Ani and Paul’s confrontation of the Mayor’s family goes about as well as you’d think.  What’s intriguing is that the Mayor’s wife sounds Russian, once again begging the question of how much involvement the Russian mob has in this matter.  On the other hand it could just be a red herring.  The Mayor’s son was as spoiled and arrogant as we’ve been promised.  No shocker there.  But the Mayor’s daughter–that’s a wildcard.  It’ll be interesting to see what role she has to play, if any.  It’s characters like the Mayor’s daughter that make “True Detective” frustrating and fascinating.  You never know what’s misdirection and what’s not.

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“Maybe Tomorrow” continues the trend of distrust between the various law enforcement factions involved.  The LA Sheriff’s department fell just short of suggesting to Ani that she sleep with Velcoro to gain his trust and take him down as a dirty cop.  Why though?  Seems like Casper’s murder would take precedence.  Unless someone is trying to set Velcoro up as a fall guy.  You have to admit that every aspect of his life both personally and professionally is ideal for a set up.  On the Vinci PD side of things they encourage Velcoro to steer the blame towards Tasha’s (one of Casper’s regulars) pimp.  Everyone has an angle here and this thing is  evolving past the point of a jurisdictional pissing contest.

With the venue for this season shifting to LA, it was only a matter of time before Hollywood became a player.  The new wrinkle being that the car that transported Ben Casper’s dead body was stolen from the set of a movie.  Said movie just happens to be run by the production company that Casper provided tax breaks to.  Again the money angle rears its head only this time the dollars are completely unrelated to the land deal that Frank and his people are involved in.  Velcoro and Ani soon discover that the director went to several of Casper’s parties.  It raises the question of whether or not someone from the production company could have murdered Casper.  And not for nothing but the photographer that Velcoro talked to on set came across extremely sketchy.  It doesn’t look like the Hollywood angle is a complete dead-end though.  This becomes obvious when Ani and Velcoro’s car is set on fire by the killer (?) just after they question someone who quit the production company.  I may be grasping at straws here but I wonder if Velcoro  tackled Ani to save her or to stop her from catching the perpetrator.  I swear this freakin’ show will make you paranoid.

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Paul meanwhile follows up the prostitute aspect, specifically Tasha a prostitute Casper was involved with and whose name keeps popping up again and again.  Paul is regulated to the side lines a bit in this episode.  It’s a shame too because I felt this was an episode where Kitsch’s character began to grow on me.  The scene where he meets up with his ex Army buddy (who also happens to be his fomer lover) brought an intensity from Paul’s character that we heretofore haven’t seen.  But why was Velcoro’s partner there watching him?  That’s what I want to know.  And where exactly are the writers going with the homosexual aspect of Paul’s life?  What real significance does it have on the story?  I sincerely hope there’s some relevance because at the moment it seems superfluous.

Paul’s exploits did uncover the fact that Casper liked to watch people have sex, the voyeuristic motif rearing its head again.  Could someone have found out about Casper’s fetishes and been blackmailing him?  Maybe not but I feel all parties involved are on the right track, except in this instance rather than “Follow the money” it’s “follow the hookers.”

What I’ve come to realize, is that Vaughn’s Frank Seymon has become a de facto detective as well.  Last week Seymon unearthed Casper’s hidden sex house.  Now his suspicions grow when Osep, the Russian mobster, suddenly has to go to Las Vegas to consult with his bosses about the potential land deal.  Frank speculates that if Osep whacked Casper, it would give him the perfect excuse to walk away.  However, that makes zero sense when you consider all the money to be made.  That is until Seymon finds one of his men, Stan, murdered with his eyes chemically burnt out.  Could Ben Casper’s murder be not about money, but rather about taking Frank Seymon’s and his empire down?  At base level Frank is a gangster.  In the criminal underworld it’s relatively common to piss off the wrong person.

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Ironically, despite all the detective work from this episode, I feel like “Maybe Tomorrow” just raised more questions.  I hate to use the cliché, “everyone is a suspect” but right now that’s really where the show finds itself. “True Detective” challenges the viewer to become a detective themselves, and despite my copious notes and focus when watching this episode, I can’t help feeling I missed something key.  That’s why this show almost requires re-watching.  It’s a blessing and a curse.  Although moreso the former than the latter.

Best Line:  Frank:  “There’s no part of my life not overwrought with live or die importance.  I take a shit, there’s a gun to my head saying, ‘Make it a good one!  Don’t fuck it up!'”

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Best Scene:  Easily the one where Frank puts a beating on Tasha’s pimp.  Pulling out his grill with pliers was a thing of beauty.

Rating:  On a scale of 0 to 10 Colin Farrell mustaches, “Maybe Tomorrow” rates an 8.

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