I Welcome Judgement: True Detective Season 2 Episode 4 “Down Will Come”


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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Episode Review:  WOW.  This episode was like a deceptive moonshine, one that starts off slowly and then finishes with a strong resounding kick.  To the teeth.  With steel toed boots.  But before we talk about the splendid dessert that was the climax of “Down Will Come” let us focus on the veggies first.

Of course once again we are subjected to Jordan and Frank’s tiresome debate over reproducing.  What once began as an empathetic subplot is quickly growing tiresome.  It’s patently obvious that Jordan wants a child much more than Frank does.  I don’t know if it’s because of his childhood, and frankly I’ve stopped caring  One slightly intriguing thing about this exchange however was Jordan referencing an “operation.”  Could this possibly be an abortion?  Furthermore, what exactly is Jordan’s back story?  We know almost nothing about her.

In any event Frank’s psychology is way more fascinating than Jordan’s conception struggles.  He’s fully immersed himself back in the game, renewing old drug contacts with mobsters running a “pastry” shop, construction scams, and prostitution via the new club he just acquired.  He’s bound and determined to get back on top immediately, to the point of paranoia.  I mean good Lord he basically accused one of his guys of consorting with Osip and the Russian mob and his wife of cheating on him with an ex, a guy he hopes to cajole into being a business partner.  While it’s interesting, I’m starting to question why is this happening?  Yeah I get the money motivation but doesn’t it seem like Vaughn’s character has become a little too villainous.  I felt that with the initial introduction of Seymon we were getting a multilayered character.  Lately every action Frank takes just seems like an opportunity to twist his metaphorical black mustache.

On the flip side of things, as Frank’s characters diminishes, Paul’s character ascends.  This was the first episode where I was finally impressed with Taylor Kitsch.  To have him wake up in a strange apartment of another man he hooked up with and then to see the shame and guilt in his face in the taxicab–that was emotionally powerful.  And what a terrific bro moment between Velcoro and Paul in the car later on.  That line where Farrell says, “You’re a survivor.  Everything else is just dust in your eyes.  Blink it away man” gave me chills.  Even though Farrell doesn’t know that Paul is gay he sees Paul for exactly what he is–a survivor.  My concern is how does this play out for Paul professionally?  Suppressing something like this just invites an emotional breakdown and with the crime he, Velcoro, and Ani are investigating that’s a bomb with a lot of potential blowback.  The fact that he proposes to his estranged girlfriend after finding out she’s pregnant doesn’t help things much either.  And will his sexuality have any tie in to this mysterious Black Mountain outfit that we keep hearing about?

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As each show progresses, the dynamic between Velcoro and Ani continues to impress.  Velcoro finally verbalized what I’ve been saying for weeks:  these guys are being set to be the fall guys.  If a violent drunk can connect the dots, it’s funny that neither Paul or Ani have been able to put that together.  What’s surprising is how Velcoro can’t see that the same situation applies to  himself.  Maybe he feels he’s too protected by Frank but if that’s the case I think he’s gravely mistaken.

Furthermore, it seems the more that Ani and Ray follow-up on the mayor angle, the farther down the rabbit hole they go.  Chessani and Caspere both had dealings in Fresno land wise.  The land is environmentally a disaster, but that’s of small importance considering how valuable the land is to the fast rail development.   Also this week we discover that Doctor Pitlor was not only treating Ben Caspere but he also treated Mayor Chessani’s deceased wife.  Chessani’s wife suffered from schizophrenia and killed herself in the hospital.  Even stranger, Ani’s father saw Caspere at his commune and knew both Chessani’s father and Dr Pitlor at one time.  Ani, Eliot, Caspere, Pitlor, Chessani–this whole situation is becoming  more convoluted that a Targaryen family tree.  And right now I have no idea how deep the roots go.

My theory that Paul, Ani, and Ray are all being set up to be fall guys gained some traction when Ani’s boss writes her up for sexual misconduct.  I thought, “Well they’ve got Paul and Ani wrapped up.  How are they going to get Velcoro?”  In fact until about the last ten minutes of the show I was waiting for the other mustache to drop for Velcoro.  The hair follicles did drop just not the way I was expecting and not just for Velcoro.

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It’s no secret that the state wants this case wrapped up quickly, so when a Mexican drug lord got linked to some of Caspere’s stolen property it seemed perfect; a nice little bow to wrap around a scumbag gangster.  At least until the raid on the Mexican gang’s place of business.  Then the whole thing turned into a scene right out of Die Hard.  That final shootout sequence was about as intense as anything you’ll see on television. With every passing minute, the show producers upped the ante.  Velcoro’s partner’s head gets blown off, then the building explodes, then the Mexicans take hostages.  In the end several cops and civilians are dead and (conveniently) so are all the suspects.  This whole situation screamed of a set-up. The Mexicans KNEW the cops were coming.  From a logical perspective, it’s the perfect scenario for whoever is masterminding this thing.  Either Paul, Ray, and Ani all get taken out and their suspicions die with them, or they kill all the suspects and are branded hero cops.  Why use the stick if you have the carrot?  Perhaps the person or persons behind the curtain are hoping this carrot will be enough to put them off the case.  At the very least it’s left these three traumatized.  I mean did you see these three when the dust settled?  They all lost their collective shit!  Can anyone say PTSD?

Honestly, up until the last ten minutes of the show I was really starting to have my doubts about this year.  I thought perhaps the naysayers were right.  But the ending of “Down Will Come” has piqued my interest 1000%.

Best Line:  “Those moments, they stare back at  you.  You don’t remember them.  They remember you.”

Best Scene:  Hands down the one between Paul and Velcoro in the car where Ray reminds Paul he’s a survivor.

On a scale of 0 to 10 Colin Farrell mustaches this episode rates:  8.5

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