True Detective S02 E02
Night Finds You
by Nikole Gunn
After the frustrating snail’s pace of the season opener, there is some good news (and surprises) in episode two. Thankfully, Night Finds You is a little more true to the form set by season one.
It’s still slow, or perhaps languid is a better description, but this episode contains more than just weighty character exposition. We’re starting to see the undercurrents as investigators Ray Velcoro (Colin Farrell), Ani Bezzerides (Rachel McAdams) and Paul Woodrugh (Taylor Kitsch) get to work.
And it’s clear there is more at play than just an investigation into the murder of Vinci city manager, Ben Caspar, who’s lying on a slab in the morgue with his eyes burned out by acid.
It’s a little more complicated than the formulaic shows like Law and Order and CSI, harkening back to the original series, where each week we peeled back the layers.
From the outset, each member of the investigating taskforce has their own agenda. The State’s Attorney General wants Woodrugh to collect information for a Grand Jury inquiry into the Vinci Police Department.
The Attorney General tells Bezzerides to try to ‘turn’ Ray; he could be useful in the probe into Vinci PD. It turns out the unfortunate Caspar’s death is a ‘window’ into everything.
Meantime, Detective Ray Velcoro has two masters to appease. The Vinci Mayor wants him to ‘control the flow of information’ and it prompts Ray to ask, “Am I supposed to solve this crime?” He may be a drunk and on the take, but he’s suspicious of the whole set up. He knows there’s more going on, but like us, he’s yet to find out.
He’s also in with crime lord on the rise, Frank Seymon (Vince Vaughan), who wants the inside running on the investigation into Caspar’s death.
Frank has a very vested interest on knowing who was responsible for Caspar’s death and he wants first crack at them. The city manager made off with $5,000,000 of his money that Frank had sunk into the transit land deal. He’s been left practically destitute and unable to make his growing payments to the Mayor.
He flexes his muscle and a journalist is beaten up under a Freeway fly-over. The same journalist who wrote a damning story about corruption within Vinci that may have prompted Caspar’s murder. Seymon just happens to be there, but not as a Good Samaritan.
He delivers a veiled threat “I wish we could figure out what you did. Some kind of behaviour; like mouthed off, made a gesture or you write a book about Vinci sweatshops. You oughtta take care”.
Meantime, a diary entry leads Ray and Ani to a clinic, where Caspar been seeing a psychiatrist who is vaguely familiar in a waxy-creepy way. Look closer and you’ll recognise him as Aussie rocker Rick Springfield, who’s looking more like Phil Spector minus the wigs than the singer of Jessie’s Girl.
We learn Ben Caspar had a sex problem/addiction and Frank has ‘played detective’ to come up an ‘off-the-books’ address in Hollywood, where Caspar would take his women.
He wants Ray to look for anything that relates to land-deals and offers him the chance to become Vinci police chief if he does the right thing. It’s a career opportunity Frank isn’t willing take up, not after Ani asked how corrupt he was.
But, Ray takes the address and without waiting for back up, he takes a look. He walks in to find a radio on, a sound proofed room and a camcorder still in record mode.
***** SPOILER ALERT ******
Ray is shot by someone wearing a full-on crow mask. Very True Detective Season One.
Is he dead? Was he set up by Frank? Was he the intended target? WTF??
Episode two is a vast improvement on the season opener although there is no denying it is still slow, perhaps we could ditch some of the many overhead shots of the LA freeway system?
The moodiness has been ramped up and the there are a few character revelations that may or may not play out in the remaining episodes:
· Frank had a traumatised childhood at the hands of a drunkard father, who’d leave him locked up in a cellar while he went on a bender. One time he was away for days and Frank was left in the dark with the rats.
· Ray’s ex-wife reveals he used to be a ‘good person’ but now he’s a ‘bad’ person whose son is scared of him. She’s going for sole custody.
· In the cult where Ani grew up, there were five kids. Two are in jail, two committed suicide and one became a detective. She also watches XXXX porn online. Rick Springfield’s psychiatrist also knows her father, the “Good People” cult leader.
· Paul Woodrugh has a problem with gays, but watches a male prostitute in fascination. His mother is stereotypical white trailer trash, while his girlfriend can no longer be with him.
The last five minutes of Night Finds You show there is still a lot to like about True Detective season two. May it continue for the next six episodes.