TV Review: 'True Detective' Season 2 (Finally) Heats Up


The wearisome second season might have finally found a pulse with an episode-ending shootout that saw the series picking up major steam. The scene was heavily reminiscent of season one’s impressively choreographed standoff in episode four. It is hopefully a sign this season has found the jumpstart it needs to gain some forward momentum.

On a character level, there was similar headway. It was announced that Ani’s in-office hookups are being investigated as sexual harassment, making the two-tone-haired detective very angry. Her assertion that she was being picked on because she’s a woman personally fell on deaf ears as there’s been no evidence that a male detective behaving the same as she has been given a free pass.

It just felt like an excuse/scapegoat for her bad judgment. The truth is her behavior is being used against her for a personal vendetta devoid of gender bias. Her life growing up in the New Age commune was explored a little more with the revelation that her mother died when she was young, leaving a devastated Ani furious. It seems her past potentially holds great significance to the case and its victim.

Paul’s dalliance with the war buddy he’d rebuffed towards the end of last week’s show opened the episode. Following his recollection of the previous night, Paul dashed out of the house to wander the streets, only to find a swarm of reporters at his place, asking questions about his work on that covert military endeavor that’s been mentioned before. As the season’s biggest enigma, Paul’s varying layers are finally coming into sharper focus. Whether he will ever come to grips with the many truths he’s trying to deny in his life, only time will tell.

Elsewhere, Ray visited his dad and bid a farewell (or maybe a “see you later”) to his son. While Frank and his wife dealt with their fertility issues. As it turns out, Frank is going through both professional and personal crises. Parent/child relationships were one of the themes of the evening. Ray’s fraught relationship with his son, Ani’s with her father, Paul's learning about his impending fatherhood through his ex-girlfriend, and Frank’s desperation to have a child all provide a common link between these very disparate souls. What it, if anything, it all means is open to interpretation.

Side Notes / Burning Questions: Will Paul ever find peace? Will Ani ever assume personal accountability for the role she’s played in digging herself into the hole she’s in? Does Ray’s kid like him or not? His reaction to Ray’s kindhearted gesture was very confusing.

What is Ani’s problem with the rest of the world? Is the show getting better, or have expectations adjusted themselves to a more realistic level? This season’s meditative dialogue is failing to land with the same conviction as last year’s. Most of that has to do with it being an ill fit for the character’s espousing it.