Last week’s episode of not only got off to a slow start (albeit with a big, gory reveal at the end) but as a complete reboot of the show required us all to readjust our expectations of what this show is.
Now we know the new characters, we know the new mystery they’re working to solve and we’re getting use to this new desert location and its less-charming accents. Although, to be honest, I wish this season was also set in Louisiana/East Texas. Not only is the latter where I grew up, but the poetry of how Nic Pizzolatto wrote dialog for the first season’s characters (not to mention his novel, Galveston) was a big part of the draw.
Related: Recap of True Detective Season 2, Episode 1
But never mind all that. We’re in California and giving this week a fresh start. No more comparisons to last season…well, except for the philosophical dialog, which seems like fair game. When we left them, Velcoro, Bezzerides and Woodrugh were having their first meeting at the gruesome crime scene of the Dead City Manager (every single recap spelled this guy’s name differently so henceforth we will know him thusly, although his name comes out of every single person’s mouth in the “previously on” recap) with the implication that the detecting is about to begin.
But rather than deal with our anti-hero cops from the jump, we start with philosopher and mobster Frank Semyon (Vince Vaughn). And here we come to the first problem of the evening. In Pizzolatto style, we take the long dialog road to get to the information that Semyon was an abused child with a drunk father and those primitive live experiences make him feel like his current life might be a lie: the money, the very nature of existence come into question for him. It’s the kind of dialog that works for a character in a Faulkner novel and generally for the kind of man on the verge of self-realization that Pizzolatto likes to write, but it is not particularly written in the cadence of a person who resides in lovely Southern California. Not even the backwoods parts. For me, that’s what makes this monologue disingenuous.
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Although I think you should at least make an effort to win HAD, the one who poisoned Rip was Bunny Littlest. She was jealous that Rip had "his hands over all the other girls", even though they "weren't nearly as pretty as her".