True Detective: The Western Book Of The Dead
June 21, 2015 7:00 PM - Season 2, Episode 1 - Subscribe

 
Who was singing in the bar scene?
posted by signal at 7:05 PM on June 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


Whoops, found it in the last link the post, it's Lera Lynn’s “This Is My Least Favorite Life”.
posted by signal at 7:07 PM on June 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


Just finished. Meh. Y'all change my mind
posted by pearlybob at 7:21 PM on June 21, 2015


I liked it. It's over the top - sure, but it's genre fiction. I like the set-ups, and I thought the direction was very good for this episode.

Also, "going straight"? A guy who's (at least) in a sex cult with a raven mask on the seat next to him, ends up with his eyes acidded out and his dick cut off? A possibly hallucinatory tiny woman swimming in a bowl of milk? The cult from the end of Mad Men? Come on, there's promise there.
posted by codacorolla at 7:40 PM on June 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


Too much going on to get really hooked, unlike S1. I will keep watching and hope I start caring about these characters soon.
posted by Requiax at 7:40 PM on June 21, 2015


Vince Vaughn distracts me.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:51 PM on June 21, 2015


Wait there's another season of Fargo?
posted by turbid dahlia at 8:04 PM on June 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


Well, that was a whole lot of drunk cops driving to that crime scene.
posted by lydhre at 8:07 PM on June 21, 2015 [23 favorites]


Collin Farrell is Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call Los Angeles.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 8:11 PM on June 21, 2015 [10 favorites]


I didn't realize Justin Lin was involved in this. Director of Fast and/or Furious numbers three through six (and director of the upcoming Star Trek film).
posted by brundlefly at 8:12 PM on June 21, 2015


Sigh, you guys. Sigh. I don't know about this.
posted by agregoli at 8:13 PM on June 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I'll stick with it for a bit but so far nothing is grabbing me.
posted by brundlefly at 8:14 PM on June 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


Eh. I'll give it time. Plenty of things that I end up liking (The Wire!) don't grab me the first episode.
posted by gaspode at 8:29 PM on June 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


Seems like my HBO Sundays have come to an end for now. Damn, it's going to be a long summer.
posted by cazoo at 8:34 PM on June 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


I liked it. The tone was pretty good, matching to the first season pretty well only with this setting now. This episode was just a whole lot of setup though. Like wall to wall setup. Which is fine, it's the first episode. I like Colin Farrell and Rachel McAdams a lot so far, they seem very well cast. Not sold on Kitsch just yet but he didn't have much to do beside wind tunnel face. Vince Vaughn is the big question mark for the season, he's either going to be perfect or the biggest misstep ever. I do like that he's a big part of the story and not a cop, though. Basically, I like what they're keeping from season 1 and what they're changing, at least so far.

Also, I thought the raven mask was in front on the passenger seat? Not sure who that means would have been wearing it. Super weird floaty woman in milk though.
posted by dogwalker at 8:36 PM on June 21, 2015


I'm willing to give anything "Starring Los Angeles" a shot. I was a little confused about the fictional city and how it fit into the fabric of Southern California. Apparently Vinci is based on the real-life city of Vernon. I guess they changed the names to protect the innocent.

So far though, only one of the cops is anything approaching likeable, unlike last season.
posted by ob1quixote at 8:39 PM on June 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


There are CRT monitors and digital voice recorders -- and cross-California high-speed rail. What year is it? (There seem to be contemporary cars, and some LCD screens. Maybe it's deliberately ambiguous.)
posted by paper chromatographologist at 8:40 PM on June 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


I really like the setting so far, despite having some apprehensions about it when they announced they were doing LA. I think this is distinct enough to be more than just another LA cop story. Factory farms, nondescript industrial lots, miles and miles of freeway, nowhere towns that exist as drug fronts.

Also, I thought the raven mask was in front on the passenger seat? Not sure who that means would have been wearing it. Super weird floaty woman in milk though.

Very possible that I misread the scene. It makes more sense that way, actually. All of the car stuff with the low, brooding jazz instrumental was great, though. I liked the little nod of the focus on the sign for Mulholland Drive as the unknown driver with the raven mask is driving off with the blinded corpse.
posted by codacorolla at 8:45 PM on June 21, 2015 [1 favorite]




Alan Sepinwall, Has True Detective Fallen Victim To The Sophmore Slump?
It's twice as many main characters as last time, each with a conflicting agenda, and the supporting cast is more robust and prominent — and, like last year, features a bunch of familiar HBO faces like W. Earl Brown (Velcoro's partner), Ritchie Coster (the perpetually, epically drunk mayor of Vinci), James Frain (one of Velcoro's commanding officers), Michael Hyatt (a state prosecutor investigating Vinci corruption), and David Morse (a local New Age guru). Pizzolatto endured many complaints last season that Rust and Marty were the only well-defined characters, but there was also something to be said for that streamlined narrative and the intense focus it allowed on those two men.

For that matter, that there's a woman among the four leads — and that Kelly Reilly, playing Frank's wife Jordan, gets more to do in the early going than Michelle Monaghan did a year ago — feels like a response to criticisms that Pizzolatto didn't write women well, or at all. That he deliberately makes Bezzerides someone who has shed as much of her femininity as possible to survive in a very male, violent world — "Fundamental difference between the sexes," she tells Velcoro, "is one can kill the other with his bare hands" — is itself a familiar and well-honored piece of police fiction (see also Kima on "The Wire"), but it also plays as an easy way for Pizzolatto to incorporate a woman into his usual fascination with masculinity.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:59 PM on June 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


What year is it? (There seem to be contemporary cars, and some LCD screens. Maybe it's deliberately ambiguous.)

One of the license plates had a registration sticker that would expire in December 2014, so it's probably set fairly current (aside from flashbacks of course).

Internally for this episode though, I'm not sure how much time has passed. Caspere had been missing for a couple days but how long were they driving him around for? That whole time? Or he just sat at Point Mugu for a couple days? Also, it felt like at least week between when Velcoro first dropped of his son at school in the opening until he went to give him the sleeping bag at school later.

Obviously, time is a flat circle and all that, but for an opening episode like this it would have been helpful to clarify it a bit.
posted by dogwalker at 9:04 PM on June 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


I can't tell if it's me that changed or what, exactly. I started watching the first season four or so in after it'd started airing because it'd started eating Twitter for an hour every week. The first season brought me around very quickly on what ended up being a fairly standard noir-y cop plot via some strong acting, unusual story structure and interesting but not showy directing. (That massive one-take doesn't feel flashy/"LOOK AT ME" to me, it's the best way to put you in the moment in that scene but just happens to be super hard to pull off.)

This... Was generally well-crafted dog crap. Maybe I'm just burnt out in stuff that's so much about MAN FEELS, but come on. It goes from zero to the rape of a woman being about a man's pain in, like, two minutes.

I tweeted earlier before it aired that I was worried that with season two Pizzolatto would turn out to be the kid that plays with a slinky for a while and then straightens it, taking away what was weird and cool about his new toy. This premiere did nothing to assuage that at all. I hope it goes somewhere better.
posted by sparkletone at 9:48 PM on June 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


Should've said well-filmed dog crap, to be more accurate. Also, forgot to say the one thing I did like: that song being covered in the bar at the end was really pretty.
posted by sparkletone at 10:00 PM on June 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


That didn't do much for me, but like others have said this was the setup episode. It's not a good start when none of the characters really catch my interest, though. Now that the introductions are out of the way we'll see if the story is any good. The first season was excellent up until the ending, so I'm willing to give it some time.
posted by homunculus at 10:12 PM on June 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


After watching it for a second time, I am cautiously optimistic. I like the music choices, the scenesetting , the actors, the ambiguous motivations. I really like how they are going into the crazy patchwork quilt of municipalities in LA County. While the highways and refineries are obvious choices (and I hope we see less of them), they still move me. I hope we get up into the mountains,or the high desert.

I do agree with the critique of Bezzerides from Sepinwall. Let's see where it goes.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:23 PM on June 21, 2015


You gotta like how the three strung out ghouls of cops shared a "fuck me" look at the end.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:58 PM on June 21, 2015 [10 favorites]


In before episode 2 opens with them walking around the corpse communicating only in expletives looping, cosmic proclamations.
posted by sparkletone at 1:29 AM on June 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


This is the first stretch in ages where HBO has had nothing I particularly care to watch. Unless TD picks up, I mean. Ballerz? The Brink? Ugh. Perhaps they've gotten complacent. They can't all be great, I guess.
posted by Justinian at 3:37 AM on June 22, 2015


Too much going on to get really hooked, unlike S1. I will keep watching and hope I start caring about these characters soon.

Yeah, seriously. I missed the first 3 minutes or so, and then spent the whole rest of the episode that I did see wondering if there was some critical information in those opening 3 minutes that would make any of this shit make sense. Sometime around the 10th clearly important character to show up, my wife turned to me and said "OK, they need to stop introducing characters now", but they did not stop.

I want to like this, but good lord give me something to at least work with.
posted by tocts at 4:26 AM on June 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


i sort of half watched while doing something else and got the following: 3 fucked up cops are pulled into a really fucked up murder investigation. In the background, Vince Vaguhn lurks, doing shady deals.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:42 AM on June 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


The Lera Lynn song they used in the trailer is SO MUCH BETTER than the actual opening sequence it's almost not even fair to compare them. Booooo.
posted by lydhre at 5:11 AM on June 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


I haven't seen the first season and won't see this one but I'm happy that Lera Lynn will likely get some new fans out of this. I really like her music.
posted by PussKillian at 5:36 AM on June 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think it's way too early to draw any conclusions, but it has some potential. Great atmosphere, great music. Some archetypes we've seen before, but they've sketched out the basics of the characters pretty efficiently. The pacing is good.
I like the nod to season 1 with Farrell being interviewed at the table. I'm glad they aren't spending too long on the flashbacks.
I liked Farrell's "shhhhh" to the crackhead before he goes in to beat up the journalist. How long is he going to be able to go around beating people up with impunity, though?
posted by starman at 5:40 AM on June 22, 2015 [5 favorites]


%n: "You gotta like how the three strung out ghouls of cops shared a "fuck me" look at the end.
"

Yeah, that really made the episode for me. It made me want to keep watching the series, just to see if they deliver on it.
posted by signal at 5:50 AM on June 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Am I the only one who had no freaking idea what was going on?
posted by bondcliff at 5:50 AM on June 22, 2015 [5 favorites]


The literary touchstone - which we couldn't see for all the cosmic bullshit in season 1 - is Elmore Leonard. Hateful people doing hateful things to other hateful people, and each other, in the pursuit of a hateful crime. We won't get all the answers, we won't recognise most of the questions anyway, but it will all be very stylishly done.
posted by prismatic7 at 5:51 AM on June 22, 2015 [7 favorites]


Mrs. Wizard and I had heard a "meh" review by Eric Deggans (NPR) so we went in not expecting much, but by the end we were like, "well, that was good." Good atmosphere, interesting tidbits of back stories, creepy murder mystery, (very) flawed protagonists who all meet at the end. I thought it seemed like the start of another good story. There were a few confusing bits (maybe intentionally vague) and I also wondered how long it'll be before Colin F. gets shitcanned for beating the crap out of a grade school parent. But a good start!
posted by freecellwizard at 6:01 AM on June 22, 2015


Sonia Saraiya, “True Detective” recap: “Everyone gets touched”,Salon:
So perhaps it’s an indication of the power of admittedly toxic expressions of masculinity that this first episode back, while confusing, is reliably captivating; the landscape of bombed-out industrial suburbia is a concrete playground of corruption, the betrayal of the promise of the American frontier. “True Detective”’s roots are in pulp, in noir; each scene in “The Western Book Of The Dead” would fit into a grim, darkly inked comic book, complete with men in suits, mostly naked women, and the graven lines on the faces of the protagonists, who we are unsubtly informed have Seen Too Much. And this has always been “True Detective”’s strength: The ability to make romance out of the mundane stuff of everyday life, the power to enact man’s struggle for meaning onto the landscape of suburbia.
The Western Book Of The Dead[PDF]
CHAPTER I
In the beginning – i.e., before the beginning – there was NOTHING. And MATTER came out of NOTHING. And MATTER was CHAOS.
CHAPTER II
Strangely, and for no reason whatsoever, CHAOS started to change. Simplicity begat complexity, randomness begat order, most peculiar of all, inanimate MATTER begat organic MATTER.
CHAPTER III
Many, many, many years passed and quite by chance organic MATTER developed in a strange direction. It became more and more complex, and then for no apparent reason at all, it became conscious of itself. It called the consciousness MIND and it gave itself a name and that name
was MAN.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:04 AM on June 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure about this season. The only reason people put up with the hypocritical and self-destructive Marty Hart and the arrogant nihilist Rust Cole was the fact that they were true detectives. There was never any doubt in viewers' minds that they were the good guys, and that the killer they were chasing was much, much worse. These characters, though.... I mean, Colin Farrell's character is a degenerate thug and child abuser (the scene where he intimidated his son made me want to turn the show off), Rachel whatsername's character and the highway patrol guy seem crazy, and not in an endearing way (The female detective carries three knives. One knife, okay. Two, sure, why not, you've got two hands. Three? You've exceeded the 1:1 knife to hand ratio, and are a scary nutcase). Vince Vaughn's gangster is the closest thing to a sympathetic character there is, and I'm not sure I like that at all.

You gotta like how the three strung out ghouls of cops shared a "fuck me" look at the end

And that final shot made me laugh. It was trying way too hard.
posted by dortmunder at 6:07 AM on June 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


It's less "True Detective!" so far as "True Detective?" for me.

Too many coincidences for Rachel McAdams' character. She busts the webcam operation to find her ex-prostitute sister and then has occasion to go to her father to talk about it based on something else unrelated? Bleagh.
posted by inturnaround at 6:38 AM on June 22, 2015 [7 favorites]


I thought it was OK. All set up of the three cops no-good-very-bad-days.

The last shot seemed like a late 90's WWF promo. All glaring and caricature. I could just hear Jim Ross's voice...
posted by French Fry at 7:01 AM on June 22, 2015


Vox article by Todd VanDerWerff - one of my favorite writers there - is quite damning and quite funny as well.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 7:31 AM on June 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think Paul (kitsch) was a private military contractor.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:52 AM on June 22, 2015


Yeah, seemed very Blackwater-ish.

Also, I think he has Greyscale.
posted by inturnaround at 7:59 AM on June 22, 2015 [14 favorites]


Also, I think it's a tad pat that her name is apparently Antigone and her sister is Athena. Crazy father alert!
posted by lydhre at 8:58 AM on June 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


And by "a tad pat" I mean I've read subtler fanfiction.
posted by lydhre at 8:59 AM on June 22, 2015 [4 favorites]




I Googled Ray's lawyer -- played by Molly Hagan. Recognized her immediately from her work on one of my favorite episodes of Seinfeld, in which she played a woman about to take her vows as orthodox nun who instead falls for Kramer because he apparently has The Kavorka ("the lure of the animal").
posted by hush at 9:21 AM on June 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


I don't know if I can say I really, really liked it, but I saw enough to get me to happily come back for Ep 2.

I'd probably give it a solid B, which is what I gave the first episodes of The Wire, Walking Dead, and Game of Thrones, among others. I'm willing to see if the broad strokes become finer and the heavy hands become lighter in future episodes.
posted by lord_wolf at 9:24 AM on June 22, 2015


-- played by Molly Hagan.

I wonder how she feels now that she's been replaced by Amy Poehler in Inside Out. /Herman'sHead
posted by inturnaround at 9:53 AM on June 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


from the man of twists and turns' link:

Who Is This? British actress Kelly Reilly
Do I Know Her? It’s a long shot.


Seriously? She had a major supporting role in the very popular Sherlock Holmes films. She and David Morse were the only people I knew aside from the leads.

The last shot seemed like a late 90's WWF promo. All glaring and caricature. I could just hear Jim Ross's voice...

When they used those shots in the trailers I thought they were shot specifically for the trailers. They just seemed so stagey and over the top.
posted by brundlefly at 10:41 AM on June 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


I've got a dumb plot question that I missed because the dog went crazy at the wrong time, is motorcycle cop on leave because he did take a blowjob from the girl? or because he didn't and she claimed he did to get him in trouble?
posted by DynamiteToast at 12:15 PM on June 22, 2015


I've got a dumb plot question that I missed because the dog went crazy at the wrong time, is motorcycle cop on leave because he did take a blowjob from the girl? or because he didn't and she claimed he did to get him in trouble?

My take was the latter. I don't think it was explicitly spelled out, though.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:27 PM on June 22, 2015


Actually, DynamiteToast, I wasn't distracted and I'm not sure either. I think it's implied that the girl lied about the blowjob because he seems to have ED? Or something like it?

They all mumble and I have a hard time figuring out what's supposed to be clear and what's supposed to be inferred sometimes.
posted by lydhre at 12:28 PM on June 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Our house consensus was that we really hope it doesn't end up a total shitshow because it looks like it has all the makings of one, namely TOO MANY PEOPLE all set up to have MYSTERIOUS MOTIVATIONS. It was just too damn much. What made TD1 so great was it's slow pace and drawn out characterizations. This was all just shoved up in there.

And I'm bummed that apparently no one at Wired recognized Ritchie Cosner as being a L&O repeated guest star of the menacing variety PLUS taking that star turn on Guiding Light (okay maybe it's just ME who recognizes him from those).
posted by marylynn at 12:30 PM on June 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Right like I caught that he was pretty indignant about the incident, but I couldn't tell if it was in a "she's lying" way or in a "that dumb actress was high and breaking the law, why am I getting in trouble?" entitled way.
posted by DynamiteToast at 12:31 PM on June 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


I had a feeling that was deliberately left vague. Seemed like a thing that will be revisited given the actress they cast. He struck me as an unreliable narrator.
posted by French Fry at 12:56 PM on June 22, 2015


For an episode that had to lay some big granite blocks upon which to lay the entire series, I thought it was pretty good. Had to introduce four (five? six?) major characters, give them all something memorable to say, and end on the Dead Guy MacGuffin, it's pretty impressively economical.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:58 PM on June 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Didn't HAVE to introduce all of them in one go...it was a disjointed mess, to me. The first one had such narrative style, this one worries me. It was pretty, but I preferred a story about people more than political narrative, and I'm afraid this one might be the opposite. A crowded field, maybe too many characters to keep focus.
posted by agregoli at 1:01 PM on June 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Given the stinkeye Motorcycle Cop was giving Colin Farrell (I was too confused for the first half to work out names), I feel like he's going to be the one "good guy" relative to the other two. But earlier in the episode I thought it would be Rachel MacAdam. Vince Vaughan is definitely the most sympathetic so far -- but it will be interesting t see the fallout from Caspar's death. I wish the payoff was earlier, it only got interesting in the last third. And I didn't even realise Motorcycle Cop was Drugs-In-The-Shower-Guy for ages.
posted by tracicle at 1:38 PM on June 22, 2015


The episode lacked a decent hook. The character introductions left the audience without a reason to empathize with the characters. I'm really disappointed.
posted by humanfont at 4:58 PM on June 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


Ok first, I'm really disappointed by last night's ep. I just felt it was disjointed and confusing. Usually with shows I'm in or out and I'm feeling out. I'll keep watching for a bit, but if by e3 I still feel this way, I'll just rewatch s1 (which I've been meaning to do anyway).

Second, am I the only person who thought that raven's head was a subtle nod to the maltese falcon? In that movie a murder also brings disparate characters together as one character doggedly works out who killed his partner. I could be wrong, but that's the first thing I thought of when I saw the raven's head and the seedy dealings of Vince Vaugh made me think of Gutman-a character whose smooth, but it's all for show and in reality he's actually more of a rube than fraud.
posted by miss-lapin at 6:38 PM on June 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


miss-lapin: “Second, am I the only person who thought that raven's head was a subtle nod to the maltese falcon?”
No. At first I thought it was a Maltese Falcon.
posted by ob1quixote at 7:05 PM on June 22, 2015 [1 favorite]




These critics seem like they decided to hate the show when the last one bowed 7 months ago. Nothing that's bad about this episode is new to the new series.
posted by codacorolla at 8:07 PM on June 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


That Grantland article actually starts with "Let’s do some judging. That’s what we’re all here for, right?" and ugh, no. That is not right.
posted by dogwalker at 8:57 PM on June 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


am I the only person who thought that raven's head was a subtle nod to the maltese falcon?

No as well. I definitely wouldn't call it, in any way, a subtle nod, but rather, a very explicit one, kind of like how Usual Suspects telegraphed who Kaiser was by using the old "the Devil can't come into the world without a physical defect" trick, which historically in European drama, meant the actor playing the Devil usually played it as if he had a club foot.

I imagine both references to be on about the same level now, whereas 15 years ago the Maltese Falcon reference would have been much more obvious.
posted by juiceCake at 9:04 PM on June 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


I think the Grantland link gets at what might be most interesting about this season: there's not even a glimmer of coolness or likeability in these characters, and that's very much the point. The first season dealt, among other things, with the push/pull of our attraction to hard men and the wounded masculine psyche. We wouldn't be watching if we weren't fascinated by those characters and halfway admiring them. It took around 4-5 episodes before we were seeing Marty beating up kids and going way off his hinges. With this season, the starting point is Ray calling his kid a "fat pussy" and brutally beating the father of a bully. The others don't come off much better at all. There's no quarter here. This season wants to disabuse you of the notion, right from the outset, that there's something worthwhile, cool, or attractive to be hooking onto. It's daring to call your bluff that you understood how flawed Marty and Rust were. Here are flawed characters past the point where you find the show watchable - and their mythologies contain none of the sexiness of cosmic nihilism or anything else. Are you willing to watch their stories? (The scene where Colin Farrell pours a drink, then another, then another, then another, goes well past the point of absurdity... it nearly breaks the fourth wall.)

This is the starting point, remember. I'm really interested to see where the show is going with all this. Critics have only been shown 3 episodes, from what I gather? That's not nearly enough to see the full fabric and arc of these characters, by a long shot. I'm expecting... something interesting, that's for sure.

Personally, I'm in for the long haul. And hey, if it's a trainwreck, I'm savoring every moment. A relaxed attitude is crucial here :)
posted by naju at 9:14 PM on June 22, 2015 [14 favorites]


I really want to like this. I loved the first season. Although I wanted them to stay in Southeast Lousiana (mostly for personal reasons, because I lived there for over a decade and recognized a lot of filming locations), I appreciated the classic noir nod of Los Angeles. But this episode was just so all over the place. I actually feel better knowing that many of y'all had trouble following it. I sometimes have trouble following shows, and I was trying reeeaally hard to pay attention, but I think they just crammed too much into the pilot. Having four main characters is going to be tough for what is essentially a miniseries.

Good catch, codacorolla, on reading between the lines of "severe pelvic injury." Missed that one.
posted by radioamy at 9:15 PM on June 22, 2015


Vanity Fair: Can Nic Pizzolatto, True Detective’s Uncompromising Auteur, Do It All Again? - "Rich Cohen explores the challenges and visions of the man behind Rust Cohle."
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:44 PM on June 22, 2015


Chiming in on the Maltese Falcoln thing. Yeah, that was my first thought. It took me a sec to realize it wasn't a statue.
posted by brundlefly at 11:13 PM on June 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


I bingewatched the first season, and reading this thread, I'm thinking about waiting until this season has ended so I can bingewatch the second season too.
posted by Pendragon at 1:38 AM on June 23, 2015


The big painting over the fireplace of recently deceased art enthusiast City Manager Ben Caspar? Terry Rodgers (NSFW, maybe).
posted by Kinbote at 1:42 AM on June 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm in the naju camp so far. The whole thing with Ray being damaged partly due to his wife's rape and the uncertain paternity of his child - yes, that's focusing on the man's loss of "honor", but I think the fact that he himself has the wrong focus is part of the point. It's totally believable but sad that a man in a high-testosterone/regimented job would think first "revenge/poor pitiful me/damaged goods", and only later or maybe never "how can I support my wife and family and move forward". And that his response to events might lead to a disintegration of his relationships, and then he'd turn to drinking and illegal activity because he knows he made the wrong choices but isn't able to change.

Yeah, it's still about the dudes, but I think the writer writes what he knows, and maybe Rachel McAdams' character will turn out to be interesting. I definitely don't think viewers are being encouraged to idolize the protagonists/anti-heroes; we might hope for their redemption but I at least am not under any illusion that they are good people.

The number of characters introduced seems fine. It's not as bad as GoT on that front!
posted by freecellwizard at 7:03 AM on June 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


So far I liked McAdams in this. I liked the reversal during the sex scene where the man wanted to take things to the next level and she was just completely apathetic to that. While he's rattling off the cliche lines about wanting more, she's just giving him that "Are you kidding me look?" and finishes with " You don't want to have this conversation now" because she so clearly is not interested in doing this empty ritual

I do think, having rewatched e1 s1, that having two main characters vs this crowd, would be preferable, but I think if they focused on just McAdam's and Farrell's character we could get that effect.

Upon rewatching s1 e1 the thing I missed the most from this episode was the sense of humor. It was all dark without relief. I hope that changes.
posted by miss-lapin at 8:24 AM on June 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


Re: McAdams' sex scene: we're never told, but based on what we know about her, I was thinking she tried to pull some blood play / knife play stuff on that guy without warning. Which turns that scene into something twisted and funny. No kink judgment here, but you gotta ease into that conversation, not surprise your partner. I think she might have some issues...
posted by naju at 8:58 AM on June 23, 2015


Shhh, don't speculate. Not knowing adds a certain delight to the scene. But I'm betting it wasn't knife play or anything like that.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:07 AM on June 23, 2015


The unknown driver/killer(?) with the raven head/mask(?) looked like Jack Nicholson to me.

> why is the motorcycle cop on leave?

My take is Paul definitely turned down the actress' offer for quid pro quo sex, and instead arrested her. Then something like this probably happened: after he attempted to book her at the station, she made the same offer to a different cop, who accepted and released her. Then Paul threw a fit, pushed back, violated the chain of command or something, and was put on leave. I think this primarily because when Paul's walking out the station door, one of his colleagues says something mocking about him not having sex with her. Seems like Paul is meant to be a legit-ish cop amongst many shady ones.
posted by hush at 10:12 AM on June 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


My take is Paul definitely turned down the actress' offer for quid pro quo sex, and instead arrested her.

My take was, she solicited him, he refused and arrested her, and wrote the solicitation into the report in addition to the reckless driving and violating parole.

Then she turned the tables on him, claiming, unh-huh, I'm rich and famous, I don't need to do that, it was the cop that was asking for the sexual quid pro quo.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:31 AM on June 23, 2015 [4 favorites]


Not to get into wild speculation, but I got the distinct feeling Paul is struggling with his sexuality (on top of everything else.)
posted by naju at 10:52 AM on June 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


(In any case, his apparent ED problem pretty much makes it a given that he turned down her offer)
posted by naju at 10:59 AM on June 23, 2015


I am so glad I have you guys because I apparently miss *all* the subtext. Didn't get the ED mention.

I was also confused about why he was put on leave, but I think it's just a small version of "arrest the wrong person, get in trouble for it."
posted by radioamy at 11:52 AM on June 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Then she turned the tables on him, claiming, unh-huh, I'm rich and famous, I don't need to do that, it was the cop that was asking for the sexual quid pro quo.

Yeah, the commander made reference to the tabloids, so my guess is she got her people on the case, and they made false allegations public. Paul seemed pretty unconcerned about that angle (he knew it was bullshit), all he cared about was whether IA would be looking into Black Mountain (his private security contractor days in Iraq) and getting back on the bike.

It was all dark without relief.

There was a little bit of humor - the joke about "Aspen? That's a boy's name?", as well as "When I die, you burn everything right away" - but there was definitely less than I remember in S01E01. Removing Woody Harrelson from the equation will certainly do that. Another favorite was the exchange "You're supposed to savor that." "Then let me try again."

Didn't get the ED mention.

When he was in the bathroom popping a pill, that little blue one is meant to stand-in for Viagra. He had to wait the half hour for it to kick in. I'd need to see more before I was convince he was struggling with his sexuality. My read was that something from his time in Iraq has messed him up, big time.

It's hard for me to get a good read on Ani - I actually like that she's strong, assertive, and in control in that very first scene. The way it played, for me, was that she knows what she wants, and the man she was with was judging her for it (but trying not to show that), for having defined sexual needs and owning that. But then that's sort of undercut when she gets all judge-y on her sister. And the "daddy issues" bullshit just didn't really make a lot of sense to me.

This wasn't as strong a hook as S01E01, but I agree with the Grantland review: Colin Farrell is just demolishing his material. When he meets with Frank late in the episode, he's just overflowing with self-loathing.

I'll keep watching.
posted by rocketman at 12:10 PM on June 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


The way it played, for me, was that she knows what she wants, and the man she was with was judging her for it (but trying not to show that), for having defined sexual needs and owning that.

I read it as, she wanted him to be violent toward her, and he was surprised by that. And after, she doesn't want to talk about it, because that need doesn't mesh with her bad-ass exterior persona.

Her sister is the opposite -- she's OK with being a cam girl and being used by others.

I think we'll learn they were both abused as part of the father's New Agey, cultish community. Or else, why introduce him, why cast him with a known actor, and why set up the missing girl angle.

I think we have three redemption stories being set up, and they'll all take different routes to end up in the same place.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:35 PM on June 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


When he was in the bathroom popping a pill, that little blue one is meant to stand-in for Viagra. He had to wait the half hour for it to kick in.

Ohhhhhh.
posted by radioamy at 1:03 PM on June 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm going to go into wild, not well supported speculation mode with the recognition that I'm probably wrong, but...

I'm assuming the lanky red haired guy is Frank's wife's brother. I noticed the two of them have red hair, and the shorthand being used on Velcoro's son is that he also has red hair, and therefore doesn't belong to Velcoro's family. Frank seemed shady and nervous while he was giving Velcoro that photo. It makes me wonder if he sent Velcoro after a patsy (maybe someone that Frank wanted dealt with anyway) in order to protect his wife's brother. Hair can be dyed, after all, but you can't fool genetics.

That's very possibly way off base, though.
posted by codacorolla at 2:39 PM on June 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


I noticed the two of them have red hair, and the shorthand being used on Velcoro's son is that he also has red hair...

Holy shit.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:25 PM on June 23, 2015


codacorolla - interesing...
posted by radioamy at 4:56 PM on June 23, 2015


I've never been on a motorbike and am confident that I never ever will, so I don't know for sure, but surely speeds (of 100 lol) that are apparently enough to smoosh your cheeks would be painful on the eyes and force you to close them or at least blink, rather than just stare out at the whizzing darkness before you?

I'm very interested in this tale of manhood and masculinity and how tough it is to be a real man and how difficult things are for men in the modern world, as seen through the eyes of these three men and one woman who is a man-analogue (manalogue). It will be good to have on in my man-cave where I keep all my man stuff, while I sit there thinking about manliness and what it means to be a man. And whittle.
posted by turbid dahlia at 5:08 PM on June 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


I liked Farrell's "shhhhh" to the crackhead before he goes in to beat up the journalist. How long is he going to be able to go around beating people up with impunity, though?

As long as it takes for him to beat and drink his way out of his depths of masculine man-pain.
posted by turbid dahlia at 5:16 PM on June 23, 2015


(The scene where Colin Farrell pours a drink, then another, then another, then another, goes well past the point of absurdity... it nearly breaks the fourth wall.)

What did Vince Vaughn's sidekick think he was going to do with that bottle of Johnny Walker Blue when he tried to take it away from Velcro? Did Vince Vaughn bring the bottle of Johnny Walker Blue to the bar for them to drink, and sidekick wanted to get it back for the drive home? Or did they get the bottle from behind the bar and the sidekick was being helpful and taking it back to the bartender? How is the bartender going to tally up the shots for the tab? Was it a virgin bottle to begin with? Or had it already been opened and a few shots poured out? Does the bartender now have to calculate backwards from some point (was the bottle marked? I didn't see) or is there some kind of device or formula that can be employed to determine what's owing? SO MANY UNANSWERED QUESTIONS. THIS IS THE TRUE MYSTERY OF CARCOSA. Also Johnny Walker Blue is rubbish who the hell even drinks that shit?
posted by turbid dahlia at 6:02 PM on June 23, 2015 [6 favorites]


Yeah, it's still about the dudes, but I think the writer writes what he knows, and maybe Rachel McAdams' character will turn out to be interesting.

What I'd like to know is, what kind of mind-blowing crazy deviant sex thing was it that Rachel wanted to engage in with the bumbling scared guy where she can emerge directly from a disagreement about it with all her clothes already on?
posted by turbid dahlia at 6:06 PM on June 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


lydhre: Well, that was a whole lot of drunk cops driving to that crime scene.

dortmunder: And that final shot made me laugh. It was trying way too hard.

You mean the New Best (Drinking and Fighting) Friends Club? Looks like a blast! We're all best friends! (SNL digital short)

There was so much setup, I imagine the rest of the series will just be a lot of crazy fun action! Back stories completed, on to the rock'em sock'em robots super (aggro) buddy cop show!
posted by filthy light thief at 8:57 PM on June 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


turbid dahlia: “What did Vince Vaughn's sidekick think he was going to do with that bottle of Johnny Walker Blue when he tried to take it away from Velcro?”
I thought it had one of those little tags on a chain on it like for bottle-keep service.
posted by ob1quixote at 9:14 PM on June 23, 2015


[A few comments deleted; please use the contact form or Metatalk for meta issues. Thanks.]
posted by taz at 12:19 AM on June 24, 2015


First impression: everyone has a tortured past (duh).

I do think it's too overcrowded at the moment — the beauty of the first season for me is that I can focus on the two characters + the unfolding mystery. Right now it feels like the show wants me to invest on all these three big name stars right away (and I suppose Vince Vaughn too?), and the story is the least priority.

Maybe the scale is:
Colin Farrell as the corrupt cop who doesn't give a shit and has his own right/wrong moral code
Rachel McAdams is the grey area cop that can be corrupted given the right circumstances
Taylor Kitsch is the goody cop who will abide by the rules

If that's the case then I really hope they would subvert a lot of things. I like the following dualities in each character:
Farrell is an asshole to his kid but the tape recorder bit is an interesting side to him
McAdams is an asshole to her father but would bust a legitimate op just to 'save' her sister
Kitsch is an asshole that tries to get himself killed every night (I'm assuming these nightly drives are regular) but he also seems to has PTSD and can't get it up

Is it just me or is his girlfriend looks a lot like the woman missing on the photo?
posted by pleasebekind at 9:47 AM on June 24, 2015


A few people thought so, but it's been confirmed that they're different actresses.
posted by naju at 10:56 AM on June 24, 2015


I took "severe pelvic injury" to mean that something had happened similar to what Colin Farrell had suggested would happen to Aspen's dad on the front lawn (which now to me appears to have been foreshadowing), or what happened to the prostitute in the "lust" segment of the movie Seven. I didn't take that he had been castrated, or just, ahem, "dismembered." To me, pelvic injury implies damage to the pelvis itself -- a massive injury.

I kind of liked that the main storyline didn't actually start until the last minute or two. The team has assembled and we know what huge baggage they're each coming with, but they don't. A lot of the fun will be seeing the train wreck of them all interacting. In S1, I found Rust and Marty to be about as likable as these characters, i.e. not very, but part of the fun for me was toward the end of the season when they were forced to work together, despite their history and personal baggage, out of a need to combat even greater demons.

So far, I've liked Vince Vaughn better than I thought I would, though I came in with very low expectations. He doesn't emote crime boss to me, but then again I imagine most crime bosses in the real world seem like fairly charismatic, normal people most of the time.
posted by tempestuoso at 1:58 PM on June 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


I took "severe pelvic injury" to mean that something had happened similar to what Colin Farrell had suggested would happen to Aspen's dad on the front lawn (which now to me appears to have been foreshadowing), or what happened to the prostitute in the "lust" segment of the movie Seven. I didn't take that he had been castrated, or just, ahem, "dismembered." To me, pelvic injury implies damage to the pelvis itself -- a massive injury.

Ah, very possible. I figured it was castration just based on what we know about the character (his extreme sexuality) and the raven mask hinting at an Eyes Wide Shut style orgy club (or something along those lines).

Either way, I really like Casper as a first corpse. For as much as Pizzolatto has regressed or remained on his burly masculine sexual politics, it is nice not to have a cop show open up with a dead girl. Although, the missing lady from the farm may yet qualify.
posted by codacorolla at 2:51 PM on June 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


True Detective: Pulp, Crime, and the Weird Tales of Nic Pizzolatto
The sundry literary references of True Detective have been discussed to death, but the single fact remains that although Pizzolatto cited Lovecraft as one of his influences, True Detective remained firmly rooted in reality. For instance, despite an evocative descriptive of “the spaghetti monster,” it does not materialize as a tentacled Cthulhu creature, but rather something all too unfortunately human. In fact, there was not even a detectable Lovecraft quote throughout the series, its Lovecraftian touches coming from other sources like paraphrased Ligotti as well as two American authors whose imprint on Lovecraft and the pulps is indelibly stamped—Chambers and Ambrose Bierce. From Chambers came the Yellow King and Carcosa, the latter derived from Chambers by way of Bierce. Lovecraft himself borrowed the King in Yellow (as did Chandler for the title of a Philip Marlowe-esque short story) and Carcosa from these two authors, along with Hastur.
In season 1, the Lovecraftian elements were used as set dressing - the story has no necessarily supernatural elements (even though we are told that everything that happens on-camera is real).

In season 2, I think the set dressing is going to be Mediterranean, mostly Classical. Let's watch for them:

Ray works for Vinci, like da Vinci. Caspar's house has what looks like an impluvium in its atrium. He's even got little modern fascinus. The sisters are Antigone and Athena Bezzerides - possibly a reference to A.I. Bezzerides, Greek and Armenian by way of Turkey.
The Panticapaeum Institute, named after a minor Hellenic trading town on the Cimmerian Bosporous. The way Ani says it, sounded to me like panacea, the mythical cure-all. Panticapaeum became prominent because of its strategic location on the straits.
Another town with a similar strategic location was Lygos.
Another was Ilion.
Caspar is missing his eyes and his genitals, a type of punishment familiar to the Orthodox CK2 players.

The opening credits show silhouettes over (sequence and stills). We see many aspects of California: beaches, forests, highways, chapparal on hills, the palm trees that infest LA, farmland, the port of LA/Long Beach, convenience store: terraformed California, the apotheosis of America, the future of the Earth. "California is a brand new day."

And a lot of red.

Deputy Bezzerides is with Ventura County, which explains the groves at least. Our body is driven around in a Cadillac with a (fake) landau top, a popular option for hearses. There's what looks like a Santa Muerte statue in Caspar's home office.
Osip lives the good life back in Russia.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:23 AM on June 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


This episode has a distinctive James Ellroy feel, with the 3-cop structure and the corrupt/sleazy California background.
posted by elgilito at 4:39 AM on June 25, 2015




I'm really excited for this. The first season was like the detective novels I don't really like, while this seems like the ones I do.
posted by edeezy at 9:32 PM on June 26, 2015


I also think it's funny that much of the criticism is around there being "too much" to take in. As if a dense structure that isn't immediately transparent is somehow a bad thing.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:04 PM on June 26, 2015 [4 favorites]


Just watched this first episode and liked it a lot more than most of you seem to have. At least I liked it more than the first season which was way too over the top with all that southern gothic atmosphere and stoner philosophizing.

I liked how the three stories ran in parallel until the end when they all came together.
posted by octothorpe at 7:18 PM on June 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


This What The Flick?! review was pretty positive on the premiere.
posted by pleasebekind at 9:40 PM on June 28, 2015


There was never any doubt in viewers' minds that they were the good guys, and that the killer they were chasing was much, much worse.

I'm not so sure about that. Pretty sure at a few points they tried to make you think Rust might even be the killer.
posted by Hoopo at 2:12 PM on July 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


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