‘True Detective’ season 2, episode 3 review: Did Ray Velcoro live or die?

HBO logoWe felt like tonight’s “True Detective” episode was in many ways going to be a game-changer. How much we enjoyed it, and really the rest of the series, was going to be contingent on how the show handled Ray Velcoro getting shot.

In the end, they handled that pretty miserably. It’s not so much the fact that Ray survived that has us questioning the logic and intelligence of what is meant to be a premium cable / premium quality show; instead, it is leaving us on a super-dramatic cliffhanger making us believe that he could die, and then having him be back to work so soon after it. It almost trivialized what happened, and the whole shooting in the first place feels like a cheap move designed to “hook” us into a series that we should already be excited to see. HBO is better than that.

Sure, from here on out Ray’s story was fascinating, as he continued to investigate Caspere’s death while also struggling with how desperately his son’s mother wanted to push him away, even offering up money to convince him to go. His own past is coming back to haunt him, as investigators are looking into past deals.

As for some of the other characters, Paul continued some of his work in deep cover, while Frank continued to do his investigation in his own way, looking to various gangsters in order to determine whether or not any of them had women who were tied to Caspere at some point. At a certain point, he realized that he needed to prove himself, and that in turn led to him briefly resuming his violent ways and yanking out a tooth with a pair of pliers.

Ani spent most of the night trying to get Ray on the same page as him while also wrestling with the fact that an office romance has gone terribly south and that she came extremely close to catching a key suspect. Unfortunately, these cops are not exactly killing it in the athletics department.

This episode was a letdown following what seemed to be a major step in the right direction last week. It’s hard to move past Ray not dying and also being okay to run around in a chase scene, even for just a short amount of time. Also, while Vince Vaughn is trying his best, we’re not buying him as Frank. Grade: C+.

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