‘True Detective’ season 2, episode 4 review: Ani’s job status, gunfire, and more gunfire

HBO logoTonight’s new episode of “True Detective” did not on the surface have the makings of something that would change our opinion on this season. Other than Ben Caspere’s murder and that poorly-executed near-death of Ray Velcoro, is there any other memorable moment for this season so far?

Tonight, the biggest one through most of the episode halfway through was seeing Ani get suspended over complaints that were lodged against her. She has become in many ways the show’s most-interesting character. Maybe it is because she’s a little more matter-of-fact than the other cops, or maybe it is just because she has to struggle on a greater level as a woman on the force, still forced to deal with a certain amount of sexism. It helps her to stand out from the otherwise male-heavy cast.

By the time we got to the end of the hour, though, we may have had the most extended chase scene of the entire episode, as our officers came together for a violent shooting sequence. We feel like this was the show’s attempt to replicate that crazy one-shot sequence from last season, and it did not quite measure up to that. (It’s hard to once the bar has been set.) Yet, it was still impressive from a TV perspective to see how this unfolded. Really, the loser here was Vince public transit. It was already in bad shape before. After all of this? Well, they’ve lost at least one more bus in the midst of this warehouse raid gone terribly south.

This was excruciatingly violent to watch, and with so many dead bodies other than our main characters (not the most realistic there), where does this leave us? The simple answer is in a not-so-great place. The status of multiple characters should be up in the air, and in middle of all the gunfire, it was easy to forget about the Caspere case. Paul’s investigating this week took a back seat emotionally to news from his personal life, which was fine to us since it gave us a chance to reconnect with a character who has at times been hard to connect with. Most of Ray’s own backstory was somewhat on the backburner.

This episode was stronger than the last, even if it is not the most realistic. It did at least do a good job at making death powerful, regardless of whether or not you were looking at good or bad victims. There’s no doubt that Nic Pizzolatto is a gifted writer, but why spend so much time keeping us at arm’s length with this difficult-to-process, strangely-paced show? It’s problematic, and yet we continue to find ourselves watching. Grade: B-.

What did you think about this “True Detective” episode, and are you still buying into the super-serious tone of the show? (Seriously, we feel like Frank especially sounds like the Sphinx from “Mystery Men” with some of his lines.) Share with a comment, and head over here to get some other news on what lies ahead for the series. Also, you can sign up to book some more TV news on all we cover, courtesy of our CarterMatt Newsletter. (Photo: HBO.)

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