‘True Detective’ season 2, episode 5 review: Colin Farrell shines; Ray, Ani dive back in

HBO logoGoing into tonight’s new episode of “True Detective,” we had a wide array of questions. Primarily, one of the biggest ones was whether or not the series could really vindicate itself after an action sequence that while awesome, really did not do much to push forward the story.

Instead, what we learned tonight is that it caused many of our characters to take a step back. Ray and Paul were both separated from their old jobs after a time jump, while Ani was stationed to the evidence room and forced into sexual harassment courses. In moving these characters backwards, we interestingly got more perspective and a chance to see them re-enter the case as special investigators with a secret mission to figure out what really happened to Ben Caspere. The motivations for joining this team were simple: Getting a chance to finish what they started was tremendously appealing to much of the team, and Ray was bribed in by promising results for his kid.

Now that Ray was more under-the-radar, he had fewer concerns with getting a little bit physical with suspects … including a certain “therapist.” This confrontation did yield some results, including the man’s role in cosmetic surgery and human trafficking. Through this confrontation, we finally started to understand exactly why so many would want Ben dead: Through these parties featuring some of the girls who went to see the “doctor,” he gathered information on powerful people and then used that in order to blackmail them.

Ultimately, the weakest parts of the episode still revolved around Frank, who was getting into more bad business but still hated the word “gangster.” Yes, Frank and his wife cannot have children, but we’ve spent so little time in their relationship that we’re not that invested in it. Yet, we were invested in how some of Frank’s specific actions, specifically towards, Ray, could come home to rooster. While Ani headed north near the end of the episode with Paul looking for more clues, Ray figured out about Frank’s role in a potential set-up and offered him a few short words: “We need to talk.”

This is still an imperfect series, but we found ourselves far more attached to the characters tonight and, as a whole, more satisfied than we’ve been all season. Grade: B+.

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