This second episode of True Detective season 2, Night Finds You, pulls back the reigns on the full-throttle development that spiraled out of control in episode one and dives deep into heavy exposition. Where the first episode was chaotic, last night was loaded with characters walking into rooms, talking about many many things, and pushing forward the investigation into the death of Ben Caspar. While the droning discussions were heavy on plot details, they were anything but compelling. Thankfully, the second half of this episode seems to have found something, as it falls into a nice groove, and we already have our first shocking upset of the season.
The episode begins with Vince Vaughn’s Frank Semyon, musing about his troubled childhood after seeing a water stain on his ceiling. We get a great deal more of Frank Semyon, but he is still poorly drawn and altogether uninteresting as a villain thus far. While he is supposed to be a threatening power player it is already clear he has everyone else do his heavy lifting and his character is, frankly, boring after two episodes.
As for the three cops investigating the murder, their backstories are minimal this time around. We get a brief scene of Velcoro (Colin Farrell) being confronted by his ex-wife who tells him, in some more heavy-handed dialogue, “you’re a bad man.” Tell me something we don’t know. There are also a few interesting, intimate moments between Velcoro and Bezzerides as they beat the streets. Bezzerides (Rachel McAdams) is easily the most compelling of the three detectives, mostly because her entire book of bugaboos hasn’t been fully explained like Farrell’s character and as an actor, McAdams is more compelling than Taylor Kitsch. Bezzerides seems to have sexual identity issues, perhaps, as does Paul, who is spotted staring longingly at a male prostitute from his hotel balcony. All of this lies in the undercurrent of the episode, which is much more concerned with giving us a great deal of information in rather dull exposition.
Thankfully, the dialogue leads us to the final moments of the episode, where the offbeat noir weirdness that made the first season so compelling begins to show its face. We get a major, game-changing occurrence in the final seconds, one that will have everyone frantically speculating for an entire week. I know I have an opinion on what happened and didn’t happen, thanks to a few shots from the season previews.
Night Finds You works as a sort of antithesis to the unhinged chaos of episode one, almost to a fault. I am confident, however, that the heavy and aimless exposition is behind us, and that the final moments of this True Detective episode will propel the series into some fascinating avenues. There is still hope for this season of True Detective to become something different than the first, but still be must-see TV.