{TB Talks TV} True Detective Review: “Black Maps and Motel Rooms”

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true-detectiveseason-2Tweetable Takeaway: Our heroes Ray, Ani, and Paul are on the run from everyone and it doesn’t end well for one of them.

Airtime: Sundays 9 PM, HBO

By: , Contributor

Well there were certainly some intriguing advances in plot this episode of True Detective (read no further if you’d like to remain spoiler free). After a solidly entertaining escape mission to end last week’s episode, our heroes Ray, Ani, and Paul are on the run from… Well, everyone. And it doesn’t end well for one of them.

Last week Ani spotted some government/police officials at the high-profile escort & ecstasy party she infiltrated, posing as a call girl, and when she was almost caught she ended up stabbing a guy to death. Now she and Ray are holed up in a motel room outside town, afraid to duck their heads out. This turns out to be a good thing because hers and Rays scenes together in the motel room are some of the best of the season so far.

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Yes, Ani and Ray finally hooked up. It was a romance long in the making as we saw both of their lives crumble to shit, particularly Ray’s, and two people as screwed up as Velcoro and Bezzerides are just too perfect for each other. At first we think it’s going to happen while Ani is still coming down from the MDMA she took at the party, but they both stop. This probably planted the seed in them, however, as its not long before Ani ends up on top of Ray again, this time both sober. It’s starting to hint that they may actually have a happy ending, a la Rust and Marty from last season. However, it will unfortunately be without their third wheel, Paul.

Paul starts receiving text messages with pictures of himself kissing his old war buddy from somebody threatening to show them to his future wife (and mother of his child). This is alarming of course and there’s no much he can do besides agree to meet with whoever it is sending them. Turns out it’s a combination of people and companies we’ve seen/heard of before but never together.

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Here’s where it gets tricky, and this is perhaps the single element of this season that has made it vastly less enjoyable than the first. There are just too many names. Too many names, too many faces, too many ins and outs, for any viewer to possible remember upon first hearing/seeing them (and sometimes the first is all you get for episodes at a time). It’s quite the challenge to keep up with. And nothing is ever as simple as it appears. Perhaps it’s my uninvested style of watching (if you’ve been reading these reviews you know this season is not my favorite), but I feel like about half of the story goes over my head.

Here’s how I understand it. It turns out it was the late Dixon (Paul’s ex-partner on the case) who originally took the pictures, in order to maybe eventually blackmail Paul for some reason. Then after he was killed in that bloody shoot out with the methed-out Mexicans, Chief Holloway found Dixon’s pictures of Paul and his lover Miguel in Dixon’s apartment. And somehow Miguel is running security for some company that is hired by some other company Holloway is somehow involved with…

Really doesn’t make sense to me, but all I know is that Paul, after a fun little chase sequence, ends up getting shot twice and killed by another one of the officers with another name that sounds like all the other names.

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Frank does some killing of his own this week, finding out that his second in command actually betrayed him with Osep, the Russian mobster, and even killed Stan (remember that name? that’s been said a lot). Ray means business. He’s not playing Mr. Nice Guy any more. His dreams of going straight are out the window completely by this point. His wife suggests they take their liquid assetts and get out of town. That might be precisely what Frank plans to do, as he torches his entire casino and watches it burn from afar. But I have a feeling with the 90 minute finale next week, Frank’s not going to walk away from that fire unburned. I have a feeling none of them will.

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Paul co-created and writes for SHOWoff, a game that lets players predict what happens next on their favorite TV shows, earn points for what they get right, and see where they stack up against friends and the world (free in the iOS App store).  Check out the SHOWoff app at playSHOWoff.com
Twitter: @paulgulyas
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Keep up with all of Paul’s reviews of True Detective here.
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