Tweetable Takeaway: “Down Will Come” finally provides some edge of your seat entertainment. Tweet
Airtime: Sundays 9 PM, HBO
By: Paul Gulyas, Contributor
“This show is boring.”
I literally said that outloud halfway through last night’s episode. I had been hesitant to condemn the series’ second season early on, despite hearing just that from almost all my friends who watch. I like to give things a fair shot. Hell, I didn’t even REALLY appreciate last season until halfway through. So I figured this episode, episode four entitled “Down Will Come,” would be make or break for me.
If you caught the episode in its entirety, you know that the words I spoke aloud were soon to be countered. The episode ended in one hell of a bloody shootout with the police and some Latino gang members that, if nothing else, was finally some edge of your seat entertainment.
But was it enough to call the episode “good?” The direction of that sequence, while not nearly as memorable as Cary Fukunaga’s one long tracking shot through a gang infested neighborhood last season, was certainly executed well. The tension was there and real. While I didn’t exactly understand why the criminals would just come out guns blazing, not only against the fumbling police (seriously, did they even have ANY training?) but shooting civilians without a second thought. But did I really need to understand what was going on to enjoy it? No.
This raises a big question. What am I, or what is anyone, looking to get out of watching an episode of True Detective? I think coming off of season one, many would say this: an intriguing mystery, a cool modern noir feel, some philosophizing about the bigger picture, and an occasional above average (certainly for television) shoot-out/chase scene. What of those have we gotten this season?
And therein lies the problem. I don’t care about Casper’s disappearance/murder. I don’t care about Vinci’s possibly corrupt mayor, or about Vinci at all. I certainly don’t care whether Frank Semyon succeeds in going legit or his return to O.C is his undoing. I cared about a serial killer mutilating women and if Rust Cohle could find redemption for himself and hope in the universe. I’m not even entirely following the ins and outs of the main mystery this season, partially because there is so little advancement in plot, and partially because it’s all too boring to even stick in my brain.
But then comes a pretty bad-ass action sequence and my eyes are suddenly glued to the screen. This may be the turning point for the show. If things continue to be stepped up at this level in the remaining four episodes, the ride may be deemed worth its slow start in the end. I’m going to see it through, but many understandably have written it off, deciding just because it’s HBO doesn’t mean the occasional gem in an episode is worth the precious hour a week, when there is so much truly great television a click of a button away.
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