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‘True Detective’ Premiere Recap: A Grisly Murder Joins 3 Fates Together

Sun, June 21, 2015 11:15pm EDT by Avery Thompson 1 Comment

If you think the second season of ‘True Detective’ is going to be anything like the first, think again. The June 21 season premiere built the foundation for what’s to come from our three core characters, and it’s going to be seriously intense.

True Detective is back. Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson are gone, and Colin Farrell, Rachel McAdams and Taylor Kitsch are in. The June 21 season two premiere introduced us to these dark, complex characters and featured a disturbing murder that intertwines everyone’s lives together.

Well, things got off to a different start pretty much right from the beginning. The opening sequence has a True Detective season one-esque to it, but that song was flat-out chilling. While the colors in the last year’s opening sequence were muted and lighter, this season’s are bursting like fire with a much darker hue.

But let’s get to the good stuff. Ray Velcoro (Colin Farrell) drops his kid off at school. He tells his kid to keep his head up and strong, and it’s clear the youngster has had encounters with bullies. Ray seems fairly normal. He’s not. Ray’s wife was beaten years back, and his son was born nine months later. He wants his custody rights extended, but the mention of a paternity test makes him flinch. Out of clear instinct, he protests that his son is his son. DNA won’t change that. 

A flashback to his first meeting with Frank Semyon (Vince Vaughn) reveals Ray was desperate to find the identity of his wife’s attacker. Frank had information that Ray needed, but there was a price. There’s always a price. “Maybe we’ll talk sometime,” Frank said. “Maybe not.” Frank asked if his wife was doing better. With his furrowed brow and forlorn look, Frank may be hiding something. In the present day, Frank is now married to Jordan (Kelly Reilly) and dealing with an investigation of some sort, which he’s not happy about. He’s a man solely focused on business and money, while she desperately wants a child.

Ani Bezzerides (Rachel McAdams) comes into the fold. Her boyfriend or significant other tries to get her to talk about their sex life. She’s not having it. Ani, who’s a sheriff’s detective, is cold and clearly has a solid concrete wall built up in front of everyone. This character is a far cry from Rachel’s romantic drama days. Ani runs an operation on a house full of hookers and spies her sister. While Ani is closed off, tough and emotionally stunted, her sister is pretty much the opposite, but still damaged in her own right.

We’re introduced to Paul Woodrugh — a.k.a Tim Riggins — last. The California Highway Patrol motorcycle officer and war veteran is currently on administrative leave after soliciting a blow job from an actress to avoid a citation. The sex act happens off screen, so we’re not entirely sure if it actually happened or not.

‘True Detective’: Broken Souls

Ray, who’s a cop, starts investigating the disappearance of Ben Caspere, a corrupt city manager with ties to Frank. After investigating Caspere’s home, Ray realizes it’s a kidnapping. Meanwhile, Ani comes across a possible missing persons case while delivering a foreclosure. She ends up running into her father (David Morse), who’s some type of cultish leader. Five seconds into their conversation, Ani’s hostility towards her dad is apparent. “You’re angry at the entire world,” he says to Ani. He’s right. She’s got one big chip on her shoulder and resistant to all forms of emotional connection.

Ray also has a chip on his shoulder and serious anger boiling underneath his skin. He lashes out at his son after a pair of his shoes was stolen by a bully. He’s a total asshole about it. Later, he shows up at the bully’s house and goes ballistic. The things he says are too disturbing to write here. He mulls over his actions at the bar while a singer croons out, “This is my least favorite life. This is my least favorite you.” That song pertains exactly to Ray. He spots Frank in the bar, and the two discuss the various favors they’ve been doing for each other.

The three leads — Ray, Ani and Paul — are all wounded souls. They all have problems rooted deep inside themselves. Ray’s has allowed his past to affect his present, Ani’s got anger bubbling over and Paul is still fighting demons that seem to stem from before he entered a warzone.

Paul decides to leave his lover behind for the night and go riding on the Pacific Coast Highway. As he pushes himself to higher speeds, the look of despair on his face worsens. Before he does something he’d likely not be able to take back, something stops him. He comes across a dead Caspere, whose eyes have been burned out. Ani gets a call about the murder, and so does Ray. Caspere’s murder is what brings these three together, forever intertwining their fates.

I don’t want to make assumptions about this season. It’s only the first episode. The first season with Matthew and Woody was a terrific and iconic season of television. But we need to look at this season with fresh eyes. This season is dark, mysterious and has an unnerving feeling of depravity to it. The tone is radically different than last season. I firmly believe that over the course of these 10 episodes, we’re going to grow to love it as much as we did the first.

HollywoodLifers, what did you think of the True Detective season two premiere? Let me know your thoughts below!

— Avery Thompson