Title: True Detective “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye”
Air Date: January 13th, 2019
Genre: Thriller, Crime
After an extremely impressive season premiere, can True Detective keep the momentum going? Short Answer. Yes.
Episode 2 continues with the detectives being detectives as Hays and West (Mahershala Ali and Stephen Dorff) canvass the town and begin to lean into persons of interest. Right off the bat, the dialogue is much stronger than the premiere. The first key scene between Hays, West and the community’s much talked about trash picker upper Brett Woodward (Michael Greyeyes) sets the tone for the episode. As the conversation unfolds, one of the main themes begins to show itself with back and forths between Ali and Greyeyes with how all these men are adjusting from coming back from Vietnam. Being set in 1980, Vietnam isn’t the white-hot issue it was right when the war ended, but these men still are coming to terms. The dialogue and subtle acting to have all 3 men find common ground was one of the strongest scenes of the episode.
I would be amiss to not mention Carmen Ejogo after shamefully not bringing her up in the premiere. She plays an English teacher with connections to all of the kids in the story and a budding romance with Mahershala Ali. Her performance brings warmth to each moment she is in and there is definitely a chemistry between her and Ali. Ejogo has now appeared in two of the timelines and both were convincing to show a growth in the character.
The only drawback of the episode is a continuation of an issue from episode 1. They are focused being detectives, which makes sense for the story, but is giving everyone but Ali and Dorff moments to shine. The structure right now feels formulaic. From the scene to scene interviews to the task forces who are definitely not going to see eye to eye with the detectives, it feels like we have seen all this before in ‘crime of the week’ TV shows.
Tom Purcell (Scoot Mcnairy) plays a large role in the episode as he attempts to find normalcy after the reveal at the end of episode 1. He once again puts on a tour-de-force of acting and this time is backed by a stronger script. After two episodes, this season of True Detective feels more like the Netflix crime show The Killing than previous seasons of True Detective. There is much more of a focus on how a ghastly crime can rip apart a small town and the after effects it can have on a grieving family. The previous seasons were so singularly focused on the detectives and their story that is almost jarring to see these moments where neither detective is in. Too early to tell if the change in format is positive or negative, but they have been doing such a great job with Mr. and Mrs. Purcell so far that I have faith.
The multiple timelines are starting to carry similar themes and working wonderfully to create a cohesive overarching story. Racism is front and center in the 80s timeline with 2 strong moments between Ali and Ejogo and then right after between Ali and Dorff. 2015 carries the theme in a more subtle way, but it is still there. I’m sure you can tell that I have been obsessed with the community so far in True Detective season 3. It is really compelling to see how self-contained the community is in the 80s timeline, but in 2015 how much larger it is. In the world of internet and a thirst to make anything crime related into a bite-sized hour of content to be consumed, the interviewer mentions how the internet has theories on the crimes and 30 years later the entire world is the small town community because of the internet. Such a cool perspective on how interconnected our lives are with the technology we’ve been given in the past 15 years.
My biggest gripe of the show is that they aren’t taking the huge risks of season 1 and 2. The ending was almost expected. Not an issue right now because the show is being carried by stellar acting, but I hope to see some of the wtf moments I came to expect from this series. The direction is also shying away from risks. There were some sweeping shots of the environment that looked gorgeous, but a majority of the scenes felt almost…procedural.
As always, the biggest and most important question. Is the mystery still good? Yes. The mystery is still good. The doll situation is raising a ton of eyebrows and the letter at the end, while generic, makes me excited about what they can bring for episode 3.
Verdict: True Detective is continuing its strong comeback to relevancy. Episode 2 broke the trend of poor writing and the dialogue elevated the already amazing performances from the entire cast. While the structure of the season feels almost ‘been there done that’ because of how it is mirroring crime of the week shows, there is still enough for me to consider it a must watch.
- The acting is almost perfect in every scene
- They let the environment shine more than in episode 1
- The scene by scene flow of interview, quick chat, interview is starting to wear thin after 2 episodes
- GIVE MAHERSHALA ALI A MONOLOGUE
Max spends most of his days writing and trying to figure out if the Spawn game on Dreamcast was real or just a weird fever dream