In True Detective season one, Rust Cohle was a big “In The Dust Of This Planet” kinda guy whose nihilism was–and needed to be–front and center during the entire season so that his transformation at the end was all the more powerful. That made our boy Cohle the true detective.
This season, however, we’ve got Ray Velcoro, a much more conventional detective novel archetype. He’s divorced, an alcoholic, presumed father of what might actually be a rapist’s child, and, as we’ve discovered this past Sunday, a target for high cholesterol-induced heart disease. His doctor even addressed this: “Mr. Velcoro, do you want to live?” He’s the one closest to the bottom of the barrel who has more to gain from a redemption story. He is the true detective–and this bums me out. Because for him it’s not a complete reversal on his personal philosophy, it’s not a turning away from the darkness like it was for Cohle. The components for Velcoro’s redemption include putting away the booze, eating more healthy, maybe exercising a little, and possibly making some babies. No, I’m sorry but this can’t be the way. Nick Pizzolatto, please don’t take us down this road, not after what happened in season one.
And another road we don’t need to go down, Mr. Pizzolatto, is Paul Woodrugh’s “is he gay or isn’t he” self-cofliction. This story takes place in California. The Supreme Court just converted same-sex marriage into regular marriage. It’s 2015. In what way are we supposed to feel for Woodrugh that doesn’t involve ennui?
At this point, It’s Vince Vaughn’s Frank that I’m starting to come around to. I’ve realized that his journey is one of street gangster attempting to go legit but now backsliding to street gangster. He certainly had pretensions to join the moneyed elites, and despite him not getting that country club membership so as not to appear to be trying to hard, it’s clear to everyone else that he’s a little out of his depth. Frank is a white, less-competent Stringer Bell. Stringer’s downfall was Shakespearean tragedy, but Frank’s–as we saw from this past Sunday–is going to be more animal, more pulpy. I think I’m now watching True Detective to see how dark Frank gets in his hunt for his tormentors.