TV Recap: True Detective, ‘Down Will Come’

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Down Will Come Plot Summary:

The detail works a pawn-shop lead to close in on a suspect in the Caspere case. Frank (Vince Vaughn) revisits his past to pay for his present — including taking over his old club. Ani (Rachel McAdams) is confronted with a serious allegation. Paul (Taylor Kitsch) falls back into old habits, and is confronted by the media about his military past.

This season of True Detective sure does pack a wicked sucker punch.

True Detective Down Will Come McAdams
Photo Credit: HBO/Lacey Terrell

The first season of True Detective was all about the slow build — every major revelation had a tightly wound, intricately planned build up. The build up was as slow and thick as the humid haze that covered our Louisiana-based heroes during their investigation. The reveals were all mind-blowing, emotionally felling the viewer where they stood.

Tonight’s episode, ‘Down Will Come’ solidified how Season 2 does its business. Yes, there is a definite slow, California/City of Industry throwback noir vibe going on. Yes, there’s a similar slow build to the case at hand, very reminiscent of Season 1. But just when you’re locked into this methodical pace, they hit you with a ton of bricks. You’re left bewildered, nearly out of breathe trying to fully process just what the hell is going on. Yet, the bewilderment is welcome, and this is an altered and confused state that you want to stay in, poke around and being formulate your own theories too.

The out of nowhere shoot-out between the police and Ledo’s gang is a jaw-dropping moment that you’re completely taken off guard by. This element of surprise is absolutely perfect — there’s no cinematic foreshadowing, the audience doesn’t see the trap laid beforehand. No, this is also like watching and experiencing a real-time dust-up between two side of the law. The unbridled violence, and senseless slaughter that ensues is as stunning and bewildering as the initial shots fired. When all is said and done, this shoot-out leaves you feeling like a raw nerve, and just as emotionally wrought as our main characters.

True Detective Down Will Come Farrell
Photo Credit: HBO/Lacey Terrell

There is a bit of a seasonal parallel created with this shoot-out. Fans of True Detective Season 1 might recall that the fourth episode of last season (“Who Goes There“) also featured an insanely wild, shoot-out between Rust, the Iron Crusader biker gang and the gang they’re trying to rob. That sequence, which took place all in one shot, resulted in what I dubbed as one of the single greatest episodes of television I had ever witnessed. ‘Down Will Come’ pales in comparison to the cinematic genius of ‘Who Goes There’ but it’s still masterfully produced, and it’s one those sequences you have to go back and watch again.

Outside of the shoot-out, the series is still all about the ‘Vaughnissance.’ Vince Vaughn continues to absolutely crush every moment he’s on screen. The great part of Vaughn’s performance is that he hasn’t gone overboard. This is a role that could’ve been hammed up to the extreme, but Vaughn’s steely, cooler than cool persona just makes his character just so menacing. His character is a bit akin to Liev Schreiber’s Ray Donovan, except without the quick quips and dry sarcasm. The restraint Vaughn is exuding now could suggest we’re going to see an unholy meltdown by series end. And if that comes, start penciling his name in for the Emmy ballots, folks. Outside of award talk, his scenes with Kelly Reilly are becoming more intriguing. We’re finally getting a little bit more about her — there was a ‘surgery’ that may be preventing her from having kids (an abortion, possibly?), we know she had a thing with a slick money guy (David Denman aka Roy from The Office), and she does not have clean hands at all. She’s been down Vaughn for some time, and she seems ready to support her man’s dirty deeds…for now.

While there are other interesting developments for the detail — Ani’s suspension due to a sexual harassment suit and Paul finding out he’s going to be a father — it’s Ray Velcoro who intrigues the most. To use some pro wrestling terminology, Ray is making a slow babyface turn. He’s becoming more and more human, he’s allowing emotion in to his life, and he’s showing emotion as well. His fatherly moment with his son was really wonderfully done (a sad foreshadowing to his actual death?), and his big brother scene with Kitsch’s hung-over and distraught Paul was a great moment of acting from both Farrell and Kitsch.

Prior to the shoot-out, ‘Down They Fall,’ was a strong episode, but the addition of this thrilling, dizzying, and harrowing sequences makes this the episode of the season…so far.

Rating: 9 out of 10
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Bill Bodkin is the Owner, Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder of Pop-Break. Most importantly, however, he is the proud father of a beautiful daughter, Sophie. He is beyond excited that Pop-Break will be seven years old in 2016 as this site has come a long, long way from the day he launched in it in his bachelor pad at the Jersey Shore. He currently works as a project manager in the telecom world, and is a freelance writer for NJ.com. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites