True Detective: “Down Will Come” Season 2 Episode 4 Review

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“Down Will Come” was a pretty bipolar episode. On one hand, most of it was really really boring. On the other, that closing shootout was by far the best scene of the season so far.

Due to the budgetary constraints and general need for an audience to actually be watching the show, TV rarely gets away with relying on action as heavily as films can. Watching a show like True Detective is a time investment and a commitment. Generally speaking, that’s why most scripted series on the cable networks are so good, they have to be to keep going.

Well, True Detective season two isn’t good, at least not yet. But an extremely well-constructed action sequence can give the illusion that we’re watching something worth watching.

There were a few narrative elements at play within the shootout that really worked. Ray’s rebirth since his death fake-out, and sobriety, have made him the show’s chief likable character. So simply having him in a set piece this masterfully crafted and tense, especially on a show clearly not afraid to kill people off, was really exciting.

I was also taken by surprise by how much I cared if Ani or Paul died. The show is just barely making their characters work, mostly because they get a few badass moments here and there. But Ani backed in a corner resorting to her knife genuinely had me on the edge of my seat, while I almost cheered when Paul finally managed to hit the gunman in the window.

But besides the last 15 minutes of the episode, “Down Will Come” was such a bore. Frank’s dealings with other high-profile criminals continues to slow the pace down to a crawl, and there was a lot of it this week. Otherwise, the show’s attempts to humanize Ani and Paul are partially working. It’s tough to root for a character so afraid of being gay in 2015, but it’s also easy to forget that these people exist and deserve as much representation as the characters on Looking. Meanwhile, Ani’s suspension at work feels like a feminism plotline that’s a little too on the nose. She’s already a strong female lead, even if she’s a bit one-dimensional, so having her coworkers unable to reconcile with her strength feels a little tacked on.

So this episode didn’t quite play up the strengths that made “Maybe Tomorrow” work. But the characters are still getting more interesting, even though its at a snail’s pace. And if the show ramps them up and has another set piece or two like the one that closed “Down Will Come,” the back half of the season could be a hefty improvement. Grade: B-

By Matt Dougherty

One Response to True Detective: “Down Will Come” Season 2 Episode 4 Review

  1. gbnf says:

    The episode was great. However I had a serious issue with it. During the shootout at the end of the episode none of the bad guys reloaded their weapons. This was rather insulting considering the bad guys were using fully automatic weapons.

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