True Detective: “Maybe Tomorrow” Season 2 Episode 3 Review

Photo Credit:http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2015/07/05/true-detective-recap-season-2-episode-3-maybe-tomorrow/

After a rough start, season two of True Detective seems to finally be finding its footing. “Maybe Tomorrow” didn’t fix all of the season’s problems, but it made some serious headway on them.

Right from the opening sequence, in which Ray dreams up a father and an Elvis impersonator, this episode strikes a more absurdist tone than the previous entries. From there, “Maybe Tomorrow” was a bloody, fun affair that played up the more ridiculous roots of the noir genre. It also helps that, just as the show starts getting ridiculous, the script takes steps to catch Ani and Paul up to Ray in terms of humanity.

But first, false alarm from my review last week. I cried foul when the show seemingly killed off its only good character in the second episode. But Ray turns out to be alive and well! He was shot with non-lethal ammo, which makes the mystery of who shot him all the more interesting.

From there, Ani got paired with Paul for the first half of the episode, and then Ray again for the second half. It’s fun to have her be the loose canon with Paul and then get dialed back next to Ray. But the character’s determination felt genuine in this episode, instead of Rachel McAdams just clenching her eyebrows. Having her take the lead in the climactic chase of the episode was a powerful move, while also further developing the power team she and Ray appear to be forming. Now just to get Paul involved.

Speaking of Paul, he seems to have all kinda of backwards problems. As a man of the US military and now a law enforcement officer, he has no plans to admit his Afghan desert version of Brokeback Mountain. “Maybe Tomorrow” heavily implied that Paul is gay. Heavily. I do question how much Paul’s sexuality will influence the rest of the season. The story of a man repressed in a generally liberal metropolis in 2015 could be interesting to watch, but True Detective hasn’t proved it’s the right show to tell that story yet. But Taylor Kitsch is starting to feel more like a real human character because of it. Like Ani, it took too long to show the sliver of humanity, but now that it’s there, this season’s playground just got a little bit bigger.

But for all this improvement, Frank’s story still just does not work. It’s a shame because Kelly Reilly is doing amazing work as his wife Jordan, but Frank remains the central figure here, and Vince Vaughn continues to disappoint. While his fight scene toward the end contributed to the show’s more hard-boiled tone, it was initially awkwardly staged, mostly because Vaughn has yet to achieve the screen presence his characters is so desperate to command. The final scene of the episode was effective though, as he’s clearly shaken up by his own actions.

So while Frank’s storyline continues to be troublesome, there were some great improvements for the rest of the cast. Ani and Paul are suddenly a lot more interesting to watch, while Ray being alive is a major plus for a season that seemed doomed at the end of last week’s episode. Season two of True Detective is still disappointing, but a lot less so this week. Grade: B

 

Some Other Notes:

– The lighting of that chase scene at the end was gorgeous. The way the orange-yellow hue of the street lamps reflected on the darkness of the pavement and trees had the look of a proper neo-noir. That is to say, it looked a lot like Collateral.

– “Is that a fucking e-cigarette?”

– I realized the kind of performance I want from Vince Vaughn in the middle of his violent fight scene. Look no further than what Vincent D’Onofrio did on the superhero noir Daredevil earlier this year. That was an inconsistent, problematic performance in a lot of ways, but it was always interesting and would work perfectly with the tone this show is slowly establishing. More scenery chewing, less blah.

– This is the season of sexual frustration. Maybe everyone is so unhappy because they can’t perform in the bedroom. Like, love won Paul, go meet the angel fella behind the bar and unwind!

 

By Matt Dougherty

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