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Sweatpants & TV | True Detective 2×01 – “The Western Book of the Dead”

What Happened:
People.com described it best; “The premiere is tons and tons of web – nothing but web: sticky and frustrating.” I totally agree. I am not sure I can untangle the web with enough to accuracy describe what happened in episode one, but I’m going to try. We’re introduced to our main players:

  • Colin Farrell as Ray Velcoro the drunken, coke snorting detective with the ‘stache who has a colorful vocabulary and a short fuse.
    true-detectives2e1 colin farell
  • Vince Vaughn as Frank Semyon a business man with unsavory connections (Russian mob maybe?) trying to get his next big scheme bankrolled. Despite his smarminess, he seems to be the most normal. His wife is played the brilliant Kelly Reilly.
    truedetectives2ep1_Vince Vaughn
  • Rachel McAdams as Ani Bezzerides, a tough detective who enjoys gambling, kinky sex (too kinky, apparently, for the poor sap she kicks out in the morning). She has a cult leader for a father and an ex-prostitute turned web-cam girl for a sister.
    truedetectives2e1_rachelmcadams
  • Taylor Kitsch as Paul Woodrugh, a tortured veteran with probable PTSD who works for the California Highway Patrol. He seems to like his bike a little too much.
    truedetectives2e1_taylor kitsch

The basic plot is this: a city manager goes missing and Ray is tasked with the case, not only by his lieutenant, but also by Frank. Ray and Frank have known each other for about 12 years. Ray’s wife was raped, and it was Frank who led him to the guy who did it. Ray’s divorced now and wants more time with his kid, who is being bullied at school. Ray doesn’t take kindly to this and beats the bully’s dad with brass knuckles. He spends the entire episode, save for the flashback, under the influence. He wins for most fucked up, so far. Mr. City Manager is apparently very important to Frank’s railroad schemes and when a nosey journalist prints an article that hurts his business, that’s when he calls on Ray. Ray dons a ski mask and we later hear the journalist likened to Stephen Hawking. I’m guessing he won’t be writing much anymore.

Meanwhile, we watch Ani attempt to rescue her sister, who doesn’t really need rescuing. She’s clean and sober and enjoys her new job as a web cam girl. Later, during an eviction, the woman living in the house asks why the police have done nothing to help her find her missing sister. Ani takes the case on and begins tracking down her last known whereabouts, which happens to be her dad’s cult-like resort. After an awkward exchange where she blames her dad for all her sister’s issues, she heads to a casino to blow off steam. She’s kicked out and gets a call about a body.

Paul had a bad day. He was accused of soliciting sex from a driver on a high-way stop and is put on leave. He head’s to his girlfriend’s house for some feel-better sex but we see that his issues leave him unable to perform without the help of a blue pill.  While out on an adrenaline junkie joy ride (he’s avoiding the spending the night at his girl friend’s house), he almost wrecks his bike and stumbles upon the body of our missing City Manager, who is missing his eyes. Ani and Ray respond to their calls, and this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

What I loved: Rachel McAdams was the standout for me. I’m calling her Emmy right now. I loved seeing her take on a darker character.

What could’ve been better: I almost feel bad for this show because it has so much live up to. I haven’t had the excited on-the-edge-of-my-seat-omg-what’s-happening feeling with this season, yet. I’m going to reserve judgement until I’ve seen more because I know the first episode of a series takes time to lay out story, or in this case, spin the web.

What I’m looking forward to: Everything. I’m excited for this whole series to play out and discuss theories and tie the pieces together.

Best lines: “I welcome judgement” – Ray

“Never do anything out of hunger. Not even eat.” – Frank

“I am not comfortable imposing my will on anyone and I haven’t been since 1978.” – Ani’s dad

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About Shandle Blaha (270 Articles)
Shandle is the Chief Operations Officer for Sweatpants & Coffee. She's a traveler, bookworm, movie lover and TV junkie. She quotes Friends in her daily life and takes her coffee extra sweet, preferably in the form of a PSL.

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