Season Two, Episode Five — “Other Lives”
By Jarrod Jones. So. Last week. Looked like some serious shit was about to go down after Ani botched that raid, didn’t it? Well, it kinda did, but according to the first words spoken in this week’s episode, the show went ahead and jumped forward sixty-six days. (Oof. I’m dizzy.) The hell that is our True Detectives’ lives might have been better served had Nic Pizzolatto thrown an extra six on that number, or would that have been putting too fine a point on it? *scratches chin* The long, slow trickle of True Detective‘s second season oozes onward towards whatever end it’ll ultimately settle for. (“Ehh… that’ll do.” – Nic Pizzolatto.) Ray tries his best Tony Soprano impersonation. Ani switches to Camels. And Paul gets slick about drinking on the sly.
WHAT WORKED: Paul’s facetime with
Lindsay Lohan Lacey Lindel (Ashley Hinshaw) got my blood up in a way True Detective rarely ever can. Smarmy lawyers (oh, that Lloyd Braun!) protecting a dried-up ingenue against the shaky virtue of Paul Woodrugh (Taylor Kitsch) should have signaled a quick trip to the bathroom, but Paul’s simmering hate-lust had me breaking open the bon-bons. All that needed to happen was Paul flipping that table over, and we just might have had a Best Moment on our hands.
WHAT DIDN’T: It’s just procedure to feel this way at this point in the show, but I’m really getting really sick of Ani’s bullshit. Watching Bezzerides (Rachel McAdams) huff and puff her way through a mandatory sexual harassment sit-down got me to feel just as annoyed as The Bezz (™ 2015, DoomRocket) typically does. “I just like really big dicks,” she says to a room full of alpha male shit heads in an act of pure, unbridled impertinence. So, bravo? You know that shrink reports to your superiors, right, Ani? For a woman who’s letting the Ben Caspere case haunt her to no end, she sure is making life as difficult as possible to get any resolution from it. Tough talk from someone who should be in jail at this point.
The atmosphere of True Detective‘s second season definitely borrows from The Sopranos (amongst the twenty other things it borrows from), and Frank’s return to “the life” offers shades of this that can only pale in comparison: in his reacquired strip joint, Frank puts the squeeze on a pinched colleague who takes the opportunity to squeak about the economy, which was damn-near every episode of the first three seasons to David Chase’s mob drama when you really think about it. The parallels are only compounded when you also realize Frank ain’t getting on with his put-upon wife (Kelly Reilly), and he frequently uses his size to intimidate those who would otherwise stymie him. Only thing is, Vince Vaughn sure as hell ain’t no James Gandolfini.
“Can I help you, Cisco Kid?” – Frank.
“Ben was king fuck of pud pulling.” – Mayor Chessani.
“You hear about the kid? Fraud investigations? He was a fucking god warrior that day.” – Ray, flexing his selective memory.
BEST MOMENT: Mayor Chessani takes a nap. If you ever need an example to show how inert this whole season was, take the time and make a gif of Austin Chessani (Ritchie Coster) napping at his desk. Of all the characters in this season, Austin is the fella I enjoy the most: he’s unpretentious, rude, and most important of all, he’s honest (at least when it suits him). Dunno about you, but I’d tune into a weekly show about the wacky escapades of Vinci’s tiresome chieftain. (Here, have a screengrab.)
EPISODE’S MVP: Paul Woodrugh. Watching Paul sneak two airplane bottles of vodka into his iced tea during a family dinner provided a crucial public service as to how one survives crippling mediocrity. And seeing Paul guzzle the refreshment after learning that his soon-to-be mother-in-law is going to be moving in was a moment of unintentional hilarity. I’ll never fear a family gathering ever again. Thanks, Paul.
– Ever notice how no one says goodbye to anybody in this show?
– Now I know what it would look like if Rick Springfield spat out a tooth. Thanks, True Detective!
– Guess Ani’s off the e-cigs and back on the Camels. Progress.
– “Some Lee Marvin movie on TCM.” Never figured Frank and Jordan to be the “snuggle to cable” sort of couple, but at least they have taste.
– Sometimes when I watch this show I zone out and remember that really great Dirty Harry send-up on The Simpsons, and think about how ludicrously interchangeable these two entities really are.