‘True Detective’ Season 2 Episode 3 Recap: “Maybe Tomorrow”

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“I got shot. That’s something.”

Last week’s episode ended with Ray getting two shots to the chest, teasing the audience with the question of whether or not True Detective would be bold enough to kill off one of its main characters so quickly.

Of course not! I would have liked it more if they did (despite my love for Colin Farrell in this role; maybe he could investigate as a ghost?) hat would definitely be an odd turn for a decidedly series serious. So no, Ray Velcoro is alive. It turns out they were rubber bullets, those riot shells that usually cops use (a clue, a clue!) resulting not in Ray’s death but just a trippy dream sequence in which afterlife is a dank bar and a couple of painful cracked ribs — and an angry Ani who doesn’t like that Ray did some investigating without her.

To be perfectly honest, as this season of True Detective rolls on, I’m finding myself less and less interested in the main crime narrative. (Though, to be fair, neither Vinci nor Ventura departments are too into the case either, instead using it as means for something else but more on that later.) This isn’t a bad thing because True Detective is more about the people than the police work. In “Maybe Tomorrow,” I drifted off during some of the Caspare investigative scenes but found everything else more interesting.

Well, maybe not everything — I could still do without Frank’s impotence storyline (and really didn’t need those shots of astroglide and porn) though Kelly Reilly is great as his wife (“Suck your own dick”). But Vince Vaughn was pretty great throughout the hour, especially that surprising violent scene toward the end of the episode. I’m still trying to fully parse Frank’s character but he’s growing on me as a feasible villain.

Meanwhile, Paul is struggling to outrun his past. He won’t go to the meetings for veterans — Paul is definitely dealing with some PTSD that he refuses to acknowledge but there’s also more pressing issues he’s not dealing with either — and he refuses to ever talk about his time in the desert, even with (especially with) a fellow soldier. A lot went down in the desert too, but Paul’s internalized homophobia and outward aggression won’t let him accept the fact that he’s gay. It’s a clunky storyline (and last week’s glimpse into his home life and his overbearing mother didn’t instill much confidence) that is getting a little frustrating already, and not just because they’re wasting Kitsch’s talent. Paul does actually do some police work here, though, as he and Ani go to Mayor Chessani’s mansion and deal with his gross son.

Ani (whose key scenes in this episode involve her breaking up with the cop from the first episode — she tells him to be mature and “have some dignity — and puffing on that e-cig again) and Paul are working slightly better as partners than Ani and Ray. With Ani and Ray, their respective departments aren’t happy with each other. Vinci is worried about Ani doing too much snooping and learning too much whereas the Ventura department is very interested in Ray’s corrupt doings and want to leverage his crooked cop status. How? Well as woman suggests to Ani, she doesn’t have to fuck him but she should let Ray believe she will.

But Ray is already getting figuratively screwed. He’s dealing with living in the shadow of his equally boozy police father. There is a really heavy-handed scene where a doctor informs him (and us) that he’s unhealthy and not doing much to change it. His ex-wife Gena warns him that the state police stopped by her place to ask a few questions about Ray — any extra cash, history of violence, any possibility that he took “retribution” against her rapist, etc. —because they’re investigating him. To make matters worse, she also tries to pay Ray off with 10k if he promises not to contest her desire for full custody of their son. He doesn’t take it.

However, this does give Ray something to fight for — he seems to be on a somewhat suicidal alcoholic path — because he really does love Chad, and he wants to be the boy’s father whether he is biologically or not. And again, this remains far more compelling than Caspare’s death.