<i>True Detective</i> Season 2: Welcome to Vinci

Photo of <i>True Detective</i> Season 2: Welcome to Vinci

Each week following episodes of True Detective, audition reel for Lincoln . One interesting change: In contrast to the blatant 10,000 balloons .) Hell, even dead city manager Ben Caspar’s playboy mansion overlooks heavy industry.

Another of the early pleasures of this new season is the way it digs into the gold mine that is California crime fiction, from Chandler and Hammett through Chinatown and beyond. (It’s probably not a coincidence that Farrell’s character is named “Raymond.”) But by far the strongest echo for me is to James Ellroy, and in particular to his best line of Mickey Rourke's career, in Body Heat.)

I’m not yet sold on Vince Vaughn as Frank, but I’m not unsold either, which was probably a greater risk. We’ll see how his performance develops, but I’m at least intrigued by the (almost certainly deliberate) parallels: a mobster who keeps trying, without much success, to go legit, played by a comic actor who keeps trying, also without much success, to establish himself as a serious actor. This will be something to watch.

What I am definitely unsold on is the idea that a self-identified police officer could brutalize a middle-class homeowner on his very own doorstep, without a disguise and in front of a witness, and not face serious repercussions. I don’t care how corrupt Vinci is. It was tough enough to swallow Ray’s masked beating of (and theft from) a newspaper journalist—which would, of course, be bigger news than anything else the poor guy was going to write. But I’m willing to suspend my disbelief for shots as good as Ray’s finger-to-the-mouth shushing (which you mentioned, Spencer), and the way the violence that ensued was conveyed by the merest fluttering of the bedroom blinds.

Which is another way of saying that, like you, Sophie, I’m buying into the delightful ridiculousness of the show. I was one of those who went G-force centrifuge in Moonraker .

The final scene, with the principal characters finally united and eyeing each other like gunfighters in a Sergio Leone movie, was also a bit over the top, but in the most delicious way possible. I loved the camera spiraling away from them and up into the night sky. Finally, I don’t know whether you guys recognized it, but the gloomy, electric dirge that accompanied the credits was actually a cover of the Gatlin Brothers’ 1979 pop-country ditty “All the Gold in California.” Anyone in need of a bit of light, chuckling nostalgia after the grimness of the episode can find the original here . See you next week!

This article was originally published at http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2015/06/true-detective-season-2-episode-1-roundtable-the-western-book-of-the-dead/396245/

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