True Detective Season 2 Episode 4: 'Down Will Come' Recap

5 major talking points from this week's episode

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"You let yourself go man. Be what you want, it ain't bad."
So spoke the solider friend of Paul Woodrugh whose bed he woke up in after last week's bender, a kind enough seeming guy and the only one to give him any good advice all episode. Still, it wasn't enough to stop Woodrugh spiraling off in a fit of self-loathing, which included screaming "fuck" at himself in the street. By the end of the episode, he'd hastily proposed to his pregnant ex-girlfriend – you remember, the one he has to take Viagra to have sex with – in a further echo of Julien Lowe's storyline from The Shield (worth a watch, by the way). As the two new fiancés huddled behind the rain-streaked window of their diner, it was hard to recall a couple looking more lonelier together. Say what you like about True Detective Part II, it knows how to do human misery better than most.

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"I never lost a tooth. Never even had a fucking cavity."
Frank is getting his gangster game back – what choice does he have, now he's bankrupt? – though thankfully, in this episode that meant a series of menacing chats rather than anything resembling last week's accidentally comical fisticuffs. The problem with the Frank storyline is the dialogue, which veers from the enjoyably vivid and hard-boiled (his 'being locked in the cellar with rats' story from his childhood) to the kind of 'tough talk' that sounds like it is supposed to be a parody. The line above – delivered to a drug dealer Frank was trying to intimidate after he suggested he took too much sugar in his coffee – was very much in the latter camp.

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"This wouldn't happen to a man."
Ani's sexual history came back to haunt her after the officer she was sleeping with in episode one – one of her underlings, it turns out – lodged a formal complaint and got her suspended. What followed was a period of what you might call 'slut-shaming' as her boss called her out, not only for that affair, but the other men she had slept with in the office too. She called it sexism, he denied he wouldn't have treated a male officer exactly the same way. It's hard to see where the show is going with this storyline, but a nuanced examination of modern day gender politics seems unlikely. When her boss also mentioned Ani's supposed gambling debts, you got the sense it might be the least of her problems anyway.

"This bar takes six figures at the weekends."
Seriously Frank? That bar? The bar that's gloomier than a crack den? The bar that never has anyone in it except the sad guitar girl and you, who drinks for free, and Ray Velcoro, who doesn't even drink anymore? On that evidence we're quitting Britain to open a dive bar in California immediately.

The shoot out.
Finally to the show's climax, and the biggest action set piece of the series so far. It involved all three of the main players showing up to chase a suspect and being sprayed by two gangsters with Uzis. The whole thing had an air of 'end of level boss' about it as the detectives tried to take them out with only their pistols, and more than a couple of the supporting cast were wiped out in the melee. Despite not getting anywhere near the heights of TD1's virtuoso tracking shot gun fight, it was a tightly directed and exhilarating way to end the episiode. I particularly liked the way the camera lingered with the three at the end just a beat or two longer than you'd expect, hammering home their shock and revulsion at what had happened. Let's hope episode five picks up where it left off.

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