What Were the Best and Worst Episodes of True Detective Season Two?

According to critics, season two was all over the place

by | August 9, 2015 | Comments


See how each one of the True Detective: Season Two episodes scored on the Tomatometer.
(Click on the image to see a larger version)


Season two of True Detective was overhyped so early in its incubation that it seemed destined to disappoint at least some of its 12 millions weekly viewers. With the first season gaining meteoric momentum by its midpoint, thanks to standout performances by Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, fans of Nic Pizzolatto’s crime mystery were champing at the bit for anything in the news to indicate what was to come with the second installment. And when the announcements rolled around that the season two cast would include Colin Farrell, Rachel McAdams, Taylor Kitch, and Vince Vaughn, the internet was already making judgments about the stars’ abilities to measure up to season one’s legacy.

Well, the verdict is in for season two, and compared to the Certified Fresh first season, it’s safe to assume that even the critics’ True Detective fever broke once we investigated Vinci’s layers of local corruption and personal tragedies. But that’s not to say that the second season was without its highlights. Here’s how each episode stacked up with critics in season two. [Warning: Spoilers ahead!]



What Went Down: The season opener introduces its major players separately: Ani Bezzerides is a no-nonsense Ventura County detective with strained family ties; CHP officer Paul Woodrugh faces false accusations of sexual misconduct; and Ray Velcoro is a burned out detective in Vinci, California with domestic troubles and a longstanding debt to local mob associate Framk Semyon, whose grand real estate development plans suffer a setback when the city manager disappears.

What Critics Thought: Strong performances by the season two True Detective cast make for a compelling hour of television, even when the story takes a little too long to get going.


What Went Down: Velcoro, Bezzerides, and Woodrugh are jointly tasked with investigating Ben Caspere’s murder, while Frank Semyon begins a probe of his own when he discovers Caspere cheated him out of his money. All three cops are issued conflicting directives about their investigation by their superiors, and Velcoro’s connection to Semyon leads him to a shocking discovery that leaves his life hanging in the balance.

What Critics Thought: With “Night Finds You,” True Detective deftly contextualizes its four main characters, even if some of their backstories feel stale.


What Went Down: While Semyon attempts to keep his business interests in line after one of his men is killed, Woodrugh explores the prostitute angle at a local club and falls prey to old temptations. Later, Velcoro and Bezzerides follow a lead on a stolen car, culminating in an unexpected confrontation.

What Critics Thought: “Maybe Tomorrow” serves as a dark, stylish diversion from earlier episodes, even if it offers a somewhat less-than-satisfying conclusion to a previous cliffhanger.


What Went Down: In an attempt to shore up his finances, Semyon makes moves to reenter the criminal underworld he hoped to leave behind. Meanwhile, after it’s discovered Chessani and Caspere have been colluding for decades, Bezzerides and Woodrugh are confronted by unexpected setbacks. Later, the detectives follow up on a pawn shop lead that ends in a messy, chaotic gunfight.

What Critics Thought: Though the final scene of True Detective’s “Down Will Come” was spectacular, the events hardly felt earned after a brooding, clunky hour of storytelling.

 EPISODE 5: “OTHER LIVES” (Rotten54%)

What Went Down: The Caspere investigation is conveniently closed after the meth lab shootout, but Velcoro, Bezzerides, and Woodrugh are brought back together two months later when Bezzerides uncovers a new lead. Velcoro also makes a troubling discovery about his past with Semyon, who satisfies a hunch he has about one of his top men.

What Critics Thought: “Other Lives” succeeds in rebooting the characters of True Detective, but it might come too late in the season to create new tension.


What Went Down: Velcoro and Semyon establish a truce, and Semyon’s own search for an incriminating hard drive coincides with the detectives’ investigation into Caspere and Chessani’s extracurricular activities. Bezzerides goes undercover at a secret party, where things quickly spiral out of control after she locates a missing person. Velcoro and Woodrugh are able to collect key evidence and flee the scene with Bezzerides and their witness, but they leave a dead body in their wake.

What Critics Thought: A nightmarish scene with Rachel McAdams and a strong performance from Vince Vaughn stand out in “Ruin in Churches,” an episode that still suffers from the flaws of True Detective’s overarching story in season two.


What Went Down: Aware of the danger they’re in, Bezzerides and Woodrugh move their loved ones to safety. The detectives piece together a theory about Caspere’s murder, while Semyon, armed with new knowledge, puts his final play against the Russians in motion. Unbeknownst to his partners, Woodrugh agrees to meet with an anonymous blackmailer, aware he may be walking into a trap.

What Critics Thought: Tense and tightly paced, “Black Maps and Motel Rooms” finds the disparate — and often vague — strands of True Detective coming into sharper focus.


What Went Down: After learning of Woodrugh’s death, Velcoro and Bezzerides weigh their options and, in pursuit of a final lead, come face to face with the truth. When a tense showdown erupts in violence, the two detectives plan their exit strategy with Semyon, who enlists Velcoro’s help in one last score, hoping to secure a big payday and deliver some justice in the process.

What Critics Thought: A disappointing ending to a disappointing season, “Omega Station” was packed with incident but ultimately failed to tie together the many narrative strands of True Detective’s second incarnation.

Tag Cloud

FX on Hulu supernatural Ellie Kemper zero dark thirty dceu child's play video on demand TruTV Tarantino venice Cannes true crime finale canceled Musicals theme song Lionsgate TCA Winter 2020 binge spanish First Look IFC Films archives Syfy Holiday emmy awards Funimation spanish language FXX Turner YouTube Fantasy 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Mary Tyler Moore 2017 X-Men CW Seed Opinion TCA robots Chernobyl television indiana jones Valentine's Day Pet Sematary History CNN Turner Classic Movies Disney streaming service cartoon Britbox Fox Searchlight Quiz what to watch Dark Horse Comics Academy Awards spain Mary poppins Exclusive Video universal monsters foreign Paramount Network rotten popular worst movies Adult Swim Amazon Prime TV Land YouTube Premium movie Marvel Studios dramedy cats NBC American Society of Cinematographers razzies blaxploitation Animation Amazon Studios ratings FX TV renewals heist movie MTV Paramount Plus Trophy Talk USA Network Television Academy CBS Creative Arts Emmys Baby Yoda Shondaland 21st Century Fox Oscars cancelled cancelled TV shows trailers fresh 99% dogs E3 streaming Teen Calendar hidden camera 4/20 2019 comic books Starz twilight Cosplay PlayStation ghosts Travel Channel Video Games GLAAD LGBT ITV The Walt Disney Company rotten movies we love Western canceled TV shows stop motion scary movies video Ghostbusters ABC Mystery space Discovery Channel OWN jurassic park joker WarnerMedia period drama cinemax japanese Star Wars laika Marvel Sundance TV E! telelvision monster movies richard e. Grant Comedy Central Polls and Games all-time Marvel Television Masterpiece Heroines Binge Guide 2018 20th Century Fox Alien Trailer YouTube Red The Walking Dead football sequels films 24 frames Women's History Month Black History Month Election Universal Stephen King Mindy Kaling diversity breaking bad spider-man discovery superman Spectrum Originals spinoff cars YA toronto 71st Emmy Awards james bond book zombie 007 TV One halloween tv HBO Go cops anthology biography french Music Peacock Hallmark President nature The Arrangement Super Bowl ABC Family scorecard crossover Comic Book Warner Bros. IFC TCA Awards Pirates First Reviews Toys war comics social media Shudder Best and Worst Emmy Nominations mutant Esquire italian Sundance comiccon vampires comic Pixar Walt Disney Pictures romantic comedy Disney Plus TNT The Witch stand-up comedy docudrama Arrowverse nbcuniversal ESPN El Rey quibi golden globe awards Pride Month Comedy obituary Awards zombies Writers Guild of America political drama die hard green book TLC Extras Fall TV werewolf thriller screenings Captain marvel Rocky See It Skip It HBO Superheroes Apple TV Plus cults Summer psycho Drama versus fast and furious mockumentary Netflix The Purge unscripted Ovation GoT Black Mirror witnail CBS All Access Crunchyroll Logo kong Epix Showtime facebook technology book adaptation singing competition TIFF TCM screen actors guild boxoffice FOX Marathons king kong mission: impossible transformers blockbusters 2016 crime thriller dark spy thriller Reality Competition HBO Max crime series game of thrones OneApp VH1 Tumblr sequel Christmas Film Winners Comics on TV chucky Disney Channel Martial Arts dc VOD docuseries talk show Red Carpet Action nfl adventure godzilla Elton John VICE ABC Signature DC Universe Thanksgiving TCA 2017 asian-american comedies teaser Emmys Rock Hear Us Out Certified Fresh Pop New York Comic Con tv talk DirecTV toy story Netflix Christmas movies Premiere Dates DC Comics Sci-Fi Schedule Countdown Podcast BBC America Grammys halloween christmas movies Star Trek Nominations AMC miniseries Paramount Disney+ Disney Plus Nat Geo a nightmare on elm street natural history Sneak Peek Lifetime Christmas movies Awards Tour National Geographic Tubi australia CMT casting sports dragons elevated horror adaptation Apple TV+ critics PaleyFest PBS BAFTA Acorn TV Pop TV sitcom game show pirates of the caribbean RT History Song of Ice and Fire south america Amazon 2020 reviews festival Fox News BET Film Festival Rocketman TBS criterion Set visit Legendary GIFs Tomatazos medical drama documentaries MSNBC prank Horror science fiction TV Country Freeform strong female leads The CW Lucasfilm Mary Poppins Returns Mudbound Apple news Winter TV Classic Film Reality movies festivals Endgame SundanceTV stoner Brie Larson name the review Photos Family Infographic women crime drama doctor who composers 45 Food Network San Diego Comic-Con hist Biopics Bravo sag awards Sundance Now Crackle Chilling Adventures of Sabrina police drama disaster Spring TV remakes Holidays Box Office ID aliens ViacomCBS deadpool rt archives RT21 travel Disney Amazon Prime Video Lifetime black jamie lee curtis directors latino anime BBC One based on movie Anna Paquin politics APB kaiju Avengers new star wars movies Spike serial killer Sony Pictures BBC Musical parents BET Awards A24 golden globes USA Vudu Columbia Pictures blockbuster cancelled television classics Interview superhero Trivia reboot SDCC cancelled TV series SXSW Year in Review batman harry potter psychological thriller revenge MCU best Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt animated Nickelodeon award winner 72 Emmy Awards 2021 DGA Hulu Kids & Family Television Critics Association indie NYCC cooking 2015 kids Character Guide justice league romance boxing hollywood LGBTQ concert slashers historical drama 93rd Oscars independent Rom-Com Watching Series Cartoon Network rom-coms A&E documentary franchise The Academy renewed TV shows DC streaming service hispanic Broadway free movies children's TV satire Superheroe WGN worst Hallmark Christmas movies