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

superman mob Elton John Black Mirror Spectrum Originals monster movies Song of Ice and Fire crime Funimation singing competition cancelled television Superheroe spanish Tags: Comedy Alien LGBT ghosts documentaries USA telelvision TV latino composers ESPN Starz superhero TV renewals Pop TV Netflix scary hist universal monsters Star Trek BBC Film Biopics American Society of Cinematographers psycho Cannes name the review Sneak Peek trailers suspense TCA 2017 Sundance TV 94th Oscars discovery comics IFC movie Turner comiccon scene in color TBS kaiju target mutant king arthur basketball comedies war rt archives Exclusive Video Mudbound Crunchyroll TIFF doctor who Valentine's Day toy story Syfy Emmy Nominations Martial Arts Apple TV Plus A&E mockumentary dceu teaser MGM The Walt Disney Company streaming movies San Diego Comic-Con Mindy Kaling vs. Calendar cars Lifetime Christmas movies saw christmas movies Musicals Acorn TV Family Comic-Con@Home 2021 Creative Arts Emmys Paramount Network classics Superheroes broadcast interviews blaxploitation Hollywood Foreign Press Association Sundance HFPA high school talk show black comedy Amazon Studios psychological thriller romantic comedy Columbia Pictures Marvel anthology Best and Worst festival romance Amazon Prime Video facebook political drama casting CW Seed History travel new york olympics Reality nfl Action Lionsgate slasher Best Picture Mary Poppins Returns Best Director South by Southwest Film Festival WGN posters lord of the rings child's play 2020 Captain marvel Women's History Month 007 nature adventure TLC marvel comics Tumblr trophy Grammys The Arrangement Television Academy Disney Plus Black History Month Ghostbusters gangster docudrama indiana jones dogs fast and furious YouTube Premium Arrowverse adenture films technology Pride Month Broadway Pet Sematary President summer TV preview adaptation aliens cults movies TNT diversity Quiz cancelled TV shows quibi Fall TV royal family independent parents Dark Horse Comics dexter Shondaland FX on Hulu boxoffice cinemax art house halloween tv Legendary Sundance Now Marvel Studios zombie summer TV Television Critics Association Esquire ratings Watching Series Rocketman SXSW 2022 Warner Bros. Star Wars Celebration Oscar Prime Video stop motion streaming scorecard based on movie Music spanish language anime dark Universal Food Network 4/20 TruTV jamie lee curtis Best Actor Lifetime international comic books medical drama Fantasy Marathons 1990s strong female leads VH1 all-time Pacific Islander Ovation Opinion Anna Paquin twilight Rock action-comedy HBO heist movie RT History free movies venice 79th Golden Globes Awards toronto versus Horror black Shudder worst joker book spinoff pirates of the caribbean Hear Us Out Heroines obituary Reality Competition New York Comic Con remakes Mary poppins screenings young adult FOX football finale canceled 21st Century Fox 45 crossover stoner Native Trivia Sci-Fi Paramount Plus Spike USA Network biopic Interview video new star wars movies debate Masterpiece crime thriller book adaptation 2015 critics Fox Searchlight sequel CMT Vudu Apple Set visit VOD festivals Hallmark Christmas movies mcc Fargo hispanic Hallmark indie Pirates Cosplay renewed TV shows Indigenous thriller ABC japan Tomatazos CNN natural history period drama screen actors guild Sony Pictures AMC Awards BET Crackle nbcuniversal sports Endgame 2021 Lucasfilm popular wonder woman NYCC PlayStation DC Universe MCU dragons rotten movies we love leaderboard OWN Bravo hollywood mission: impossible dreamworks foreign sitcom BBC One Trophy Talk animated boxing Sony italian aapi prank Showtime new zealand Super Bowl legend jurassic park elevated horror DC Comics ABC Signature archives supernatural kong Thanksgiving asian-american obi wan fresh reviews BAFTA golden globe awards laika First Look Baby Yoda Infographic live action FXX X-Men 2017 Countdown Academy Awards sequels binge werewolf Nat Geo cancelled Nominations Amazon LGBTQ razzies Ellie Kemper stand-up comedy NBA spider-verse james bond Amazon Prime worst movies game of thrones Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt hidden camera SDCC comic book movies harry potter See It Skip It Fox News PaleyFest Schedule IMDb TV biography GLAAD PBS Cartoon Network cooking blockbusters witnail Emmys video on demand satire Year in Review 24 frames ViacomCBS target scene in color 2018 Hulu YouTube MTV comic book movie women rt labs critics edition Rocky Holiday cops halloween Holidays Spring TV Premiere Dates Image Comics Musical National Geographic breaking bad 93rd Oscars The Academy CBS All Access Winners french Trailer concert BBC America rt labs blockbuster Best Actress canceled TV shows Extras The Purge AMC Plus south america scene in color film series batman IFC Films 90s deadpool Box Office Wes Anderson Animation SundanceTV godzilla sag awards RT21 Mary Tyler Moore news spy thriller Star Wars Classic Film ID 72 Emmy Awards El Rey chucky Chernobyl spider-man serial killer robots richard e. Grant Tarantino hispanic heritage month TV movies scary movies cats Disney streaming service APB tv talk golden globes Winter TV Logo Writers Guild of America 2019 television criterion dc comic know your critic Certified Fresh Awards Tour scene in color series Stephen King genre 20th Century Fox historical drama Toys First Reviews Disney+ Disney Plus what to watch Avengers Teen a nightmare on elm street theme song SXSW Comics on TV crime drama 73rd Emmy Awards Brie Larson king kong zombies Disney Oscars HBO Go green book reboot Adult Swim DC streaming service WarnerMedia cartoon Election children's TV Country Comic Book Photos Paramount Pictures Mystery marvel cinematic universe Comedy Central CBS award winner VICE MSNBC sopranos Peacock BET Awards Podcast die hard The Walking Dead spain Binge Guide TCM Geeked Week The Witch Summer Kids & Family Tokyo Olympics Comedy A24 Pixar Film Festival Turner Classic Movies TV One justice league zero dark thirty 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Universal Pictures FX The CW GoT Rom-Com HBO Max 2016 japanese game show directors documentary Nickelodeon GIFs unscripted Disney Channel disaster Paramount Character Guide Britbox TCA summer preview critic resources YA Red Carpet cancelled TV series police drama E! politics ABC Family 99% Discovery Channel transformers Travel Channel social media docuseries streamig Netflix Christmas movies DGA Walt Disney Pictures TCA Winter 2020 Tubi YouTube Red Pop Drama Christmas Focus Features Instagram Live Epix rom-coms science fiction revenge 71st Emmy Awards Apple TV+ australia live event E3 Video Games Neflix kids Polls and Games franchise miniseries Marvel Television Western NBC emmy awards Chilling Adventures of Sabrina TCA Awards slashers space TV Land DirecTV dramedy vampires Freeform true crime best feel good series rotten OneApp ITV