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Kicked in Our Heartballs: Here's What's Wrong with 'True Detective' This Season

By Lord Castleton | True Detective | July 24, 2015 |

By Lord Castleton | True Detective | July 24, 2015 |

Fair Warning: This isn’t a recap. This is a water cooler conversation and I’m Bert from Accounting. This is me just dishing with co-workers. This is the stream-of-consciousness stuff that irritates some of you. It is not a recap. Did I mention it’s not a recap? I assume you’ve seen this episode or just like reading me complaining about things. It’s meant to be light. Airy. Good clean fun. Either way, it’s not a recap. Know that, ye who continue on. And bless ye, either way.

It’s taken me a few days to get my feelings about True Detective episode 5 straight. Mostly because I just feel like we’re all collectively slummin’ it. Ours are the mouths that said the names “Ned Stark” and “Omar Little” and “Raylan Givens” and “Mal Reynolds.” Ours are the eyes that have seen showdowns:

and have calculated mean jerk time:


and found champions:


So asking us to sit here and connect dots where we have to say things like “So Chessani, the Vinci mayor, is in league with Pitlor…”

UGH. No. No. No.

We are elite TV watchers, people. We have degrees from the university of Coach Eric Taylor. Once upon a time we watched people like Leslie Knope and Liz Lemon and Veronica Mars and Buffy and that happened EVERY WEEK. Now? Well now we’re in the summer of our discontent, where even the surprising Mr. Robot can’t fill us all the way up. So we search, like hobbits around wight-mounds for the first time, for something to top us off. Something that can give us that Stringer Bell kick. That Don Draper surge. That Jack Donaghy wink.

And I personally hate when I like a show and then some douche on the internet rips it to pieces. So I’m only going to rip it a little and then tell you what I love about it. The True Detective grail quest is hard, and even though every week I try to like the show it seems intent on making me hate it. It’s the TV version of an ex wife. Here’s what we had this week:





I’ll paraphrase:


Dirtbag Mom: Caw caw caw! Scrape job! Caw Caw!

HE BLED FER THAT MONEY, YOU……cooze? Cooze? Really? That’s such a-

Wait a second! That’s it! Oh my god, Nic Pizzolatto is so genius! He used my extrapolation of the mom’s evil crowspeech to reintroduce the bird cult through-runner that we saw in Pitlor’s office and the dude that killed Caspere and shot Ray! And Woodrugh just figured out there’s a money bag in Guerneville! OH MY GOD BOHEMIAN GROVE PEOPLE! I CAN’T BELIEVE-

Wait wait. Hold on. That’s exactly the point I was making and I fell right back into it. We’re better than this dime store bullshit. When I began the holy grail quest that is True Detective I was full of vim and vigor. But there’s a reason why this show has lost almost half it’s audience since the pilot.


Does anyone actually give a shit about Guerneville or rail construction or Vinci or dirty weasels getting smoked? That’s the problem. This season True Detective just isn’t that interesting. You know what that’s like, to realize that? It’s like having blue balls. In your HEART.





Aye yai yai. So, balls in your heart? I’m reading that correctly, right? Heartballs. I just want to establish that I know after Nubshaker this sounds like something I’d come up with but this is straight up Pizz. Heartballs. Say no more. I’m on board.

And what emotions have tugged at our Heartballs this season? In toto? I guess I’ll just knock out the things that are kind of irking me.


Basically we’ve had a fat farting cop who was an evil shit (shocker!). Why couldn’t that disgusting, corrupt drunken louse be a good cop? Huh? How about playing against type? Sipowicz anyone? And we’ve got blue diamonds. Whenever anyone on screen sees blue diamonds they do a doubletake and look at each other, which is how I know they’re important to me. I mean, I know they were in Caspere’s safe deposit box, and then they weren’t.



Yup. That’s a blue diamond alright. Still have zero idea why that’s important.

We’ve had Ani pull her knife, but not use it. You want blue balls in your heart? In the words of Whirrun of Bligh, once the blade is unsheathed it must find blood before it can be put away. I think that’s pretty basic sword etiquette right there. Ani yanking her knife and her not carving a Z in someone’s chest fucked with my heartballs.


I love me some Rachel McAdams but Ani’s character has really lost my goodwill for some reason. Maybe it’s the defiance and the girth chatter. Maybe it’s how she lectured her sister and then only a few episodes later coached her sister to put herself in increased danger when it suited Ani’s needs. Maybe it’s just her pajama jeans. I don’t know…maybe Pizz just doesn’t write women all that well. But I thought she looked pretty kickass in her uni this week.

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And next week she’ll be undercover, possibly sans knives. Anyone worried that Ani’s speech about why she carries knives and how she could be overpowered physically might lead to a situation where she’s without a knife and gets overpowered? I’m concerned.


We’ve had the endlessly charming Duke and Duchess Seymon jess talkin’ babies, yo! Every week! Those scenes suck the life out of any room so effectively that they’re actually using them to perform abortions in undeveloped nations. True story. Why do you think they’re always talking about adoptions? It’s Nic Pizzolatto being so far ahead of us all it’s scary. He specifically wrote these scenes to challenge our very will to live.

And by the way…Frank killed Santos after that bare-knuckle Any Which Way But Loose grudge match? I thought he just pulled caps off the dude’s teeth. I have virtually zero knowledge of how grillz work (despite my clearly urban affect) but I thought they went OVER the teeth, Now it looks like Vince pulled out that dude’s teeth? Then killed him? Jeeeeezus. Frank Seymon is a cold motherfucker. What kind of way is that to greet the day, indeed!



I’m glad Frank waited like two months to tail Blake after he stopped trusting him and demoted him to pit boss. That makes sense. Ego-driven dudes like Blake always respond well to public demotion so he probably wasn’t up to anything in the last two months. OR HE WAS WORKING FOR OSIP. Makes no sense. It took you two months to look into that, Frank? Maybe the feeling on the back of your neck is stupidity. Khe Sanh, motherfucker! Don’t you remember how when you kneeled down on top of Santos Blake was there like INSTANTLY with pliers?


You barely had to even reach for them. Blake is tight. Blake is johnny on the spot. You think Blake was just going to go from head pliers-hander back to pit boss? OH NO NO MOTHERFUCKER! Maybe you had too much E-cig, homie!

The big news for Frank is that there’s a five million dollar hard drive out there. The Friendly Ghost (or whomever acid-washed his eyeballs) stole his 5 mil. That would have gotten Frank five parcels of land on the proposed train corridor. YAWN! Ohhhhh land! Hang on, my trousers get super tight whenever I’m talking about acquiring land. Is this Risk? Is this Settlers of Catan? Aaaanyway, he can recover his life’s work by finding that hard drive. BAM! No more standing around frown-watching skeezy call girls feather the hair of overweight businessmen! No more watching drug dealers do that money for drugs handover switcheroo. He can have it all back! Those dead avocado trees and the shrugging Hispanic gardener? Back! Having the same talk with Lady McBeth- er I mean Mrs. Seymon about whether she can have kids after three “surgeries” in multiple, expansive-though-somehow-grey rooms?” Back! Water stains that remind him of being a pre-pubescent rat brunch? FUCKING BACK, PEOPLE! That’s all we should see from Frank for the rest of the show is him hunting for a hard drive. If we see one second of conversation with Mrs. Seymon next week and the topic is anything other than HARD DRIVE you can immediately turn the show off.

And, just an aside, but you can’t have Frank and his wife talking in bed, cut away to another scene, and then cut back and they’re still in bed like no time has passed. TIME MARCHETH ONWARD MOTHERFUCKER! IN ONE DIRECTION! You wouldn’t get out of your first year of film school with that shit.

But the biggest loss of all this season is Ray Velcoro’s stache. Dear god I miss that thing.

Just look at the difference. It’s not okay. Chant with me! BRING BACK THE ‘STACHE! BRING BACK THE ‘STACHE!

ray no stache 3242.png

I will concede that nothing spells entertainment like carrion circled, bloody woodland torture shacks (if I had a nickel…) but the thing keeping this shitshow afloat is the performance of Colin Farrell. He’s the real winner in this season’s True Detective. I LOVE watching him. His reaction when he found out that Frank set him up and he killed the wrong man was pure gold. Look at those expressions!




Solid gold. His beating of Pitlor was awesome. He, and no one else, is carrying this show. He is an excellent actor. Compulsory In Bruges gif attack, obviously. Colin Farrell may just be the best face actor out there.



velcoro reaction.png

And as much as I pick on Pizzolatto, it does seem like things are winding into a resolution of sorts. And this dude does it all by his lonesome. Just sits in a room and steals all of it. I mean WRITES all of it. Jesus. That’s no easy task and my bird hat is off to him. He may just be operating on a different ethereal plane from the rest of us. I think he knew that some people would bail on this season and he specifically wrote a scene where he communicates directly with us. I think he wanted to challenge those of us who are still on the fence to stick around. In this scene it appears that Ray Velcoro is making a voice recording for his son who won’t ever listen to it, but it’s really Pizz talking directly to us.


Yes, it sure is. But I’m thinking about quitting the show. It’s not just blueballs in your heart, or the fact that it’s an eternal frown fest where not one character smiles. It’s just often very plodding and joyless…


It is painful! Yes. That’s the word I was looking for. Thanks.


Me? Okay…


Strangely enough, I asked that right after episode one. When Vince was like:

look hungry2.png

look hungry3.png

I was like “oh man” this feels like it’s taking itself too seriously, y’know? It’s like ‘how ‘bout a splash of color here and there!’ Just because the genre is dark doesn’t mean the cinematography has to be. Like why is the Vinci mayor’s office all acid-treated concrete? It feels kind of on the nose. If that guy has a Krusty the Clown office and isn’t hammered 24/7 now I’m like ‘this is interesting’ you know? Because I’m anticipating a huge part of this season is based around the premise that Chessani is the prime mover but he seems like a drunken half-idiot to me. You want him to be the head of the Gambino family but he feels like he’s the assistant pizza chef at Sal’s. I know a thing or two about Italian crime families and this dude wouldn’t even sniff underboss status anywhere, forget being the capo di tutti capi. So, there’s a disconnect somewhere, you know?


Oh, sorry. I thought you were done.




So you’re saying you can produce this painful-to-watch shit for longer than I can watch it? I accept your challenge! I will watch every miserable, sadness-inducing frame of your masterpiece, sir! And by god I will resent EVERY SINGLE ONE!

(Wait, what just happened here?)

I’ll finish by posting a few photographs of something the kids are making at a camp nearby. Remind anyone of the good ol’ days?

2015-07-23 15.12.01.jpg

2015-07-23 15.11.38.jpg

C A R C O S S A mothersniffers!

(Obviously no True Detective fans on that camp staff. So weird.)

And now, if you’ll forgive me…I must continue my quest. For the days of our kind are numberèd. The one God comes to drive out the many gods. The spirits of wood and stream grow silent. It’s the way of things. Yes…it’s a time for men, and their ways.

I totally stole that. It’s Merlin from Excalibur.


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Lord Castleton is a staff contributor. You can follow him on Twitter.