We get the world we deserve. Best of the Box’s highlights this week discovers that while this could be ‘our least favourite life’, it ain’t by any means our least favourite show. Yep, True Detective reaches it’s 90 minute finale, strap yourself in, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride.
True Detective (August 10th, Sky Atlantic HD 9PM)
Season two hasn’t had an easy ride. It has to be said. Dividing viewers (and turning them off) and critics alike who have wasted no time and space to criticise a slow burning and subversive show that is at once completely different to it’s previous season and at once very much alike. Many have expressed frustration with it’s character arcs, it’s lack of heart, it’s extremely nourish, hard boiled labyrinthian plot, multiple characters, threads and dialogue that many have found impenetrable and thus frustrating. If you have switched off then it is a real shame, but you can catch up and catch up quick. Perhaps this show would benefit from a binge watch anyway.
Season two has been a success on many fronts, just like it’s first season, a sentence that many will surely bulk at but hear us out. Structurally it almost mirrors season one, substituting various narrative techniques for another. In season one we had multiple narratives, time jumps and points of view that scuppered our understanding and muddied the mystery for us. We were invested in two characters, the world we saw from their point of view. If you remember there was a lot of hat levelled at season one for it’s portrayal of female characters, unjust as we were seeing the world from these two men’s eyes, we saw how they treated, respected and thought of women. It was there point of view.
In season two we are seeing the world from the cities point of view, the fiction city on Vinci is corrupt, dark, ill, a cancer if you will that is doing it’s best to spread. We meet our protagonists in episode one and learn of the their sicknesses, their damage that they have developed over the course of their fucked up lives. The land in Vinci is poisoned, killing eventually all who live upon it. Seeing the story unfold from the point of view of the city only serves to muddy the mystery along with the characters perspective. It is dense and thick like a novel, requiring attention and respect at it’s unfolding plot. Like the unreliable narrators in season one, the city cannot be trusted. Our protagonists are up against corruption on a huge scale, everyone, at the highest levels of this cancer want to prosper, survive and reap whatever benefits will come their way while remaining on top, their reward for keeping this disease alive. Go against it and the cancer’s soldiers will come at you with violence and misinformation.
The Lynchian vibe that has been apparent throughout the entirety of the season adds an extra layer of unreliability to the narrative workings, creating in some cases a fever dream, a dream of a possible dying animal (the city), a dream or nightmare of characters living out their least favourite lives, working through penance, making up for something horrible in a previous life. Working toward some form of acceptance that will allow them to exit this world that they deserved and move onto a new understanding and existence.
We have one episode left. 90 minutes that, HBO bosses have said, will be as satisfying as any season finale, one that we hope brings the story to a satisfying conclusion, one that will cause all who have watched it to go back and watch again with new eyes and understanding. But like all art, like the works of Lynch, part of the fun is bringing your own understanding to the table.
So what do we need to know going into this finale?
There are a lot of names and events in this mystery that can be difficult to keep hold of, but we are gonna try our best her and pull some of the threads together…
Those blue diamonds then… these were found in the murdered city manager Ben Caspere’s safe deposit box during episode 3. In episode 6 Paul Woodrugh looks into the diamonds and learns they were robbed from a jewellery shop during the LA riots way back in 1992. The colour blue may be significant if you are following the Lynch/dream ideas, but regardless, the owners of the store were murdered and looted with the diamonds being untraceable. Woodrugh also discovered that Lt. Kevin Burris and Detective Dixon (who lost his life in that awesome shoot out) were working under Vinci Police Chief Holloway at the time of the riots and the store where the diamonds were stolen from was in their district. Murdered city manager Caspere also worked in he same department. This leads Woodrugh, Velcoro and Bezzeridies to conclude that these dudes were all working together, with Caspere moving the diamonds.
The money from the diamonds then went to Vinci mayor Austin Chessani which lead to them becoming the keepers to one of the most corrupt cities in LA county.
That picture Velcoro and Bezzeridies were looking at with the two kids in? Orphans due to their parents being killed in the diamond heist during the 92 riots. They believe they met one of them, Erica, who worked in Caspere’s office. They are currently trying to track her down.
So what’s the deal with Caspere’s death? He had the diamonds, that is likely to be the reason for his murder. Dixon was checking up on the diamonds long before Woodrugh got involved, the likely perpetrator for the house toss. Then there is the Hungarian prostitute that was hoping to blackmail Caspere with photos of him at the high class sex party, who was later tortured and killed in the cabin in the woods. Is it possible the same was done to Caspere?
One of the only people who actually doing something to help clean up the city was State Attorney Katherine Davis. Davis was the one who made a special task force, uniting our fucked up three, but was killed. She was killed with one of Velcoro’s guns, leaving him and Bezzeridies (after she stab someone to death at the sex party she infiltrated) fugitives. three people that stood in the way of Mayor Chessani and California Attorney General Richard Geldof.
Woodrugh was the only one left to roam free and investigate due to the wanting of Velcoro and Bezzeridies. But that stopped last week with a couple of bullets from a the gun of Burris after Holloway tried to blackmail him with pictures of him with another man. Burris is most like the man in the crow mask who shot Velcoro in episode two.
Frank discovers that everything he has been working for was a lie. Even if Caspere had been alive, the money and power he was working toward were never going to be his. So last week, he took what he could and burnt it all down. He discovers a large money drop that is due to take place between the people who have betrayed him and double crossed him. It is very likely that he will be on his way to that drop.
Phew… Like we said, buckle up, it’s gonna be a bumpy 90 minutes. We will miss musing over this mystery, but we feel there will be plenty of readings to dive into once he credits roll on season 2.
The Last Man on Earth (August 10th, Dave 9PM)
In 2022, a cataclysm strikes Earth, seemingly wiping out the population save for a former family man and bank employee Phil Miller. Sad and very lonely, Phil travels the USA, Canada and Mexico in his RV searching for other survivors. Striving to hold onto hope that there is at least one more living person out there, he tries to make the best of circumstances until his path finally crosses with that hoped for survivor who he really hopes will be a lady… we are pretty excited for this!
Aquarius (August 11th, Sky Atlantic 9PM)
Before Mulder comes back to screens next year in The X- Files revival, David Duchovny goes up against in Charles Manson and his Family in this new crime drama. Looks good!
Wet Hot American Summer (Now, Netflix)
The whole series can be viewed now on Netflix and it doesn’t disappoint! Ridiculous and funny in equal measure, a prequel to the film from over ten years ago, this sees original stars Bradley Cooper, Paul Rudd reprise their roles. Perfect for a wet hot, err, British summer!
Atomic: Living in Dread and Promise: Storyville (August 9th, BBC4 9PM)
Documentary examining how nuclear power has changed the world in the 70 years since the bombing of Hiroshima. The film is comprised entirely of archive footage, and explores the positive and negative aspects of the atomic age, contrasting protest marches, the Cold War and the Chernobyl and Fukishima disasters with advances in medical sciences.