True Detective: ‘The Western Book of the Dead’ Review

The Vinci Code

The Vinci Code

True Detective is back for its second season and, after following the story of Rust and Marty last year, it’s time for a complete reboot for Season 2. Welcome to Vinci. New cast, new city and new story and I am thrilled. The one thing that made True Detective so great last year was its picture perfect visuals and being able to turn something simple into something eye-appealing. That has certainly not changed this time around.

One other great thing about this show: its opening intro. It reminds me of The Wire, where every season gets a rebooted intro. Visually though, these intros are phenomenally done so check it out below:

Now grab your best detective hat, raise your glass…

True Detective Toast

…and lets get to work because this mystery is not going to solve itself. Enjoy the recap.

Everybody Loves Raymond

Our premiere episode, titled Western Book of the Dead, begins with this random shot and I can only assume this will be relevant at some point which is why I wanted to include it:

Field Day

Maybe it’s nothing but I’m thinking this scene will come into play at some point in the season so lets add it to the list of mysteries for now.

We also meet our first character, Ray Velcoro, and he’s sporting one amazing, bad ass moustache. I can already tell that Colin Ferrell is going to absolutely kill it on this show, especially after the events of the premiere. First up though, Ray is dropping off his kid at school…

School of Hard Knocks

…and it looks as though his pudgy ginger kid is having some trouble with bullying. But kiddo, it’s all good since your dad is Ray fucking Velcoro, more on that in a little bit. We then get our first True Detective style interview with Ray who explains that his wife was beaten and raped (and possibly pregnant) and they never caught the man who did it. Oh, and that mustache!

Mustache Rides

So obviously Ray has some baggage and is easily the most compelling character so far. He is also a cop who loves to drink heavily.

Back at Vinci Police HQ, Ray is filled in on the missing city manager, Ben Casper and away we go into our stories main mystery. So Ray grabs some of his friends, some of which don’t appear to be qualified for a detective job, and off we go to Casper’s house. And this is one of the first things we find:

Bowl of What The Fuck

Um…what? That is just down right creepy shit right there but as Ray says, “now we got ourselves a little something something.” Things get even more f’d up when we see the house has been trashed and sex toys are in abundance. Still no Casper though, just this skeleton dude:

My Mustache Can Attract the Dead

Next up for Ray… this:

Murder Time

Apparently he has some kind of deal with Frank, whom I will get to in a little bit, and it also looks like Ray is one fucked up dude. He obviously has a TON of issues but I didn’t think he was gonna start murdering people right off the bat. And if you thought that was it for Ray, well, you guessed wrong because Ray is pissed right off after finding out his son was bullied by none other than Aspen Conroy, local douchebag. Aspen, sporting the worst first name ever, apparently took Ray’s sons shoes and Ray had to use the old ‘yelling and threatening to spank your child in public’ trick which proved to work wonders in getting his son to give him Aspen’s name. I guess it was all in good faith though because I cannot believe what happens to little Aspen’s father. Warning: Do not fuck with Ray Velcoro.

Ray Fucks Shit Up

So if anyone thought Ray was gonna put the ole brass knucks on and smash this guys face up in front of his kid, I owe you a drink because I didn’t see that shit coming. Ray means business and so does that mustache and I think this episode gave us a ton of insight into Raymond, whom everyone is definitely going to love. I mean, he actually said this to a 12-year-old: “You ever bully or hurt anybody again, I’ll come back and butt fuck your father with your moms headless corpse on this lawn.”

Welcome back, Colin Ferrell.

Frank The Tank

We first meet up with Frank Semyon, played by Vince Vaughn, in a flashback with a moustacheless Ray who has come looking for information on the individual who raped his wife and Frank is the guy that can supply it. So obviously these two are going to have some kind of arrangement going forward. Personally, I think Frankie is probably involved with the assault of Raymond’s wife but it’s hard to tell at this point. I certainly did not buy his story.

We also get to meet Frank’s wife, Jordan (played by Kelly Reilly), who is with him at the Vinci Gardens Casino. Vince his having a discussion with some randoms and his wife and we get the first mention of Ben Casper, the city manager who has apparently disappeared off the face of the earth. Frank is also pissed about an 8-part editorial that is being published by some local news guy. Probably not a good idea to fuck with the Vinci mafia as we already know Frank sent Ray to take care of this minor problem.

All In

Also, what in the fuck was up with this:

You Know Nothing, Jon Crow

Is that a dead crow in the passenger seat?! I can honestly say we’re about 10 minutes into the premiere and I have no idea what is going on…but I’m intrigued. Also, the scenery is gorgeous:

The Scenic Route

Later on, Frankie and his crew are attending an event where again we hear more about Casper the Ghost who has gone missing. He was supposed to give a presentation but it is pretty clear at this point that he won’t be in attendance. Frank also meets with some big shot about an agreement but we don’t really get too many details regarding this other than this guy wants to meet with Casper.

Shady Dealings

But as we all know, Casper is a ghost and so this is not going to happen. Oh, and Frank loses his cool after the meeting, perfect GIF material.

Frank Smashes Glass

Not too much has been revealed yet but we at least know that Casper will not be meeting with anybody and should have some consequences for Frankie going forward. To be fair, I’m really only semi-interested in this part of the story because Ray is involved with Frank and Ray is a bad ass.

Little Orphan Ani

We also got to meet Ani Bezzerides, played by Rachel McAdams, and first up for her is a bust on a webcam sex ring that apparently has all of its paper work in order. A big win for porn! But as it turns out, a big loss for Ani because her sister Athena apparently performs there.


Obvs Ani is none to pleased about this but I don’t really understand why. If your sister wants to make some cash money via webcam, I say let her. No need to get your panties in a knot over this, Ani.

White Girl Problems

But Ani doesn’t give up too easily and heads on over to the local cult, the Panticapaeum Institute, run by this local crazy man…

I Am Jesus.

…who also happens to be Ani and Athena’s father. Ani wants him to give her sister some guidance but the old hippy is having none of it…not since 1978! Not really sure where the writers are going with this but hopefully shit will end up going down at some point. I guess we should probably ask ourselves where Ani’s father and sister tie into the bigger story because if they don’t, then what was the point of introducing them? Hopefully we get more answers next week.

Please, Drink Our Koolaid

This Is My Least Favorite Life

We meet another cop, Paul Woodrugh played by Taylor Kitsch, and he’s pulled over a blondie who appears to be doing bad things.

"I'm totally doing illegal things."

Somehow I don’t think your ankle bracelet is going to help the situation, hun. So she bribes him with sexy time but I don’t think Paul went for it. Regardless, he gets suspended for some reason and his next stop is to his girlfriends for some real hanky panky. It also looks like Paul has a number of scars covering his body which I can only believe is from some insane motorcycle accident.

Scars of the Past

He mentions that it wasn’t from his time in the war and he also does THIS after leaving his lady friends:

Midnight Stroll

Yup, a late night motorcycle ride at RIDICULOUS miles per hour.

Before it all comes together though, we head over to a local bar where Ray and Frank are having some drinks. Ray is having a LOT of drinks.

Get Crunk

Oh and this epic song was playing the whole time and really set up the mood for this season. I absolutely loved the song choice, it was chilling:

Ray goes to town on that bottle of Scotch and ends up passing out at the bar. But it’s pretty clear that Frank and Ray share some sort of strange relationship. I think Frank has been providing Ray with money while Ray is providing Frank with his assassination services. Again, we’re only given minor hints on what exactly is going on between these two but I think moving forward this is going to form a big part of our story.

And finally, we catch up with Casper the Ghost when Paul almost kills himself on his motorcycle. He ends up in the woods where he finds the late city manager dead on arrival. And it’s not pretty.

Casper the Ghost

As you can see, Casper has had his eyes removed and a whole lot more. It appears this is going to form the crime in which our true detectives are going to be solving this season. And they all come together by the end of the episode with Paul, Ani and Ray arriving at our crime scene.

Three Cops, One Crime

More great shots of our 3 main characters finally getting together for some good times. And of course, great scenery:

California Love

While this episode was probably more of an introduction to all of the characters, at least we got to the point by the end of the premiere with Paul, Ray and Ani being involved with the Casper crime scene. Plus, Ray is bad ass and there was tons of things going on with plenty to look forward to in the coming weeks. I can only imagine things will get slightly more fucked up just as they did in Season 1.

From the City of Vinci, signing off for this week. Hope you enjoyed the recap and be sure to check out the preview for next week.

Next Week

Next Week

Looks as though things are going to get a bit more complicated next week now that the main characters are all coming together to solve Casper’s murder. And it also looks like Frank had some investments with Casper. My guess here, Ray will be asked to go get it back.

Check out the preview for next weeks episode, titled Night Finds You, below: