“Violence is not the answer. Violence can never solve the differences we have.”
It’s telling that this statement by Ambassador Robin Foster is intercut with a violent shootout, with people dying all around as he delivers a bomb-filled package to the North Koreans. It’s part of a sequence that’s frustratingly devoid of logic–he’s really just walking through the embassy with a package that nobody bothers to check, and Locke doesn’t mention that there’s a bomb?–but it also strikes at the main theme of the episode: the inevitable intersection between family and work.
“This is a zero sum game.”
At this point in the story, many characters feel like they have to make a decision, like they have to change something and move forward; yet, they’re still caught in a middle ground of sorts, in a state of indecision as they face their challenges head on. Angela, for example, is all about her plan to “change the world”, but she doesn’t really do much when she heads over to Terry Colby’s house. Tyrell’s been making moves to become CTO, but after he’s ripped apart by Scott Knowles, he ends up throwing a hissy fit in his kitchen and worries about “overstepping” (his wife states that he’s “spinning out of control”). Elliot grapples with his “flight or fight” response throughout the episode, and he mentions early on that he really should get on picking one of them. The problem, of course, is that it’s just not that easy to ‘pick one’, and that’s a prevalent idea across the show as a whole. Is life really “better when [we’re] numb?” Do we choose to be numb?
“That’s what pain does. It shows you what was on the inside. And inside of you is pure gold.”
The world of True Detective season two is a bleak one, to say the least. It’s dark and corrupt and suffocating, and it grabs ahold of you from the beginning, never letting go as you attempt to move toward a brighter future. There are glimmers of hope and optimism here and there, but those are just rest stops along the way as you get caught in the same cycles over and over again. “I would’ve been different,” Ray tells Frank in a scene reminiscent of those earlier bar conversations. He is, of course, talking about the fact that he killed the wrong guy all those years ago, and we can see the pent-up frustration about to blow here. But as he points a gun at Frank from under the table, the response he gets is about the “lies people tell themselves”, about “excuses”. He hates the fact that he got screwed over by Frank, but he just continues the cycle by making another deal. It’s easy to say what would’ve been, but this season has been intent on highlighting the idea that expectations don’t mesh with reality.
Note: Because I won’t be at home to post this later tonight, the review is being published early. Full spoilers follow.
“Dear Will: We have all found a new life, but our old ones hover in the shadows.”
Will Graham has a wife, a kid, and a bunch of lovable dogs now in his new life. He’s been living cannibal-free for three years, and we see him doing pretty well as the beautiful barks of those dogs pierce the chilly air. And yet, even as those furry creatures prance around in the gorgeous snow, there’s no doubt that the influence of Hannibal Lecter–that the influence of his old life–still lingers over him. He knows what’s going on with the recent murders, and it’s actually Hannibal’s warning to him that primarily motivates him to return to the Jack Crawford Party. Yes, Jack and Molly are there to urge him to help out, but in the end, Will burning the letter–which warns him about the madness awaiting behind Jack’s open door–is essentially a statement from him to his ex-boyfriend.