In my opinion, one problem with the first three episodes of the second season is that the three detectives seem to make little progress in the mystery, and aimlessly wander in circles, lost in their own misery and trauma. However, “Down Will Come” manages to remedy this problem by finally providing a major break in the investigation, thanks to a lucky find in a pawn shop. The officers finally have a tangible suspect and quickly follow in pursuit.
However, this lucky break in the case is not actually the most interesting part of the episode. The most interesting part of the episode is watching Officer Woodrugh’s ever increasing self-destructive spiral as he wakes up from a drunken night with a male prostitute, only to find that his bike has been stolen and his rather shady past with the mercenary group “Black Mountain” has been revealed to the media. Watching him struggle with his own self-loathing over the war crimes he committed in Afghanistan and his shame over his own sexuality is compelling and heartbreaking. Woodrugh hasn’t broken quite yet, but the way his character arc is playing out, I anticipate an emotional climax very soon. In addition, Woodrugh was not the emotional star of the episode, as Velcoro has a small but very touching scene with his son.
There were many elements of this episode that I loved: the great emotional plotlines, the progress of the homicide investigation, and the brutal shootout scene at the end. There is one major concern I have that keeps on growing from episode to episode: How will they manage to neatly tie up all the major plotlines by episode eight? The issue is that there are way too many plotlines to follow; the homicide investigation, the theft of Semyon’s money, the missing girl, Velcoro’s child, Woodrugh’s trauma and many others. I fear that True Detective has become rather over ambitious, and will not be able to cleanly or even satisfactorily close off the series. The fact that I have this concern halfway through the season does not bode well. My hope is evaporating.