True Detective: “Black Maps and Motel Rooms” Review

True Detective Season 2 Episode 7

Velcoro, Bezzerides and Woodrugh find themselves with their backs against the wall, while Semyon makes a bold move.



Note: The following review goes into detail about the episode. SPOILER ALERT!

It’s taken a little while to get here, but Season 2 of True Detective has really come together quite nicely now. I’ve actually enjoyed the whole season up to this point, but these last couple of episodes have upped the stakes considerably and now we’re set up for a great, extended finale next week. It has been a little bit hard to follow at times, with some important characters popping in and out of the story, which does make it harder to put names to faces when it comes to a big dose of exposition. We knew that the party last week was going to cause trouble for the three detectives, but things have been well and truly messed up.

The conspiracy at the center of this season runs very deep, with pretty much everybody we’ve met wrapped up in it in some way or another. In no time at all, both Bezzerides and Velcoro were essentially wanted for murder. It’s a classic sort of set-up in this type of story, and I really like where they’ve taken this season. The situation seems kind of hopeless right now, and I really don’t know how they’ll get out of this one. Rust and Marty went a little bit rogue last season too, but they were never facing these kind of odds. Rust and Marty never really got high up the ladder of bad guys, but the detectives this season know who all of the heavy hitters are. The one authority figure that they had on their side is now dead, so they can’t just simply waltz into a police station with their evidence. I don’t foresee a massive gunfight solving things either, so some sort of a deal could possibly be the only way out.

Unfortunately it’s already too late for Woodrugh. With four main characters instead of two this season, it always seemed likely that at least one of them would bite the dust, and poor Woodrugh is the first to check out of the series. The show’s done a really good job of making Woodrugh a more important character over the last few episodes. I felt like at the start of the season he was kind of the odd one out, and his story didn’t feel as important as the others. He really stepped up during the big gunfight at the midway point of the season though, and since then he had been a bit of a rock. The story about his sexuality ended up paying off in a fairly good way too, as it was used to blackmail and lure him to his eventual death. He went out like a goddamn champion too, with the show teasing us with the possibility that he might survive after taking out that four-man death squad. It was not to be, though, and Lieutenant Burris is now near the top of people I want to see get killed on this show.



Semyon’s material was very strong this week. I loved his whole scorched earth tactic of just taking the money and blowing up the clubs. He’s gotten completely screwed here. After decades of building his own little empire, he’s left with nothing but his wife and a couple of bags full of cash. I do respect Semyon’s whole old-school mobster mantra. His word is his bond, and he expects other people to stick by theirs. Blake didn’t do that, so he had to die. I do think that this code may be what ends up getting Semyon killed, though. He has some money, and his wife already wants him to just leave with her, but he can’t do that. He’s got a shopping list full of weapons, and he’s definitely going to crash Osip’s big money exchange meeting. The lure of getting his millions back is too much for Semyon, and I’d be surprised to see him getting out of this one alive.

The Bezzerides and Velcoro material was strong, even though I’m not completely sold on them getting together in the end. It had looked like it was going that way, but I would have preferred if it had been left as some sort of mutual respect between them for now, with the ending leaving us with the possibility of them getting together (if they both survive!). It still makes sense for them to get together now though. They’re two massively damaged people in a messed up situation, so it’s great for them to be able to take comfort in each other. Bezzerides had a few heartfelt moments with her family and ex-partner which really felt like a turning point for her character. I like to think that if she makes it through alive that she’ll have a better relationship with them. We also learned a little bit more about that traumatic event from her childhood, where it turns out she was abducted by a strange man for four whole days and presumably abused. That’s pretty messed up, and you can completely understand why she has a hard time letting people in now. These scenes raised a question for me though: what about Velcoro’s family? Unless I completely missed it, I don’t think Velcoro has put Gena and his son into hiding like Bezzerides and Woodrugh did with their families. We’ve seen just how easily Velcoro can be influenced by things relating to his family, so I’m wondering will this be used against him in the finale.


I feel like this was the strongest episode of the season so far, and it’s actually gotten to the stage where I’m disappointed that it’s coming to an end with the next (extended to 90 minutes!) episode. Woodrugh became quite a good member of the team, so his death was hard to watch. The odds are now stacked incredibly highly against Velcoro and Bezzerides, so high in fact that I’m not seeing many ways out for them. Semyon looks like he’s about to go full on Rambo against the Russian mob, something which may lead to him getting a bullet too. Everything is set up nicely for the finale, now we’ll have to wait and see whether we get all of the answers and retribution that we want.

How did you feel about Woodrugh’s death? Had he won you over as a character or were you okay with the show thinning the herd before the finale? Tweet me @OldSnake24. And be sure to follow us @YouNerded!


*We do not comment on anything relating to previews for the next episode and beyond.
About Michael Spring (159 Articles)
Michael Spring is a staff writer for If he's not playing Metal Gear or watching some excellent TV show, he's more than likely asleep. For some witty banter and the occasional rant about football, you can follow him @OldSnake24 on Twitter

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