The 3 Most Pointless Scenes from True Detective

So I’ve done my main review, but I wanted to mention a few weird things that really stuck out during this season of True Detective. And in the interest of publishing smaller, more bite-sized posts, this is going to short and sweet.

3. The Bar Singer

Empty Room and Singer
Who exactly are you playing for?

Okay technically she has multiple scenes, but they’re all pretty much pointless. Now I enjoyed the music in this season, it was one of the few bright points of this season, but I just could not figure out the reason the singer was actually present in the show. Overlaying music onto film has been around since before film had voices in them, and except for ones specifically about bands and the like, most of them don’t feel the need for their soundtracks to have a physical presence in their shows. At first I was willing to let it slide because she was playing when Frank was in the bar, and I figured maybe Frank was just the kind of egomaniac who has musicians play for him.

But then there’s this scene in the finale (the screenshot above), where she’s totally alone in the bar and she’s still playing. Given the show is overflowing with symbolism in an attempt to be “deep” I’m sure this singer must represent something, but hell if I know what it is.

2. The Orphan Brother

The Blade and The Bullet

Though you wouldn’t know it from his roughly two minutes of screen time, this one of the critical players of the show’s plot. He’s Caspere’s killer. He’s the catalyst for the inciting incident that sparks this whole chain of events, and we barely even get to meet him. Detective Mustache finds him in the transit station, pokes a knife in his back and implores the kid not to do something stupid. When the brother says he’s “The Blade and the Bullet” (which by the way doesn’t make sense since the kid doesn’t have a gun), Colin Mustachell says “okay then listen closely.”

This is usually the part where a cunning and elaborate plot is devised, but is kept from the audience so we can appreciate the plan’s brilliance when we see it all come together. Unfortunately we don’t get that here. Apparently what happened in the moments between this scene and the cop’s arrival, was Detective ‘Stache McCowboy told a mentally and emotionally unstable man to keep his big ass hunting knife and listen to his parent’s killer brag about killing them.

And then act surprised when the deranged killer acts deranged.

Totally unexpected
It’s okay, no way you could have seen this coming…

1. The Vinci Shootout

Vinci Shootout

After three episodes of near incomprehensible bullshit, the Vinci Shootout scene got me excited. As one of my twitter followers put it, it was a scene right of Call of Duty.

It’s true, if this scene had occurred in real life it would be the single deadliest shootout in U.S History. Yet this scene excited me because of something Stephen King once wrote in his book On Writing (which is an excellent read by the way, even if you don’t like his work). When he was writing The Stand he came to a point where there were just too many characters and the plot had become too unwieldy. He was blocked, he couldn’t figure out a way to move forward.

So he planted a bomb and blew up half his characters, culling the cast and giving the story the impetus it needed to reach its conclusion. The Stand became one of his most well regarded works, right alongside Carrie.

I was excited because I thought the Vinci Shootout was True Detective’s bomb.

Quite literally...
Quite literally.

It didn’t serve the same function as Stephen King’s bomb, in that it didn’t kill any important characters, but I still thought that such a climactic scene would propel the show out the quagmire that it’s plot had become. Surely this would flush out the perpetrators of the conspiracy. I don’t care how rich or politically connected you are, there were at least a half-dozen police officers killed, at least that many drug dealers killed and dozens of civilian casualties. That’s not something that would just go away.The conspirators might control the local police and government, but I’m pretty sure the F.B.I and Homeland Security are gonna want some answers too.

Do you know what 24-hour news conglomerates would do with a story like that? Let’s put it this way, they ran a story about that missing Malaysian Airlines flight for a solid month. The Vinci Shootout would give them enough material for a year.

Yet instead of this scene giving our heroes the leverage they need to solve the case and kicking the season into high gear… nothing happens. Absolutely nothing. In fact the story skips ahead two months instead and the deadliest shooting in US history is forgotten. You could remove this entire scene from the show and not a single thing would change because of it.

It was the most pointless scene in a show made up entirely of pointless scenes. And worst of all, Detective Mustache McStacheface shaved his glorious mustache after this shootout…

I hope it was at least buried with full military honors...
I hope it was at least buried with full military honors…


  1. Hey John. Was just wondering if you plan on making a critique of Dragon Age’s new DLCs(the single player, not the multiplayer). Though, I’m guessing you wont play those DLCs? 😀 Its a pity Bioware aren’t putting any effort in their DLCs. It could just have easily passed as a normal quest in the main game, only slightly longer..

      1. No worries. I might look at it depending on how much it is, or I’ll check out a let’s play video of it. I’ll only do a review if it’s particularly awful though, if it’s just more of the same not sure I’ll have anything new to say. 🙂

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