'True Detective' Season Two Just Offered Up New Hope For Jon Snow Fans

You know nothing, Ray Velcoro.


It's not looking good for Jon Snow. The 998th Lord Commander of the Night's Watch did his best to strike peace between his sworn brothers and the wildlings from north of the Wall, and those efforts got him nothing in return, save for several swift knives to the guts in the dead of night. As we speak, the last known image of both Jon and "Game of Thrones" at large is the heroic White Walker slayer bleeding out on the snow. Even though there are reasons to believe that Jon will return, there's no denying the fact that the situation is, to put it lightly, grim.


Likewise, it was not looking good for Ray Velcoro, the dirty City of Vinci cop with a drinking problem, a drug abuse problem, a child custody problem, and so many more problems that we'd be here all day if we tried to list them all. Colin Farrell's mustachioed Matthew McConaughey successor looked like the poster boy of the new season of HBO's "True Detective," right up until he took two shotgun blasts to the guts at the end of last week's "Night Finds You." He, like Jon Snow, was left bleeding out on the ground, sprawled out on his back, looking up at the proverbial stars, setting off bombs in the hearts and minds of fans who could not believe what was happening in front of their very eyes.


Following Ray's apparent demise, I went ahead and compared the jaw-dropper to "Game of Thrones," likening the removal of Ray in episode two to the removal of Lord Eddard Stark in episode nine of season one — or, at the very best, Bran Stark falling from a Winterfell tower at the end of the series premiere, shattering his back into countless, crippling pieces. Turns out, there's an even better case scenario: Resurrection.

Not to say that Ray literally died and came back to life, mind you, but he certainly defied one of the deadliest situations imaginable, and returned from it as a new man. In the opening moments of this week's episode, "Maybe Tomorrow," we begin with Ray sitting at a table in his favorite smoky night club, sitting across the table from his own father, played by veteran actor Fred Ward (a welcome sight in any role), while an Elvis Pressley impersonator sings Bette Midler's "The Rose." It's a surreal sight, and it should be, because it's not real; it's a dream, maybe even a vision, as Ray looks down at his own chest and sees a gory, gaping hole where his heart ought to be.

The false Elvis, a man so many of his fans feverishly and legendarily believe to still be alive, channels Midler and belts out the rest of her song:

"When the night has been too lonely

And the road has been too long

And you think that love is only

For the lucky and the strong

Just remember in the winter

Far beneath the bitter snow

Lies the seed that with the sun's love

In the spring becomes the rose."


With that, Ray Velcoro wakes up in the warm glow of day, still on the ground exactly where we left him, without a bullet proof vest underneath his shirt, and yet, miraculously alive. Maybe it doesn't seem so miraculous once we learn that Ray's shooter used non-lethal rounds, leaving Ray with nothing more than some cracked ribs, a beat-up sternum, and an understandable setback in his athletic abilities.

As it turns out, Ray took something from the shooter: Purpose. To borrow a phrase from one of Farrell's "True Detective" co-stars' most famous work, Ray has been left clear-eyed and full-hearted, even if the jury remains out on whether he can lose or not. The walking, talking, toxic, nuclear cesspool of a cop we knew in the first one-and-a-half episodes, already halfway out the door near the end of "Night Finds You," appears to be fully on a new path by the time he's back on his feet at the top of "Maybe Tomorrow," fully interested in completing this case, and infinitely more invested in his own survival and success than the suicidal lush he once was.

What does any of this have to do with Jon Snow? Directly, nothing. Indirectly, a lot. Ray's near-death experience mirrors what many "Thrones" fans are expecting to see when season six premieres in 2016: Jon Snow, suffering from seemingly fatal gut wounds, rising from the ground and moving forward with reenergized purpose. Like Ray, Snow is a man with unfinished business, but a man who needs to reevaluate his circumstances and methods before he can get back to work. If Ray can do it, why can't Jon?

You can almost picture the insane alternate universe crossover where Jon Snow is sitting across from Ray Velcoro, instead of Ray's father. "What is this place," Jon mutters at him. "I don't know; you were here first," Ray responds. Jon looks down to see his guts coming out of his midsection, the final lyrics of "The Rose" carrying all-new meaning in the context of the fallen Lord Commander's roots as a Stark:

"Just remember in the winter

Far beneath the bitter snow

Lies the seed that with the sun's love

In spring becomes the rose."


There's nothing concrete about "True Detective" that teases Jon Snow's return from the dead. No secret clues. No changing of the eyes. (Although, if you have an extra tinfoil hat handy, central murder victim Ben Caspere was discovered with his eyes carved out…) Nothing tangible that somehow links "True Detective" to solving the death of one of the single most important characters in all of "Game of Thrones" lore.

What is real, however, is the parallel between the fallen Jon and the fallen Ray — specifically, the revived Ray. Could Jon walk a similar path as this other A-list HBO hero? Kit Harington's current hairstyle votes yes, but we'll just have to wait and see if the seed of hopes becomes the blue winter rose next spring.