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True Detective 'The Western Book of the Dead' [TV-EPISODE REVIEW]

As far as anticipation goes, 'True Detective' Season 2 is one of my most anticipated TV-Series of the entire year after the phenomenal Season 1 back in 2014. I always had the thought in my mind though that it would most likely not match the first season (very few things will) so with that in mind, how good is the season 2 premiere of 'True Detective'?

When I first heard about a TV-Show starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson on HBO my excitement level probably matched that of a child at Disney World (this was a couple of weeks before the first episode). I had no clue what it was about apart from the title, I did not know who Nic Pizzolatto was but I knew HBO means quality Television and this was a couple of weeks after I saw 'Mud' which had McConaughey playing the main character who of course knocked it out of the park (I was also hearing very good things about him in 'Dallas Buyers Club' and that he was a contender for the Best Actor Oscar). Suffice it to say, 'True Detective' Season 1 turned out to be excellent and one of the best things I saw on Television of 2014 and even though Season 2 had a whole new cast of characters and a new setting - it showed a lot of promise which is why I am happy to say that I for the most part thoroughly enjoyed the episode. Oh and if you have not seen 'Mud' or 'Dallas Buyers Club'... go check them out as well.

The most noticeable flaw is that it does feel a bit disjointed with all the different characters and stories we have to digest at once. I would not go as far as to call it a mess like some critics are, but I hope we will not have to go through a lot more of it. Season 1 was perfectly focused on two cops and a couple of side characters and it all felt connected right from the start which has not happened here yet so as of right now, I cannot really tell what is going on or why we are spending so much time on some of these characters.

Without question the most interesting aspect about this new season so far though is Colin Farrell's character Ray Velcoro. Probably mostly because I felt we got to know him the best out of all of them and his performance is really captivating to watch - he is also thankfully not a retread of Rust Cohle or Marty Hart. He feels more unpredictable and a bit more broken than either of them did at the start which is an interesting new direction for the show to take. We shall also not forget that he got the hands down best line of the episode;


RAY VELCORO
If you ever bully another kid again, I'll come back and buttfuck your father with your mother's headless corpse on this god damned lawn. Twelve years old my ass. Fuck you.

The other characters are not as interesting (yet) but I do want to find out more about Rachel McAdams' character Ani Bezzerides. Getting a female main character on the show can really do wonders for the season to shake things up a bit and get a new perspective on things. In terms of performance, Rachel's good. Not really spectacular but I will withhold further judgement until she has actually been given more to do by the script. Vince Vaughn so far is kind of the weak link (who else saw that coming though?) but it looks like he may be able to improve in future episodes once he (again) gets more to do. I also do need to learn more about these characters which of course is why it is hard to talk about them right now. A problem that surfaced with these people is that most of them sort of fell into a blender as I barely remember anything about them which again is a result of the episode throwing a bit too many characters at us at once.

The direction by Justin Lin (Fast Five and Fast & Furious 6) is pretty good, it fits well in with what Cary Fukunaga delivered in Season 1 and Nic Pizzolatto delivers the fascinating dialogue we have come to expect. It was a good episode but I hope the others can improve and actually move the story along (which of course is what we want to see). It is not a catastrophe as it could have been and it of course is not as strong as the Season 1 opener. But nevertheless, it is solid, solid television.

7/10

- Lucas

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