True Detective Season 2 [TV-SEASON REVIEW]

A season that ended up probably a lot more polarizing than anyone expected is now over and we have surely taken the time to breath in everything that has happened so now let us look back at everything as a whole and decide...  just how good is 'True Detective' season 2?

What this season essentially turned out to be is a showcase for the brilliance of Colin Farrell. This is definitely the best performance I have ever seen from him (although I have not seen many). We also saw Vince Vaughn consistently improve from episode to episode until he was pretty damn great by the end of it. With a more focused overall story we could have had something special here yet again but sadly a lot of what made the first season so phenomenal is not utilized here to the extent necessary for the audience to be wholly invested in what is going on. The saving grace however is that each individual episode is great, no matter how poorly the season works as a whole - I was always enjoying the episodes on their own which is why they all have received really good ratings from me. This is however not a review of the episodes - this is a review of the season as a whole and how the episodes tie into each other so do not go to the comment section and wonder how I landed on this rating even though the average rating for the episodes say otherwise.

Each episode looks about as cinematic as TV can, they do not just shoot scenes in the most static way possible to get them out of the way - they do make sure to actually use the visual medium to its advantage and get the audience involved emotionally. The problems this season brought to the surface is that there were too many directors involved. One of the strengths with the first season is that it was Cary Fukunaga all the way through so he could easily make the transition between each episode really work and basically just make an 8 hour movie. One of Nic Pizzolatto's flaws as a writer is that it seems like he is just writing a book and not a TV-Series (in fact Season 1 was originally supposed to be a novel) so now with Season 2 he continues to write a novel but instead of getting one creative vision behind it to make each plot point work on the screen and easily transition to the next - there are now 6 different people so all they can do is just follow what is on the page.

And it is now time for my list of each episode of the season from best to worst and also the rating I gave them. The difference here however is that this time I have also written reviews of each episode so they all have links in case you want to read specifics of what I thought of them all but with out further ado; here is my top 8 'True Detective' season 2 episodes:

Episode 8    Omega Station                     10/10
Episode 7    Black Maps and Hotel Rooms        10/10

Episode 6    Church in Ruins                   9/10
Episode 5    Other Lives                       9/10
Episode 4    Down Will Come                    8/10
Episode 3    Maybe Tomorrow                    8/10
Episode 2    Night Find You                    8/10
Episode 1    The Western Book of the Dead      7/10

I believe the first thing you must have noticed when looking at this list is that every episode just got better and better. I really did not expect it to end up like this but the clumsy, unfocused and quite messy beginning of the season (which was a result of Nic Pizzolatto throwing a bit too many characters at us at once and then trying to balance them out even though they really do not have anything to do with each other yet - again, like it was a novel because if it was; it would have worked) really improved the season later on when it became more and more focused to the point were all the characters worked together by the end. I have already spent a whole review about the final episode 'Omega Station' but I believe it needs to be said that it is definitely not an episode that runs on logic - the focus is the emotions. Ray Velcoro going back to see his child for the last time is not about "why would he do that? That is so stupid!", it is about the fact that he loves his child so much that he finds it worthy to risk the entire operation (which could end his life) just so he could see him for one last time.

The fact of the matter is, this season did provide a lot of good elements that worked on their own right - and ONLY on their own right. When you put all of these elements together then it does become a bit of a mess and that is the main aspect a lot of people focus their attention on when they discuss this season. From my point of view it is only by the greatness of each individual episode that I liked it as much as I did. I doubt I will ever re-watch the whole thing because there are too many dull moments and messy subplots to keep track of - but I can imagine myself watching at least one of the final four episodes because that is when it really started to pick up the plot and actually target an ending. Yes, this is quite a short review but honestly I have already said what I thought of each episode in their own separate reviews so there is no need to focus a lot of this article on them individually so with that said, I am going to end it here. Consider this a disappointing season - but still good nonetheless. 


- Lucas


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