Soooo... Season 2 of True Detective on HBO is in the books and I have had a night to digest the season as a whole. I wanted to start writing this article last week, but I thought it best to reserve judgement until the full story was told. If I learned anything from watching various TV shows lately its that: a) a good finale can totally change the trajectory that a show has been on for a whole season and b) the events in the finale might actually make up for any shortcomings that the show may have created for a viewer. I definitely want to give Nic Pizzolato the chance he deserves to tell his own story. Anybody that knows ME or follows us on social media (search CCD.NYC on all media platforms and find us) knows that early on in Season 2 of TD I took the "wait and see what happens" approach before condemning the show. It gave me enough imagery and potential in the first few episodes to spur my interests, and I had high hopes for a second half comeback on the show the way Harrelson & McConaughey came through in the end. But now that it is all over, I am sitting back and shaking my head wondering what "could have/should have" been in the sequel season of the century. So here are my 5 biggest problems with the show, and in my humble opinion the reasons why the show disappointed so many people. Enjoy....
So, before we jump right in to my 5 reasons, let me just preface this with a few facts. The 1st season of TD, which I (among millions of others) loved, was not perfect from beginning to end. Anybody who says that they were 100% on board from the very beginning of the show is lying. My wife actually STOPPED watching it after episode #4 and never cam back. A lot of people were employing the strategy of hanging in and hoping for more... that is a fine assessment to have had. I tried to use this same strategy as I watched this season. Great minds think alike! But it was by no means perfect, especially not week to week. You can look back on the completed season 1 and say you dug it. But you can't tell me around episode 4 or 5 you weren't thinking of abandoning ship. So I am not writing this article just to spew hate on this season, or pile on. Just know that I really, really, REALLY wanted to like this season. The final product just didn't garner that reaction from me, so I gotta at least try and explain what I think went wrong.
|Shhhhh... Spoilers Ahead!!!|
I personally LOVE every single one of the main characters in the show. I have long thought Colin Farrell a great actor who gets a bad rap. Vince Vaughn has been in some of my all time favorite comedy movies. Rachel McAdams? Love her in almost everything I have seen her in (especially the Notebook... don't judge me!). And Taylor Kitsch. Well, lets just say that I have liked a bunch of the projects he has been in but I seem to be in the minority. Most have been lambasted as the "Worst Ever" in the respective categories (Wolverine: Origins - worst X-Men movie, Battleship - worst adaption of a non literary property, and John Carter - Worst ruination of a possible tent pole franchise in movie history). Let's just say it seems like the young actor possess the "Kitsch of Death" (thank you Jeff Bond for this pun), and the streak continues with TD season 2.
|Scummy at its finest since James Woods...|
Now I must start by saying that I don't particularly mind any of the above actors in the roles they played. I thought they all delivered pretty good performances. But I am curious why Pizzolato would push the envelope so hard to cast THESE actors against type so much. Farrell is the most accurately cast of the bunch. He has made a career of playing angst filled characters that have a scummy appearance yet can be attractive and righteous in the end.
|Step aside, I'm in charge...|
|I am literally more afraid of EVERYONE in this picture than Vince Vaughn|
|Please stop hating me!|
2) Why all the side bars and plots that don't pay off?
Here is what I don't get. The season is UNREALISTICALLY short. 8 episodes? Huh? 10 is the absolute minimum amount you need to tell such a dense story. 12 is more realistic. But here is the funny thing. The reason why they did it in 8 is because most of the side plots and tangential stories didn't ever factor into the main storyline and never pay the fuck off. Casper and his sex addiction? His sex house and crazy masks? Even though Kitsch has dashboard cam footage of him NOT doing anything wrong to the starlet he pulled over, she somehow can keep coming after him withe hearsay and ruining his career? Why did the guy have to wear the Bird Mask to complete the two murders? McAdams dad being a yogi and running a child molester friendly compound? Farrell's wife being a huge hard ass when she could have found out the paternity of the kid in episode #2? Woodrugh's fucked up momma and his hot piece of baby momma ass being left in that hotel? Vince Vaughn and his red headed beauty of a wife not being able to have kids? Grandpa Velcoro and how Ray is connected to the corrupt cops? The coke addicted mayor of Vinci and his wacky ass family? The drug cartel that pops up mid season and weaves in and out of the story until they help bring it to a close with no real connection to anything? These are just a few...
|The real Birdman ain't got shit on me...|
|Why do these guys look like this?|
3) Why the hell didn't the story end up being about any of the main characters?
In the end, the story really wasn't about the main 4 characters. Bottom Line. The beginning of the story involves a whole bunch of corrupt cops from 1992 that robbed a jewelry store during the riots that created a pair of orphan twins (which we only get small tidbits of until the final episode), the middle of the story is about a massive land deal be brokered by a sexual deviant who dies in one of the opening scenes of the season, and the finale of the story is about the shady land deal actually going through and the possibility that they may get exposed in the future. Maybe. Wait... what? The whole beginning, middle and end of this story has very little to do with our main 4 characters.
|Your remember these guys right? The main characters....|
The middle sees the core 4 characters kind of affect the whole story, but not really. Semyon is a criminal who is used as a mark by bigger crooks then him (the Russian mob, Caspere, etc) as they scam him into believing he is more important to the project than he is. They are just going to back stab him and steal his money, Semyon is probably just one of many "marks" this bigger crime syndicate has lined up. Velcoro is Semyon's self created "cop on the take", a one man wrecking crew that helps Frank get stuff done. But again, that his only real connection to the Land Deal Syndicate. Ani is just a female cop who happened to be sexually abused as a kid and her now sexual deviant nature allows her to infiltrate and expose the sex ring that conveniently houses all the PAPER RECORDS of the Land Deal Syndicate and can tie Caspere to the bad guys. And Kitsch is drawn into this whole story as a guy with a death wish joyriding his motorcycle in a slight suicide attempt who happens upon Caspere's dead body. Really? WTF...
And in the final moments, we see a united front of Seymon's wife and Ani in Mexico with all of the incriminating "paperwork" and a new Velcoro baby (they did only have sex once, right? Damn super sperm strikes again!) ready to blow the lid off of the Land Syndicate and their deal. Wait... didn't Frank send his boy and his wife to Oregon? And wasn't Ani sent to Mexico? So when Velcoro and Semyon don't show up to meet their girls, these chicks just happen to link up? How? Frank wanted his lady AWAY from everyone who could tie her to him. Hence the exile to OREGON. Velcoro wanted to protect Ani, hence the exile to Mexico. Yet they are able to track each other down and meet up, throw on floppy hats, and mount up to take down the Land Deal Syndicate?
|Message Not Uploaded... probably not a great idea to drive up into the mountains/forest|
4) Why make the main villains of the story and the whole real problem of Season 2 take place in 1992 and not be part of the story the whole season?
|Remember this scene? The only time you meet "Lenny" in the whole show prior to the Finale!|
This reminded me a lot of last season how they "miraculously" concluded that Errol Childress, was the killer. A dude that before episode #8 of lasts season only appeared in a few scenes in TWO EPISODES. And then there he was, the big bad. There was literally NO WAY that anyone could have REMOTELY connected him to the storyline being played out by the writers up until that point. Same hold true here. Lenny comes out of the cobwebs of just ONE EPISODE as the whole catalyst for everything. C'mon. Don't make it so EASY that I solve it, but make it a bit more than having me have to Goggle who the fucking character actually is that makes the whole story work!
|Remember me? The bad guy no one saw coming in Season 1|
This last thing ticked me off. One of the biggest disappoints of last years show was the conclusion that most of the supernatural occurrences that happened throughout the show ended up being more allegorical and in the characters minds than it seemed. These spiritual occurrences seem to be more aberrations than fact, and the existence of an actual killer (Errol Childress) instead of a dark, maleficent force being behind the whole thing really pissed off some people as they were waiting for a dark forces payoff in the reveal. But I liked the way Pizzolato used the supernatural stuff to forward the story and ultimately chalk it up to mostly Rust being batshit crazy. That and the possibility of a cult that Childress was loosely part of... maybe. They have steered CLEAR of all that wacky muckity muck this season, giving us a police procedural show with a dense story... until the very end.
|Add ghosts of tormentors past here....|
So that is that. I'm not saying I hated Season 2 of TD, but it certainly fell very short of my expectations. They can't all be winners, and I am willing to wait it out to the end. But ultimately, this show was a little to convoluted and not enough was paid off in the end. You disagree? Feel free to blast off in the comments sections below....
|Cheers to the haters like Mike D!|