Thoughts On…True Detective Season 2 Premiere

true-detective-season-2

After the sensational first season, True Detective Season Two had massive expectations to live up and somehow topple the first season and while it’s too early to judge whether this season will be as good or better than the predecessor there are more than few positive signs for last night’s premiere, The Western Book of the Dead.

The latest season takes us to the sunny state of California, the plot supposedly revolves around corruption and murder in the railway system. The first episode of the season feels like a prologue and mainly introduces us to the new characters while getting the ball rolling as well. The latest season is almost completely different from the first one, it’s considerably less dark, the location is pretty conventional as compared to the obscure Louisiana setting and the plot does not have the same feel as it did with the first season, but is that really a bad thing?

Colin Farrell True Detective Season 2 Episode 1

”I Welcome Judgement”

First off, I don’t expect the latest season to topple the first one, I’m just expecting good television and it seems True Detective Season 2 might just deliver. The first episode meanders considerably and is mainly an introduction, but it feels like a solid pilot episode. I think it will always be difficult for anthology shows especially, True Detective and Fargo to start a new season because they are essentially starting over. The latest season does very well in establishing the three leads, who all seem to be compelling characters. Colin Farrell’s Ray Velcoro is one, I was perhaps most impressed with. Not only is he a very intriguing character but he also has some of the best moments from the episode. He’s a broken man but nothing like Rust or Marty and Colin’s acting is very good. Rachel McAdams also does a solid job with her Ani Bezzerides – I don’t know how to pronounce that – and Taylor Kitsch, someone for whom I have great disdain isn’t particularly bad either. He doesn’t have much to say but his facial expressions sold me on the performance. As for, Vince Vaughn no, he doesn’t completely ruin it but it would be best to reserve my judgement on his performance as the season progresses because I feel his character has not been properly unveiled yet.

The story, while not quite as grabbing as the first season, is engrossing. The story seems to begin at the end of the episode but it seems something that has great potential, but again I can’t say much about this. Another thing I liked was that the dark and brooding atmosphere was still there, again, not as dark as the first season but still pretty somber.

Rachel McAdams True Detective Season 2 Episode 1

One of the few things that didn’t feel right was perhaps the dialogue. I felt the writing was trying too hard to feel philosophical and most of it feel quite dumb, to be honest. For example, in one scene, Vince Vaughn’s character tells one of cronies to: ”Never do anything out of hunger. Not even eating”. Ummm…What? And then there’s one scene in which Colin Farrell, while talking on a digital recorder says: ”I used to wanna be an astronaut. But astronauts don’t even go to the moon anymore.” It felt overly contrived and unnecessary but I have full faith in Pizzolatto and hopefully this is something that will improve as the season moves forward. Leonard Cohen’s Nevermind which serves as this season’s theme song is sadly not that good or amazing as The Handsome Family’s Far From Any Home which was last season’s theme.

Vince Vaughn and Colin Farrell True Detective Season 2 Episode 1

One person I will sorely miss is Cary Joji Fukanaga. I think a massive amount of credit for the first season’s success goes to him, he directed all eight episodes of the first season and did a spectacular job of doing so. His six-minute tracking shot in episode four of last season is one of the best directed scenes I’ve ever seen in film or television. It’s a shame Pizzolatto and him couldn’t work out their differences but Fast & Furious director Justin Lin does a solid job of anchoring the premiere, so I hope is absence is not felt that significantly.

All in all, the True Detective premiere was a strong start to the second season. The acting is outstanding and the story seems interesting however, it’s far too early to judge exactly how this season will turn out at this point. My advice is sit back, have patience and let the show take it’s natural course.

-Khalid 

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23 responses to “Thoughts On…True Detective Season 2 Premiere

  1. Great post! I watched this when it came out on Sunday night and I thought the ep was “OK” and went to bed, angry that we had a new song. Far From Any Road is one of my favorites.

    I had Monday off so I watched it again that morning and 1 – started loving the song and 2 – thought the episode was very good. My big complaint would be David Morse playing the character he was hired to play and Kitsch.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Completely agree with everything you’ve said. It was a solid episode but we really can’t judge until we’ve had at least a few more episodes.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think the obscure landscape of Louisiana was one of the best characters of season 1. I haven’t watched the premiere yet, but I’m going to stay positive that it will live up to the first season 🙂 Nice review!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great write-up. I thought the first ep was okay. I think one of the things that didn’t work great for me was the issue with the dialogue you mentioned. Admittedly, there was some of that in the first season, but I feel McConaughey worked some magic with some lines that might not work in the hands of other actors which is kind of how I felt here. I also think the Marty character added some much-needed levity to the equation acting as a nice person for Rust to play off of. Here everyone feels so serious.

    Having said that, I may feel differently once some of these characters interact more since the leads just met at the end of the premiere. And I’m definitely intrigued to see where things go this season.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. I also feel that McConaughey worked a bit of his magic with the role and the role itself felt tailor-made for him. I also agree that Woody Harrelson’s performance was integral in balancing the show’s entire dynamic in the first season.
      Have you seen the second episode? I thought the second episode was far better and opened up a lot of things

      Liked by 1 person

  5. “Never do anything out of hunger. Not even eating.”—Ha, I suppose it’s not good that line made me laugh out loud. Probably not what the writers were going for.

    I won’t be able to watch it until it’s out on DVD (don’t have HBO), but I liked the first one a lot. Hopefully season 2 will allow women to be more than naked or dead though. Not the best roles for women in the first season.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, the premiere had it’s fair share of unintentionally funny moments.
      Haha, I see what you mean. I think this season may have a great female character in Rachel McAdams. She’s a terrific actress but it’s far too early to call any judgement on her performance, will have to wait till this season unfolds.

      Liked by 1 person

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