Making Sense of True Detective, Season 2 1 comment

Making Sense of True Detective, Season 2

By the title of this blog, don’t think for a minute I truly can achieve this Herculean feat for you. But for the grace of God and the analytical rundown of Slate’s Willa Paskin, I feel like I finally have a better grasp on Nic Pizzolatto’s obscure Season 2 of “True Detective” on HBO.

Much has been written and said about the whiffle balls the show has repeatedly thrown at viewers these past couple of months, punctuated by the greasy mumbling of Ray Velcoro (Colin Farrell) and the odd characters, even kookier plot twists and surreal imagery. I won’t bore you into submission with my own regurgitation of what actually is going on (again, thanks to Paskin), but I will share my own reaction to the bizarre past two months of my life.

At first, I thought I was simply overly tired due to the recent arrival of our baby daughter, so I figured I’d keep watching and maybe I’d finally get some sleep. Instead I’ve only grown more confused. Season 1 started slow but definitely pulled through under the weight of A-listers Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson. I figured I’d give Season 2 some time and I’d be equally rewarded.

But Pizzolatto’s writing this time around falls victim to his own hubris. He outwits himself and the audience with a conceptual, far-reaching script that nonetheless falls short in delivery and becomes more and more random as time goes on. The pacing is rushed and the delivery of lines by a miscast and oddly paired band of actors is overly dramatic and morose. And the thinly veiled references to Season 1 are lackluster. And though Pizzolatto wants to be thought of as the next David Lynch, he misses the mark.

Is it just me or do you also start chuckling every time Vince Vaughn launches into his dialogue? Change the background music and the lighting and you could just as well be watching him in “Delivery Man,” or a really dry spinoff on “Swingers.” I keep expecting him to launch into a one-liner rather than quite unbelievably play mobster Frank Semyon.

Then there’s the aforementioned Farrell, who turns in his latest rendition of smarmy yet indiscernible brute who is still somehow sexy enough to get down with the leading lady. This time he’s a dirty cop (surprise) who shares time between working on Semyon’s payroll as a double agent and providing too irresistible to his new partner by consequence Sheriff’s Detective Ani Bezzerides (Rachel McAdams), this despite an awkward Bakersfield-inspired drawl punctuated too often by his native Irish brogue.

I could go on, but I won’t. Let’s just say that if Officer Paul Woodrugh (Taylor Kitsch) is actually dead after this past episode, then perhaps that will provide some lift to this Sunday’s finale because we’ll have to deal with one less character who Pizzolato has failed to make us care about.

Rumor has it HBO will pick up True Detective for a Season 3, especially after the head-scratching endorsement given by Michael Lombardo last week. And if the series is re-ordered, who’s next? Hayden Christensen and Daniel Radcliffe?

In the meantime, all we really know is Sunday’s season finale will play out. And at least I now know what’s going on.

About Ryan Gray

An award-winning, professionally and academically trained journalist. I'm a reporter and editor of news, business, sports, and entertainment and manager of the entire production process for print, online and multimedia/interactive for my company. I drive our brands and those of our clients via storytelling and audience engagement. I also direct curriculum development for related conferences and provide quality assurance on all projects and facilitate teamwork throughout the company and convert traffic and readership into dollars. In my spare time I enjoy music, playing with my daughter, blogging and consuming great TV shows and films. Specialties: News/feature reporting, editorial direction, editorial production management, video direction, multimedia, blogging, content marketing strategy, social media, editing/proofreading, page layout, HTML, public relations, photography/videography

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