I can’t remember ever seeing the second season of a TV show where they completely got rid of the original cast and story, and basically started fresh. For anybody who watched and loved the first series, prepare to be disappointed, because season 2 has nothing to do with the excellent season one, including the quality.
It’s very obvious that they tried to stuff in as many ‘homages’ to season one as possible, but very few of them work. There are lots of complicated characters who have difficult relationships, the music and general atmosphere is very strange, and a cult even gets involved at one point. But none of it works.
There are two main places that this season falls down. Firstly, there are way too many characters. What made season one so good was the relationship between Mathew McConaughey and Woodey Harrelson. They were both flawed and multifaceted characters that had intriguing interactions, and each of them came with a family or other group of secondary characters that fleshed the program out. In this season they doubled that number, so there were now four main characters who had to divide the screen time between them.
With that being said, the characters did for the most part have some interesting elements. Colin Farrell’s relationship with his son was one of the most interesting parts of the show. Taylor Kitsch’s story had a lot of twists and surprises. Vince Vaughn gives what is probably the performance of his career, and not being a police officer brings a unique perspective. The only character that doesn’t really bring anything new is Rachel McAdams. How many times have we seen an angry cop with an alcohol problem? Lots. The only unique angle is that she’s a woman, so… that’s a thing.
The second problem with this season is that it’s just so complicated. There are TV shows that have more story threads and require you to remember more information for longer (Lost anybody?), but present it in such a way that it’s easy to follow. This show is all over the place. It’s messy and sloppy and quite frankly, so boring that I gave up trying to follow it after a while, as I just didn’t care anymore.
There are good moments in True Detective Season 2, but I would say there’s less than one an episode. Some people might like this, and I can kind of understand why, but it really needed sharper editing. This could have done with a lot being cut, including characters and sub plots. Even thought I’ve said all of this, I would still probably watch a third season. Make of that what you will.
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