Our Verdict on True Detective Season 2

monster-children-true-detective-colinWords by Josh Rakic

“I’ll butt-fuck your father with your mom’s headless corpse on this god damn lawn”

Colin Farrell for school principal!

And with that one sentence from Colin Farrell – the cliche tough guy cop with inner demons but with more to him than meets the eye – we were finally onboard with True Detective Season 2. And trust us, it took a good 45 minutes of tooing and froing. Was this a dark Weekend at Bernie’s parody?

Let’s put it into perspective. For season one, we had no expectations. It was like obligatorily rocking up to a friend of a friend’s house party only to realize it was the best party ever. But this year as punters, we wanted to re-live the glory. We anticipated it. We tuned into HBO with New Year’s Eve expectations only to end up one-shoed, cornered in the kitchen at midnight and making out with the guy who brews his own craft beer. But hey, it was still a kiss. And we didn’t have the worst time, right? The same can be said for the season two premiere. There was a lot to overcome for creator Nic Pizzollatto off the back of the breakthrough first season – the comparisons, the cast, the hype, the location and a brand new director in Justin Lin. There was no striking murder scene to launch the season and captivate the audience. No untamed, mysterious wetlands. Just an angry Colin Farrell, one of those O’Doyle kids from Billy Maddison and a barren LA landscape. It’s as if Pizollatto tried as hard as possible to separate the season from the original. And if so, he managed just that. Play on, sir.

Halfway through, text messages were coming thick and fast from friends and foe, laden with words like “boring”, “sucks”, “not into it” and “you’re a loser.” We could sympathize. There were so many scenic country-side shots – a staple of season one – that we thought the TV was in HD demo mode. And if you looked closely at those sweeping aerial of shots of Los Angeles freeways you could almost see one of Downtown LA’s most notorious off-ramps – Exposition Blvd. And that could be construed as a metaphor for the entire episode – an hour long parade of the four main characters’ backstories, known in Hollywood speak as “exposition.” If it were the pilot episode, we’d likely re-consider tuning in again – it was more complicated than Caitlyn Jenner’s conversation with the DMV licensing officer.

But courtesy of season one, HBO has prior equity. We know what the show is capable of. We know it’s going to delve into the characters’ past and twist them into a slow-burning mysterious plot. So we sat through it. And when all the characters finally came together to descend on the missing city planner’s eyeless corpses and we got a glimpse of episode two, it clicked. Shit’s about to blow up!


What we liked

Colin Farrell – Fuck yes. If more cops employed this method to the parents of bullies we’d have a much better society. His character may be a cliche but he just does it so god damn well.

Vince Vaughan – The dude’s bad ass as a dramatic actor. For a moment there, he had a bit of Christopher Walken in him. Callous mob-type guy with a heart of gold and silver tongue could be his calling.

Camera work: Lin’s got big shoes to fill given Cary Fukunaga directed every ep last year and made it into a dark, scenic masterpiece. And he gave it a good crack. But let’s get darker!


What we didn’t like

Too much going on – We met at least 15 recurring characters in 60 minutes. And it was pretty hard to really care about any of them, bar the kid.

Taylor Kitsch – WTF? A suicidal highway patrolman who gets suspended for knocking back a blowjob from a Paris Hilton-type. We get it, he’s the moralistic one trying to make up for something he did in the past. But the ghostrider thing? Leave that to Nick Cage.

The story line – Look, like we said earlier, it’s going to blow up. But a dead dodgy city planner doesn’t exactly tug at the heartstrings like an innocent murdered girl. The story’s complicated and far more intricate than season one. That’s great for episode content but the hook isn’t quite there… yet. If you didn’t pay close attention, you’d have been more confused than a goldfish with amnesia.

Hard-drinking cops – Just once, we’d love to see a television cop pass up the whisky and order a vodka even. “I’ll have a Midori splice,” said no TV cop ever.

Sign up for the Monster Children Newsletter