True Detective Season 2 Review

I have to get this off my chest, I am a big fan of the first season of True Detective. While it was a slower paced show, it was remarkably well constructed with some phenomenal performances by Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson. However, after the season ended I found myself forgetting about it. Even when the second season was announced, I did not have an urge to revisit the previous season. The sophomore season of True Detective has proven to be quite polarizing, with some fans loving it, and others despising it. I find myself somewhere in the middle where I acknowledge that it is not as well crafted as the first season, but I found it more memorable through the story it told, and the characters it introduced.
No Fighting What You Can’t Change
While some may disagree, there is a lot to love about this season. First of all, the cinematography is gorgeous. Every frame of the show feels like it has a purpose, and it really enhances the dark tone of this show. The cinematography was especially well done in the final couple of episodes. Another major draw to the show lies in the acting. The supporting cast is pretty solid, but the four main cast members really deliver on some great performances. My two favorites of the cast have to be Vince Vaughn and Collin Farrell. I do not mean to discredit Rachel McAdams or Taylor Kitsch, but Farrell and Vaughn gave more memorable performances (perhaps that is because their characters were so interesting). Ray Velcoro (Farrell) and Frank Semyon (Vaughn) have many layers to their characters. As the series progressed, these layers were slowly peeled back. Both of these characters teeter on the line between good and evil. I often found myself questioning what side they were on, which is not only a testament to the characters, but the actors themselves. This is why I was so impressed with both Farrell and Vaughn. They had a particularly tough task bringing these characters to life, and making them feel as real as possible. I felt like both actors would be up for the task, but Vaughn is the one who really surprised me. He did a fantastic job grounding his character. Frank is someone who could have been portrayed as over the top, but that would not have fit with the tone of the show. Instead, Vaughn brings subtlety to the role, and shows that he has what it takes to portray such a complex character. The music on the show is also a major highlight. Often times the music can convey tension, and remorse, which (like the cinematography) enhances the show’s dark and gritty tone. Also, the opening credits are still pretty great. Finally, the plot is very interesting. I do not think it is particularly good (more on that later), but I found it more compelling than the previous season. There were a lot of moving parts to the plot, which make me adamant to re-watch the season.
We Get The World We Deserve
The major drawback to the season lies in the writing. While the characters may be fairly well written, a good amount of dialogue is very poor. I do not know why the writing was so inconsistent, because among the poorly written lines there were some great pieces of dialogue. The actors also had to struggle communicating this dialogue, and still remaining true to their characters. The writing did not only effect the dialogue, it also had a great impact on the plot. While I thought the plot was interesting, it was far too convoluted. There was far too much going on in the plot, with too many characters being introduced. What ended up happening was I just watched the show, but did not really know what was going on. The finale did a good enough job to fill me in on which characters I should have been paying attention to, but I believe the show should have been more clear from the start. With every tv review, I like to mention the top three episodes of the season (my opinion, of course). The standout episodes for me were: The second episode, and the final two episodes. My favorite of the bunch has to be the finale, because not only did it explain the season fairly well, but there were some genuinely emotional moments. The same could be said for the second and seventh episodes, but those episodes still dealt with a convoluted plot. I am glad that the finale was able to answer most of the questions I had.
Closing Remarks
This season is definitely not as a good as the first, but I never thought it would be. It is completely different, except for the tone. While I had my fair share of problems with it, I still thought it was a pretty solid season of the show. I plan on revisiting this season in the future because there is still much to uncover.


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