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TV Review: True Detective - Season 2, Episode 8 (SPOILERS)

08.09.2015

Season 2, Episode 8: Omega Station

SUMMARY: Now on the run, Bezzerides (Rachel McAdams) and Velcoro (Colin Farrell) find an unlikely ally in Frank (Vince Vaughn) - who's looking to get even with the men who set him up.

REVIEW: Ya know, a really funny thing about the critical reaction to True Detective season two has been the fact that, for all the people who say they hate it, people are still tuning in week after week. The ratings have been steady and while Twitter pretty much explodes in hashtags like #TrueDetectiveRIP every Sunday, everyone's been pretty keen to see how the season would end, if only so they could make fun of it.

As such, my weekly reviews of True Detective have been abnormal in that for the most part I've really enjoyed this second season. I'm not going to say it's as good as the first. It's not. But, taken on its own merits it's been a damn solid ride and if it wasn't burdened by the high expectations that come with the name True Detective, I bet people would have liked it more.

Not that it hasn't been without some serious flaws. For one thing it's been exceedingly hard to follow at times. I've half given up trying to follow anything but the broad strokes of the plot. More seriously, Nic Pizzolatto has a tendency to borrow liberally from other movies/books. Many have pointed out the plot similarities to James Ellroy's The Big Nowhere, while I myself have been critical of the fact that Frank's story-line is awfully similar to THE LONG GOOD FRIDAY. Last week a talk-backer mentioned how similar it's also been to Michael Mann's THIEF and they were dead-on. A scene early in this episode where Vaughn tries to get rid of his wife (Kelly Reilly) was damn near close to plagiarism, but luckily it went in a different direction than Mann's film.

Early on in the episode, a quad poster of Sam Peckinpah's BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFREDO GARCIA is displayed, and that's a good clue as to how season two was going to end. Like Peckinpah's films, there's a lot of alpha male, macho self-sacrifice going on but this is clearly Pizzolatto's style. Peckinpah, John Woo, Michael Mann, James Ellroy. These are clearly Pizzolatto's favorite guys, but they also happen to be mine which is maybe why this finale went down so well for me.

Running a feature-length ninety minutes, this is all about tying up loose ends and it's paced like lightning. No one can say that True Detective's action scenes aren't always impeccable and with BOY A director John Crowley at the helm, this episode is jam-packed with amazing action sequences that send it out on a high note. Now, it's pretty easy to see right where this was going from the start. It was clear to me a few episodes back that neither Vince Vaughn nor Colin Farrell were going to make it out alive, and you have to credit Pizzolatto for the nihilism of not only letting the baddies get away, but for the fact that he killed off all three of his male leads. Last season's ending had an optimistic end, this is anything but.

Of the leads Vince Vaughn came off the worst simply for the fact that he has to spout the most stylized dialogue. I like Vaughn in drama, but he doesn't have the edge James Caan did in THIEF or Bob Hoskins did in THE LONG GOOD FRIDAY to really be able to acquit himself well in similar scenes, although his big action sequence opposite Farrell is handled well (at 6'5 he's an imposing guy). He just lacks the personality he showed in his early indie films but give him credit for really trying. I have a feeling that on the whole this show will have been good for him.

As usual, Rachel McAdams is excellent as Ani, but it was undeniably a disappointment that she wound up sidelined for most of the episode. By the end, she's squarely in the love interest role, which is a comedown as the season originally started with her as the protagonist. None of the darker elements they teased for her really came to fruition, but it can't be denied McAdams was great.

For me though, this season's true star has been Colin Farrell and I'll say this Farrell was as good in this as Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson were in season one. I was amazed at how invested I was with him by the end, and despite the heavy foreshadowing, I kept hoping during his big shootout that he'd make it out alive. Naturally he doesn't, but it's a very effective set piece and again equal to anything in season one. Coupled with T. Bone Burnett's amazing score, I was on the edge of my seat throughout.

Again, season two of True Detective is not on par with season one, but why did it have to be? In the end it was a very solid season and while Pizzolatto could likely cut back a bit on the symbolism (I wasn't keen on the vultures following Vaughn on his death march) a bit and maybe opt for some more naturalistic dialogue, I was totally into the season from beginning to end. True Detective will likely be back, and here's a prediction if it happens people will be super easy on it after having been so rough on season two. Ten years from now, when people are placing True Detective in the context of TV history, people will remember this as being far better than its being given credit for now.

Source: JoBlo.com

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10:11PM on 08/16/2015
I feel there was a conscious effort to change the story telling formula and narrative. That was just as important for Season 1, as the actors and the setting. The Louisiana bayou was so immersive. Vinci was fairly dull and nondescript.

I just hope Fargo, Season 2 doesn't suffer the same short comings.
I feel there was a conscious effort to change the story telling formula and narrative. That was just as important for Season 1, as the actors and the setting. The Louisiana bayou was so immersive. Vinci was fairly dull and nondescript.

I just hope Fargo, Season 2 doesn't suffer the same short comings.
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4:40PM on 08/13/2015
Completely agree with the writer of this article.
Completely agree with the writer of this article.
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4:14PM on 08/10/2015
I think most of the hate this season gets is damn unwarranted.

There is some great fucking acting, and it all made me care about the 4 main characters. It's a depressed and more grounded ending, but I couldn't really see the show go any other way. The moment Ray got to see his son at school one last time, with his detective badge, was shot so well. It made it all worth it to Ray. He never had to see if Chad was really his son or not and I appreciated that.

I think more could have been
I think most of the hate this season gets is damn unwarranted.

There is some great fucking acting, and it all made me care about the 4 main characters. It's a depressed and more grounded ending, but I couldn't really see the show go any other way. The moment Ray got to see his son at school one last time, with his detective badge, was shot so well. It made it all worth it to Ray. He never had to see if Chad was really his son or not and I appreciated that.

I think more could have been done with the LA location though, as sometimes I generally forgot where this show was taking place in. But in all in all I enjoyed this season as I was drawn every week into where this was all going to go.
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2:36PM on 08/10/2015
one of HBO's worst seasons of any show
one of HBO's worst seasons of any show
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8:52AM on 08/10/2015
I think overall this season was just a weak season of television, with or without the title of True Detective. I stuck out the season not out of hate, but a genuine interest to see how the story played out and to see where it all was heading. But like it said in the review, you could really only pay attention to the broadstrokes of the story as the finer details were so hard to follow with each of the 4 main leads. For the most part I was enjoying myself up until the credits rolled on last
I think overall this season was just a weak season of television, with or without the title of True Detective. I stuck out the season not out of hate, but a genuine interest to see how the story played out and to see where it all was heading. But like it said in the review, you could really only pay attention to the broadstrokes of the story as the finer details were so hard to follow with each of the 4 main leads. For the most part I was enjoying myself up until the credits rolled on last night's episode. After thinking on it for a minute, I realized this was a really weak story to tell. And here's my two cents why:

The entire involvement of the 4 characters in this story meant absolutely nothing. Now a quick comparison to season 1, by the end of the season the audience realizes the story is more about the two detectives' personal lives moreso than the actual murder they are trying to solve. So at the end of the season there was a resolution to the detectives' personal issues, they came out the other side of the events changed and in that case on a happy note. So whether or not the murder case was solved, it's not important b/c at least the detectives were able to solve their personal issues by the end of it. That gave the story gravitas and purpose.

So keeping the above in mind with season 2, I struggled to find the purpose in this story. None of the characters come out the other end changed. Ray Velcoro never gets to make amends with his son or his ex-wife for the way their lives played out. And he never gets to end up with his new "love" Ani Bezzerides. Sure he comes to an understanding about himself, but nothing happens as a result of that b/c he gets killed before the final outcome. Frank doesn't change at all over the course of the show. He started out as an ex-gangster trying to go straight. He's briefly pulled back into the life of crime but still trying to go straight. Throughout it all he has problems with his wife, that he's able to resolve. But those problems arise as a result of the story itself, not something that's been happening for years prior to the beginning of the show. And then Frank is killed as well before he can make a clean break to finally go straight and not have to look back. Paul Woodrugh was a completely unnecessary character. His involvement in the story meant nothing as he could have been removed altogether from the plot and the story still would have played out the exact same. The only thing that would have changed is Ray Velcoro would not have been framed, but that didn't really factor into the final episode too much in a really significant way. And then there's Ani Bezzerides, she's the only one that makes it out alive with the information to take down the Vinci City corruption, and all she does with it is hand it off to a reported who may or may not be able to get it published in the news and then disappears.

So throughout the entire story, the characters' presence did nothing to change or affect each other's personal issues for a positive or negative impact as every one of those issues are left unsolved by the end of the season. And I thought that perhaps Pizzolato was going for something different this season by making the crime the center of the story. But that's left unsolved too as the corruption is still rampant and profitable for those involved. Perhaps the evidence will make it into the news, but the closing shots of the reporter seemed more like he didn't know what to do with the story without Ani Bezzerides' help. So all of this is to say, what was the point of the story? None of the characters are changed by the end and the crime is never stopped. You could have easily not have had these events play out and everything would have ended with the same result. The story had no purpose or importance.
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12:07AM on 08/11/2015
And this my friends is EXACTLY why this show blew this season. It was utterly and completely pointless. The story didn't have to be told and the result would have been the same. Thank you for putting it rather perfectly. I didn't bother trying to put into perfect words or deep analysis because I didn't think it was worth it. I'm glad you agree with me on Woodrugh. I mentioned a few weeks ago that his character was completely pointless as if he never existed the story would be exactly the same
And this my friends is EXACTLY why this show blew this season. It was utterly and completely pointless. The story didn't have to be told and the result would have been the same. Thank you for putting it rather perfectly. I didn't bother trying to put into perfect words or deep analysis because I didn't think it was worth it. I'm glad you agree with me on Woodrugh. I mentioned a few weeks ago that his character was completely pointless as if he never existed the story would be exactly the same with not a single beat missed. I didn't realize when I said that though that every character was ultimately just as pointless.
+0
6:01AM on 08/10/2015

Amen.

I loved it from start to finish. Screw the haters. I don't even want to bother comparing Season 2 to 1 because they are so freaking different it's not even funny. I was disappointed to see both Frank and Ray go out the way they did, but by the end, I was happy that Ani and Frank's wife had hooked up together and were maybe still going to see some bit of justice some day. I thought it was also a bittersweet note that Ani had Ray's baby. At least she's going to be okay.
I loved it from start to finish. Screw the haters. I don't even want to bother comparing Season 2 to 1 because they are so freaking different it's not even funny. I was disappointed to see both Frank and Ray go out the way they did, but by the end, I was happy that Ani and Frank's wife had hooked up together and were maybe still going to see some bit of justice some day. I thought it was also a bittersweet note that Ani had Ray's baby. At least she's going to be okay.
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5:15AM on 08/10/2015
Its sad that after this episode finished I sat there and really did feel like I wasted 8 1/2 hours of my life with zero payoff. Morbid, convoluted, and as the reviewer put it literally seen that elsewhere. It seems a shame, though I can't say any of their performances were terrible. I thought Vaughn was better than others I guess. just sucks after a monumental first season, that this wasn't even a fraction as entertaining. And man was this ending just plain old limp dicked.
Its sad that after this episode finished I sat there and really did feel like I wasted 8 1/2 hours of my life with zero payoff. Morbid, convoluted, and as the reviewer put it literally seen that elsewhere. It seems a shame, though I can't say any of their performances were terrible. I thought Vaughn was better than others I guess. just sucks after a monumental first season, that this wasn't even a fraction as entertaining. And man was this ending just plain old limp dicked.
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4:48AM on 08/10/2015
This was a snoozfest of a season. The odd entertaining thing happened but not much else and the plot was all over the place. Really a huge let down after season one and people saying they shouldn't be compared and who defend it are obviously just trying to be in with the hip crew! I remember last year's finale and how I couldn't wait for it, I forgot all about this until I heard a commercial for it. Hopefully season 3 is a big improvement over this dull affair.
This was a snoozfest of a season. The odd entertaining thing happened but not much else and the plot was all over the place. Really a huge let down after season one and people saying they shouldn't be compared and who defend it are obviously just trying to be in with the hip crew! I remember last year's finale and how I couldn't wait for it, I forgot all about this until I heard a commercial for it. Hopefully season 3 is a big improvement over this dull affair.
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1:22AM on 08/10/2015
Weak ass ending to a weak ass season. Whatever.
Weak ass ending to a weak ass season. Whatever.
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12:38AM on 08/10/2015
This has been a satisfied season. Sure it could've been better and the pacing was kinda slow at some point; but at a whole, I thought it worked well. As for the ending, killed off all 3 male leads was the only way to go, anything other than that ending would be viewed as a "cliche", and I give Nic P some props for having the balls to go through with it. I hope this show revives the main cast's career as they were good in it, especially Colin farrell.
This has been a satisfied season. Sure it could've been better and the pacing was kinda slow at some point; but at a whole, I thought it worked well. As for the ending, killed off all 3 male leads was the only way to go, anything other than that ending would be viewed as a "cliche", and I give Nic P some props for having the balls to go through with it. I hope this show revives the main cast's career as they were good in it, especially Colin farrell.
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11:25PM on 08/09/2015
Went out with a whimper. Such an anticlimactic ending. So Ani has to live on the run now? Idk, maybe I'll have to watch it again? But the ending was very mediocre. But I guess this was the only way they could end this season. Here's to hoping season 3 is an improvement over this past one.
Went out with a whimper. Such an anticlimactic ending. So Ani has to live on the run now? Idk, maybe I'll have to watch it again? But the ending was very mediocre. But I guess this was the only way they could end this season. Here's to hoping season 3 is an improvement over this past one.
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