Latest Entertainment News Headlines

TV Review: True Detective: Season 2: Episode 1

06.21.2015
 

PLOT:  The lives of a disturbed detective (Colin Farrell), a tough-as-nails deputy (Rachel McAdams) and a motorcycle cop (Taylor Kitsch) intersect with the machinations of a crime boss (Vince Vaughn) trying to go straight with a complicated Los Angeles land scheme.

REVIEW: Early reviews of True Detective Season 2 have expressed disappointment over the fact that season two can’t quite live up to the first. To a certain extent, that’s unavoidable. Nobody really saw True Detective coming, but Nic Pizzolatto’s neo-noir limited series took everyone by surprise. With film-level production values and taut, atmospheric direction by Cary Fukunaga, it only took the pilot for us all to realize we were seeing something radically different – even by HBO standards. Not only that, but it tied into a major comeback for star Matthew McConaughey, and his Rust Cohle quickly tapped into the pop culture – with his philosophical rants paving the way for all those Lincoln ads. And of course, there was the amazing, one-of-a-kind chemistry between him and Woody Harrelson, plus a crazy, layered mystery that became one of the hottest things on the small-screen since “who killed Laura Palmer?” It would have been all but impossible for season two to match up, and sure enough it doesn’t.

 

However, that’s not to say True Detective season two isn’t great in its own right. While I’ve only sampled the first episode so far, it’s a highly intriguing crime story that should add up to a great eight-episode season. Pizzolatto deserves credit in that he doesn’t copy himself, with great pains being extended throughout the first episode to establish an all-new style. There are no-more flash-forwards, with the mystery taking place in a contemporary setting. There’s also very little Rust Cohle-style dialogue, with none of the characters being cut of the same intellectual cloth, giving this a certain accessibility that maybe the first season didn’t have.

By that token, the direction is quite different. Unlike the Fukunega-helmed first season, this one has a mix of directors with FAST & FURIOUS’ Justin Lin having done the first two episodes. While the production values remain feature-level, Lin’s direction is far more conventional. Much of the central mystery (which is only revealed in the closing moments of the episode) revolves around the L.A highway system, and Lin seemingly cuts to helicopter shots of the roads over ten minutes or so. It’s slick and stylish, but not terribly atmospheric.  

 

Perhaps this is a sign that Pizzolatto’s taking complete control this season, and with an expanded focus on four full-fledged leads rather than two, maybe there’s less time for the great set-pieces that distinguished Fukunega’s run. The marquee cast is uniformly excellent, although none of them get quite the same level of material to chew on that Harrelson and McConaughey did – at least not at this point. Like last season, everyone’s tortured (people don’t smile much on True Detective) and Pizzolatto’s stylized dialogue is an actor’s dream.

In the first hour, no one quite emerges as a full-lead, with the screen time being pretty evenly divided between Farrell, McAdams and Vaughn (Kitsch makes his entrance a little later than the others). Of all of them, Farrell’s arguably the most tortured, playing a dirty cop indebted to Vaughn’s mobster after he helped him find the man who raped (and possibly impregnated) his now-estranged wife. While the paternity of his son is at doubt, Farrell’s Ray Velcoro is depicted as a loving, if often misguided and dangerous father, with his shy, kindly son being the target of bullies leading to the episode’s most charged and violent moment. Constantly swilling whisky and doing bumps of coke, Farrell’s like Cohle without the intellect or nobility, and Farrell plays the hell out of him.

Of the trio of cops, Rachel McAdams’ Ani Bezzerides seems the most dedicated although typical of the show she has issues of her own, including alcoholism, an appetite for rough sex, a sister in porn and a Timothy Leary-esque guru (David Morse) for a father. This is radically different from anything McAdams has done before, but she seems a good fit for Pizzolatto’s world and it’ll be interesting to see how she develops. The much-maligned Taylor Kitsch as highway cop Paul Woodrugh feels like the most cliché character so far, being an ex-mercenary turned suicidal highway cop who relaxes by racing his motorcycle down the highway minus a helmet and headlights. While it’s totally out of the LETHAL WEAPON-Riggs playbook, Kitsch is still just as effective as anyone else is but needs to be developed more (bear in mind it’s still only the first episode).

The guy everyone’s no doubt the most curious about is Vince Vaughn, who plays crime boss Frank Semyon. Anyone who knows Vaughn from his nineties indie work like THE PRIME GIG and RETURN TO PARADISE can vouch for the guy’s chops and he doesn’t let the ensemble down at all. Of everyone, he’s actually my favorite so far; with his plot being the most interesting in that it almost feels like a riff on THE LONG GOOD FRIDAY, with his well-intentioned plan to go straight going down in flames. Kelly Reilly is also really good as his quick-witted wife, who’s clearly the power being the throne, and their dynamic is superb. Of everyone, I’m most anxious to see how their story pans out.

Hopefully audiences will be able to accept the fact that season two’s so radically different, with T.Bone Burnett’s music being the only real crossover (with Leonard Cohen’s ‘Nevermind’ being the theme song). While this first installment of the second season isn’t as immediately brilliant as season one, it’s early yet and at the very least it’s still a highly intriguing, gripping hour of television. I can’t imagine anyone having watched this and not immediately wanting to see the next episode. I’m definitely on board for the ride.

Source: JoBlo.com

RECOMMENDED MOVIE NEWS

MORE FUN FROM AROUND THE WEB

Strikeback
Not registered? Sign-up!
Or

11:40AM on 06/23/2015

Great first episode

The episode did what it is supposed to do... introduced the plot, characters, setting, etc. and it did so in stylistic fashion. I thought it was fantastic, and I love the characters of Velcoro and Simyon. People need to relax, it is episode ONE. Give it time.
The episode did what it is supposed to do... introduced the plot, characters, setting, etc. and it did so in stylistic fashion. I thought it was fantastic, and I love the characters of Velcoro and Simyon. People need to relax, it is episode ONE. Give it time.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
2:51AM on 06/23/2015

The Woman in Milk??

Anybody know what that woman floating in a small bowl of milk symbolized? I guess we will find out.
Anybody know what that woman floating in a small bowl of milk symbolized? I guess we will find out.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
11:01AM on 06/24/2015
They walked into the house post massive orgy and apparently this season is going to tie in with some sort of cult. Its not hard to tell even from only one episode that sex and sexuality is a major theme this season. I think that image is a nod for things to come. If what I think is correct this season is going to play off of themes of sexuality, deception. Each character is not going to end up being what they seem and will lead to a gruesome finale.
They walked into the house post massive orgy and apparently this season is going to tie in with some sort of cult. Its not hard to tell even from only one episode that sex and sexuality is a major theme this season. I think that image is a nod for things to come. If what I think is correct this season is going to play off of themes of sexuality, deception. Each character is not going to end up being what they seem and will lead to a gruesome finale.
5:21PM on 06/25/2015
Thanks Kurtz, Great insight. The items seen in various places last season were also extremely bizarre and keeps you scratching your head saying....WTF was that? Rewind, watch again, still perplexed. Especially last season when we see those pictures of the mysterious men on horseback with strange animal heads. The Russian man (owner of the home where said event happened) had his eyes removed or burned with "massive pelvic wounds". Could this tie into some sort of Stigmata ritual or just
Thanks Kurtz, Great insight. The items seen in various places last season were also extremely bizarre and keeps you scratching your head saying....WTF was that? Rewind, watch again, still perplexed. Especially last season when we see those pictures of the mysterious men on horseback with strange animal heads. The Russian man (owner of the home where said event happened) had his eyes removed or burned with "massive pelvic wounds". Could this tie into some sort of Stigmata ritual or just plain sadistic torture. Also, what symbolism to we see with a large black eagle's head? Die Hard American or Conservative Beliefs? Maybe this item was stolen from the house at the time the driver picked up the body as a keepsake.
1:21PM on 06/22/2015
I must be impervious to this shows hype. I thought the first season was derivative of other cop/ CSI/ crime shows. This first episode just presented a lot of unattractive characters and the story was hard to follow. I'm expecting more of the blind praise, very disappointed in people not being more critical than they usually are. If this wasn't true detective season two, but an unattached show, it would be ripped to shreds.
I must be impervious to this shows hype. I thought the first season was derivative of other cop/ CSI/ crime shows. This first episode just presented a lot of unattractive characters and the story was hard to follow. I'm expecting more of the blind praise, very disappointed in people not being more critical than they usually are. If this wasn't true detective season two, but an unattached show, it would be ripped to shreds.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
4:11PM on 06/22/2015
Wow. Talk about a loss of all credibility when you compare True Detective to CSI. Did you even watch the show?
Wow. Talk about a loss of all credibility when you compare True Detective to CSI. Did you even watch the show?
10:48AM on 06/22/2015

Already hooked

Colin Farrell owned this first episode. I don't want to give anything away to people who haven't seen it but dude is awesome. He's introduced one way and then totally turns everything on it's head halfway through. I can't wait to see where every lead's story goes.
Colin Farrell owned this first episode. I don't want to give anything away to people who haven't seen it but dude is awesome. He's introduced one way and then totally turns everything on it's head halfway through. I can't wait to see where every lead's story goes.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
10:01AM on 06/22/2015

Loved it! 9/10

I really liked True Detective 2x01, looking forward to next week's episode, I'm totally hooked, wish HBO had released the entire season like Netflix does.
I really liked True Detective 2x01, looking forward to next week's episode, I'm totally hooked, wish HBO had released the entire season like Netflix does.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
+0
8:29AM on 06/22/2015
Ask me my opinion once 3-4 episodes have aired
Ask me my opinion once 3-4 episodes have aired
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
+2
3:14AM on 06/22/2015

People are stupid...

Judging this Season WAY too early, WAY too harshly, and WAY too eager. Hello? The creative team is still here. But it's a DIFFERENT story and a DIFFERENT cast. Give it some goddamn space and time. Jeezuz.
Judging this Season WAY too early, WAY too harshly, and WAY too eager. Hello? The creative team is still here. But it's a DIFFERENT story and a DIFFERENT cast. Give it some goddamn space and time. Jeezuz.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
2:34AM on 06/22/2015

error in the review.

"he helped him find the woman who raped (and possibly impregnated) his now-estranged wife." You mean "man." Nothing big, it happens.

Also thank you for not giving a COMPLETE synopsis of the show. I find that refreshing.
"he helped him find the woman who raped (and possibly impregnated) his now-estranged wife." You mean "man." Nothing big, it happens.

Also thank you for not giving a COMPLETE synopsis of the show. I find that refreshing.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
+3
2:12AM on 06/22/2015

Early

No need to make any determinations yet. We have no idea what Pizzolatto has in store for us. Just sit back and enjoy. And what was with the Maltese Falcon sitting next to the dead city manager?
No need to make any determinations yet. We have no idea what Pizzolatto has in store for us. Just sit back and enjoy. And what was with the Maltese Falcon sitting next to the dead city manager?
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
2:00AM on 06/22/2015

3 Things!!!

1) Fix your mobile site comment section. Won't even allow me to log in at the bottom of the article when I click "Submit." 2) Colin Farrell wins father of the year. (lol) 3) Why don't you guys review Hannibal (THE best show on television at the moment)?!
1) Fix your mobile site comment section. Won't even allow me to log in at the bottom of the article when I click "Submit." 2) Colin Farrell wins father of the year. (lol) 3) Why don't you guys review Hannibal (THE best show on television at the moment)?!
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
1:35AM on 06/22/2015

A Good Theory on Season 2

I have what I think might be a good theory for this season that would some what tie it in with season 2, let me know what you guys think. Keeping in line with the HP Lovecraft mythology from season 1 (The King in Yellow) this season will tie in with another novel that influenced the writer. I think there is a significance as to the reasoning for having this season focus on 3 different characters. Just a haunch but I think this season might be based off of The Three Impostors by Arthur Machen.
I have what I think might be a good theory for this season that would some what tie it in with season 2, let me know what you guys think. Keeping in line with the HP Lovecraft mythology from season 1 (The King in Yellow) this season will tie in with another novel that influenced the writer. I think there is a significance as to the reasoning for having this season focus on 3 different characters. Just a haunch but I think this season might be based off of The Three Impostors by Arthur Machen. To read more about the story click the link. [link]
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
12:09AM on 06/22/2015

Totally different

I felt like I wasn't just watching a new season, but a whole new series. But I'll tell you what, I like it. I think the three mains will play off each other quite interestingly as we begin to see more about their characters. It's tough to look at this episode based on the entirety of season 1, because that was something special. I may look back at my being optimistic down the road as foolish if the season doesn't deliver, but I only first watched season 1 all at once and I was able to
I felt like I wasn't just watching a new season, but a whole new series. But I'll tell you what, I like it. I think the three mains will play off each other quite interestingly as we begin to see more about their characters. It's tough to look at this episode based on the entirety of season 1, because that was something special. I may look back at my being optimistic down the road as foolish if the season doesn't deliver, but I only first watched season 1 all at once and I was able to appreciate it as a whole. I'm hoping for the same with season 2.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
11:59PM on 06/21/2015
Must be a season 1 hangover, because this episode was terrible
Must be a season 1 hangover, because this episode was terrible
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
8:29PM on 06/21/2015

I'm in.

I may have a crush on you for referencing The Long Good Friday. If I'd read nothing else about this season, I'd be in for the first episode at the very least. And you're right, Vaughn has the chops. If he leaves the mugging frat boy at home, I have a feeling this show could lead to a career renaissance of his own. For me, Kitsch is the wild-card, but I do think he's so far been the victim of over-hyped (often bad) material. We'll see.
I may have a crush on you for referencing The Long Good Friday. If I'd read nothing else about this season, I'd be in for the first episode at the very least. And you're right, Vaughn has the chops. If he leaves the mugging frat boy at home, I have a feeling this show could lead to a career renaissance of his own. For me, Kitsch is the wild-card, but I do think he's so far been the victim of over-hyped (often bad) material. We'll see.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
View All Comments

Latest Entertainment News Headlines


Top
Loading...

Featured Youtube Videos

Views and Counting

Movie Hottie Of The Week

More