True Detective—Season 2

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4.5 Overall Score
Story: 4/10
Acting: 4/10
Visuals: 7/10

Some ok episodes and set-ups

Horribly unbalanced, uninteresting characters, convoluted plot

 
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Welcome to the less compelling West Coast!

A Vinci city official named Ben Caspere has been murdered.  Falling under multiple jurisdictions, Ray Velcoro (Colin Farrell), Antigone Bezzerides (Rachel McAdams), and Paul Woodrugh (Taylor Kitsch) are teamed together to find the murderer.  While the officers seek various leads, Frank Semyon (Vince Vaughn) also wants to find the killer for ruining his lucrative deal with Caspere.  Who killed Ben Caspere and why?  The truth may not be something that is ever meant to be discovered.

True Detective—Season 2 ran from June 21, 2015 to August 9, 2015.  While the first season of True Detective was highly lauded, True Detective—Season 2 was highly criticized.  The season’s failure cast doubt on the future of the series.

I loved True Detective—Season 1.  It was a compelling and dark story that tapped into that Southern Gothic feel with its story.  The decision to make True Detective an anthology series made sense with the popularity of shows like American Horror Story.  I didn’t love a lot of the cast that they selected but I had hope that the Southern Gothic story would translate to the California noir style of crime.  Unfortunately, True Detective—Season 2 missed the mark…massively.

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Just a casual breakfast…

While True Detective—Season 1 was a dense and confusing story, it was compelling.  The second season continued the dense confusing story, but it wasn’t compelling at all.  I often found myself lost in the multiple storylines that felt ripped from L.A. Confidential.  The short eight episode season left me quite numb and by the end of the story, I didn’t really care what was going on in regard to corrupt cops (which seemed rather added in at the last turn) and just let it played out to finish it.

The reason behind the lack of caring was that the characters for the season were much less compelling than Harrelson and McConaughey.  The only character that was half-way developed was Colin Farrell and his relationship with his (maybe) son.  Rachel McAdams and Taylor Kitsch seemed like stock character clichés and don’t have enough backstory to really develop.  The worst of the batch has to be Vince Vaughn who delivers his over-the-top dialogue with a wooden presentation.

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The only storyline that was worth anything this season…

The show also missed the boat with their theme.  California noir is almost a sub-genre of film noir and the hardboiled detective.  With great movies like Chinatown and characters like Phillip Marlowe inhabiting the neo-noir world of California, I had high hopes for this imagery in True Detective—Season 2 since True Detective—Season 1 captured that Southern feel.  The movie doesn’t get enough from the environment and simple overhead shots of California roads doesn’t set the scene enough.

True Detective—Season 2 more than anything was a disappointment.  There were a few episodes that were ok and moments where you began to think the season would turn itself around…unfortunately, it didn’t.  I still have hope for True Detective as a series.  True Detective—Season 3 needs to step up its game and get back to the roots that made it great…True Detective—Season 2 is a skippable season of a show that demonstrates the best and worst in writing and acting.

True Detective—Season 2 Complete Episode Guide:

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“The Western Book of the Dead”

2.1       The Western Book of the Dead Airdate:  06/21/15

Ray Velcoro (Colin Farrell) tries to get custody of his son (Trevor Larcom) while secretly working as an enforcer for Frank Semyon (Vince Vaughn).  Detective Antigone Bezzerides (Rachel McAdams) tries to convince her sister Athena (Leven Rambin) to get out of amateur porn but discovers ties to the retreat of her father Eliot (David Morse) while searching for a missing woman named Vera Machiado.  With the department under fire, Paul Woodrugh (Taylor Kitsch) is removed from active duty after accusations of propositioning a suspect.  Ani and her partner are assigned to find Semyon’s missing business partner Ben Caspere who is trying to develop a high-speed rail line.

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“Night Finds You”

2.2       Night Finds You Airdate:  06/28/15

Woodrugh’s discovery of Ben Caspere’s mutilated body leads to Woodrugh, Bezzerides, and Velcoro being assigned to the case for various departments.  Semyon learns that his money invested with Caspere is gone and that he has to find the killer.  Velcoro learns that his actions to quash his son’s bully has consequences.  Woodrugh tries to balance time with his mother Cynthia (Lolita Davidovich) and his girlfriend Emily (Adria Arjona) while searching for the killer.  Bezzerides and Velcoro learn more information about Caspere’s after-hours activities from his psychiatrist Dr. Irving Pitlor (Rick Springfield).  Velcoro questions if they are supposed to really solve the case and is met with a surprise.

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“Maybe Tomorrow”

2.3       Maybe Tomorrow Airdate:  07/05/15

Velcoro finds the gunshot attack on him was with non-lethal ammo and realizes he’s on the track of the killer who has taken the evidence of Caspere’s sex videos.  Semyon finds pressure building as he tries to reclaim his money while worrying that he’s become a target himself.  Woodrugh and Bezzerides investigate Caspere’s ties to Vici Mayor Austin Chessani (Ritchie Coster).  Woodrugh tries to find prostitutes tied to Caspere and is reminded of his old feelings when he runs into an old coworker from Black Mountain.  Velcoro learns that he is being investigated by the state for corruption while trying to track down a car stolen from a movie set that could have been transporting Caspere.

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“Down Will Come”

2.4       Down Will Come Airdate:  07/12/15

Bezzerides finds links between Caspere, Chessani, and Caspere’s psychiatrist Dr. Pitlor and her father’s commune.  Woodrugh has an overnight with his old friend Miguel Gilb (Gabriel Luna) but a surprise from his girlfriend makes him change his thought.  Bezzerides finds her job in danger when a sexual harassment lawsuit is filed.  Through a prostitute and a pawn shop, the search for Caspere’s killer gets new leads, but Bezzerides, Velcoro, and Woodrugh discover they are in a dangerous position when they go after the prostitute’s pimp.

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“Other Lives”

2.5       Other Lives Airdate:  07/19/15

Two months have passed since the massive shoot out and the pimp Ledo Amarilla (Cesar Garcia) has taken the blame for the killing of Caspere.  Semyon and his wife debate adoption as Seymon gets a means to even his debt.  Velcoro has started working for Seymon full time, Woodrugh has been “promoted” to insurance fraud, and Bezzerides finds herself trapped at the station.  When the three detectives begin to question if Amarilla really killed Caspere, the case is secretly reopen as Bezzerides, Woodrugh, and Velcoro search for a killer.  Velcoro learns the truth about what happened to his wife…leading to a showdown with Semyon.

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“Church in Ruins”

2.6       Church in Ruins Airdate:  07/26/15

Velcoro confronts Semyon on the fact that Semyon didn’t give him the name of his wife’s rapist…and makes an important decision about his son.  Woodrugh tracks missing diamonds stolen during the L.A. riots in 1992.  Semyon continues his quest to find the prostitute who pawned Caspere’s belongs and finds a potential lead when he locates her.  Bezzerides take a gamble by attending an elite party as an escort with Woodrugh and Velcoro’s help…but a dangerous drug mixture could lead to a revelation about her past.

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“Black Maps and Motel Rooms”

2.7       Black Maps and Motel Rooms Airdate:  08/02/15

Bezzerides is on the run after killing a guard at the party, and Velcoro is framed for the murder of Davis.  Now working with no authority, the group must link the pieces together to clear their names.  With a theory on the ties between Holloway, Burris, Dixon, and Caspere, evidence of the stolen diamonds is a necessity.  Semyon learns about his own leak and the ties to Osip.  An attempt to frame Woodrugh backfires and leaving Woodrugh in danger.

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“Omega Station”

2.8       Omega Station Airdate:  08/09/15

Woodrugh has been killed and Velcoro is wanted for the crime.  Semyon finds that loose ends are being tied up and that he is targeted by cartel members for the destruction of their clubs.  With options running out, the discovery of someone from Caspere’s past could mean solving the crime and clearing everyone’s names.  Unfortunately in Vinci, no one gets away clean.

Related Links:

True Detective—Season 1 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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