The hype train was in full effect before the first episode of True Detective Season Two hit HBO. However, everyone who’s a fan of the first season, that I know, anyway, was questioning the show before it was even aired. There simply wasn’t any way, most fans thought, myself included, that season two could live up to such excellence as the first season. And once episode one hit the airwaves, I felt even more certain that it was true. Indeed most fans and critics were both overwhelmed and underwhelmed by the first episode, one that seemed to be an overly drawn out prologue that introduced a cast of characters strangely disconnected from each other and from themselves in philosophical terms. In other words–in denial of their own natures.
The end of the first episode only has the main characters in the same place at the same time–predictably a crime scene, but then ends with nothing more than Rachel McAdams (a surprisingly good tough girl in this despite my constant reminder that she was in About Time, a great movie in its own right) Taylor Kitsch, and Colin Farrell making eyes at each other in dramatic succession. A lackluster end to the beginning of season two of my favorite show ever*
Now with the airing of episode 2 I’ve suddenly found new respect for a season I thought would be doomed to fail. Now here come the spoilers. If you haven’t seen these two episodes, I suggest you go and watch them now. RIGHT NOW.
The episode opens on Vince Vaughn in bed, staring up at some water stains on the ceiling. His classy, new age California home aside, he doesn’t seem to fit the philosophical mode, which is perhaps the reason he was cast. He stares up and gives us, viewers, a hint that not everything is what it seems to be within this show. While some may interpret it as his character’s own confusions, it is–I believe–a hint at to what will happen by the end of the hour. “It’s all paper meche,” he says. A flimsy and easily broken material. Just like a traditional plot.
The investigation to discover who killed city planner Caspere begins. Colin Farrell and Rachel McAdams are paired together in order to find it–a nice twist slides in as Farrell is dirty and trying to block her progress, and then another twist, as she knows he’s compromised. Taylor Kitsch visits his mom and his strange sexual shyness if brought out when he visits his girlfriend before leaving to help in the investigation. She dumps him, as he is never emotionally there for her.
In, what I call, the saddest bar in the world, Vaughn and Farrell meet. Vaughn is in the pits. His assets are gone, and he owes dangerous people big money. He pays Farrell to take a look at the victim’s second house, a house that the victim used for his sexual deviance, apparently. Farrell forces entry and scopes the place out. A harness is hanging from the ceiling, and blood is underneath it on the floor. It is, presumably the place where the victim was killed. Farrell opens a large door onto a bathroom or closet, only to find a video camera pointing at him and a small radio beside it. As he backs up the camera catches movement behind him and then a blast goes off. Shotgun pellets rip into Farrell, landing him on the floor. Instead of shooting back he is still and stunned. The last shot of the episode is a figure in all black, with a ceremonial Native American headdress standing over Farrell before unloading another round of shot into his stomach. Then the screen goes dark.
The implications of this scene are wonderful. Did Farrell’s character die? Is his whole inclusion in this season just a smoke screen, part of the paper mache Vaughn talked about in the beginning of the episode? Something flimsy that can be destroyed easily? Ever since Game of Thrones became a hit, killing off main characters is more acceptable, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t surprising. Now, my interest is more sparked than it ever has. While True Detective Season Two, might not show the same philosophical promise as it’s predecessor, it’s certainly given me a lot to think about in terms of character development, namely how the remaining characters will deal with this interesting turn of events.
*Avatar The Last Airbender and Buffy The Vampire Slayer are right up there also (my tastes have scope).