The first season of True Detective was huge. The show was everywhere. Why wouldn’t it be? True Detective had a ton going for it between Cary Fukunaga’s dynamic direction, the creepy Louisiana setting, and compelling lead performances from Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson. There was an air of mystery and hints of Lovecraftian horror that made True Detective different from anything else on TV.

The piles of Lone Star cans and Rust Cohle-isms are nowhere to be found in season two. The setting has shifted to seedy Los Angeles. Nic Pizzolatto is going with the traditional L.A. hard-boiled crime story this time, focusing on real estate, the mob, and more testosterone than you can imagine.

This season features three train wreck leads. In this corner, we have Ani Bezzerides (Rachel McAdams), the hardest of hard female cops. She’s such a loose cannon that she gets kicked out of casinos for drinking too much. She conducts police raids on webcam houses just because she can. WOW!

And then there’s Tim Riggins Paul Woodrugh (Taylor Kitsch). Paul is a highway patrolman who was thrown off the force for supposedly letting an actress get off off a drunk driving charge by accepting a blowjob. Whoa, what a man! But maybe he isn’t, because he can’t get it up for his sexy girlfriend. Weak sauce, bruh.

No one has more balls and testosterone than Ray Velcoro (Colin Farrell). Look at that mustache. You know Ray Velcoro don’t take no guff. Ray Velcoro doesn’t know how to stop drinking.Ray Velcoro smokes ten cigarettes in the time it takes you to smoke one. Ray Velcoro will pop on a black mask to commit a crime in the middle of the day. Ray Velcoro beats up the fathers of middle school bullies on their own front lawn.

There’s just so much manliness. Too much manliness. It all seems a little over the top. We get that it’s one of those hard crime L.A. stories, the point doesn’t need to be driven home so hard. There’s also the matter of the number of storylines. We have Ani’s issues with her sister in the webcam stripping business and father in the religious commune/cult business. We have Paul’s erection issues and his suspension from the force. Then we have everything in the world going on with Ray. He’s got a kid that he love just too much and probably isn’t his because he’s a fat ginger kid and Ray’s wife was raped years ago. He’s got a working criminal relationship with Frank Semyon (Vince Vaughn). Ray is a human car crash, falling asleep at bars when he isn’t pounding whiskey before a side job for Semyon.

Oh yeah, there’s also a whole thing going on with Semyon. He’s got a development project going on, but this other guy won’t help him since the city manager is missing or something. It’s not quite Game of Thrones level as far as plot density goes, but there’s a hell of a lot more threads to follow.

True Detective’s second season is scattered and even more self-serious than the first. Sordid L.A. isn’t as unique as the creepy bayou. The one promising aspect is the fate of the city controller. Acid being used to get rid of someone’s eyes is some nasty business. They drove the poor guy around all day long with some weird raven head and just dropped him off on the side of the road. That’s kind of weird. Weird is good. Overall, it’s a pretty meh start for True Detective season two.

 

Blah blah blah

  • Was that kid cast to blatantly make us think that Velcoro’s son isn’t his?
  • I’m calling him Ray Velcro for the rest of the season. Perhaps Ray Velociraptoro.
  • I was hoping Don Draper would pop up at Bezzerides’ father’s commune.
  • I can’t get over how over-the-top Velcro beating up that bully’s father with brass knuckles on his front lawn is.
  • Justin Lin’s direction is not quite as interesting as Fukunaga’s but it’s still quite good  I’d love to see a little more action for him to work with in the next episode.
  • Please give Vince Vaughn a chance to lay on some sleazy charm. There’s no reason to cast Vaughn in that role otherwise.