True Detective Season 2 Was Depressing

Whoo, that was a hell of a thing.

How I feel after all that.

How I feel after all that.

So I finished watching True Detective Season 2 last night and I’ve got to say, I wasn’t the biggest fan of this season. Don’t get me wrong, it was not bad and had it’s moments, but all-in-all, I think that this season could have been condensed into a single 3 hour-long movie and been much more enjoyable for it. It could have been a movie like The Departed or The Untouchables and been much better as that. But it wasn’t, and more’s the pity. So let’s get into it, shall we?

Spoilers for True Detective Season 2 ahoy!

So, as I said, I think that if this season had been condensed into a single three-hour movie that it would have been much easier to digest. As it is, the show is 8 1/2 hours long and as a result, extremely confusing. There are character backstories that, while compelling, really serve no real purpose, such as Ani’s (Rachel McAdams) backstory about being sexually abused as a child or Frank (Vince Vaughn) and Jordan’s (Kelly Reilly) subplot about not being able to have a baby. While they are interesting and give some insight to the character, it doesn’t really serve the narrative very well. They are things that could be going on in the character’s lives that we get a glimpse of, but the show spends several scenes developing these aspects that don’t actually go anywhere.

Also, there are so many characters in the show that even with “previously on…” at the beginning of each episode, it’s ridiculously hard to keep track of them all and who they are working for. Even in the last episode names were being thrown around and I found myself clueless as to who the people were that were being talked about. And I watched these episodes over the course of a week and a half! If I had been watching them spread out over the season, I’m sure I would have been even more lost. This is, again, a problem that could have been minimized if the show had been a movie instead.

Hey, look, it's those two. Someone's boss and...someone else's boss?

Hey, look, it’s those two. Someone’s boss and…someone else’s boss, I guess.

Additionally, this season was downright morose. I mean, season 1 wasn’t exactly chipper but it at least had its moments of levity. If nothing else, it was entertaining to hear Marty (Woody Harrelson) react to Rust’s (Matthew McConaughey) philosophical ramblings. But this season had none of that. The characters were all unhappy cusses who simply swirled together into one giant maelstrom of gloom. Not that it should be exactly like the first season, because it shouldn’t, but to have no moment to break the tension ever? That’s a little too much for 8 1/2 hours of television. I think there were maybe two smiles throughout the entire season, and they basically signified that characters were going to die.

Speaking of, that last episode, while well-directed, definitely bothered me some. There were some great scenes, but I was absolutely annoyed that at the end of it all Ray (Colin Farrell) and Frank were the two left in the wind. I get what the show was going for, the two “bad” men suffering the fates they have brought upon themselves, but having the female characters, especially Ani, sit on the sidelines for the climax was hackey. I get that Frank and Ray weren doing things that Ani wasn’t a part of, but the last episode shouldn’t have the lead women shoved aside and turned into crying lovers. First Frank sends Jordan away then Ray sends Ani away? Come on. I was especially annoyed that Ani and Ray got into a relationship and all of a sudden her strong character is weeping on a ship as her boyfriend dies. Barf. It’s disrespectful, in my mind.

Hey look, a strong 3-dimensional female protagonist!

Hey look, a strong 3-dimensional female protagonist!

...Shit.

…Shit.

Not that strong female characters can’t show emotion, but this was just a little much.

But, like I said, this season was not bad. It had some great performances. I was especially impressed with Vince Vaughn and Taylor Kitsch, two actors whom I had definitely grown tired of. Though, it’s not like I’m going to give The Internship a shot or forgive Taylor for his version of Gambit. It also had some really exciting moments, like the Vinci Massacre and the scene in the train station. But in spite of that, the season was simply too long and depressing for its own good.

I do wonder if the endcap scene where Ani gives all the evidence to a reporter and we find out that she has Ray’s son and is with Jordan is supposed to give us some hope and leave us a little more upbeat. I’m not sure what the purpose of it would be besides that. Finding out that Ray is super virile at the end wasn’t exactly consolation. Poor kid’s gonna grow up on the run and without his father. Though, I suppose Ray was a pretty shitty dad anyways, and having Aunt Jordan there would be nice for everyone. Not that any of this is here nor there, as it doesn’t make the rest of the season better.

Goddamn babies and their hope symbolism.

Goddamn babies and their hope symbolism.

So, would I recommend watching this? Not really. You’re better off watching something like The Departed if you want something depressing that won’t eat 8 1/2 hours of your life. But, again, the season wasn’t bad, the good just doesn’t justify that length. And I did miss Marty and Rust.

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