‘The Western Book of the Dead.’
True Detective’s debut season last year was something of a phenomenon in Television. It had two leading men who were noticeably movie actors – Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey – at the height of their careers. It’s twisted dark plot, interestingly engineered characters and philosophical views on mankind and religion were breathtakingly original for anything on TV at the time or even before it. Despite it’s quality, nobody expected there to be a season two, it was seen as a ‘one and done’ because it was just that good.
But there is a Season 2 and here it is, this time we have 4 main characters; Ray (Colin Ferrell) an actual detective, Frank (Vince Vaughan) a crime boss? I guess?, Ani (Rachel McAdams) and finally Paul (Taylor Kitsch) – the roles of each character aren’t really that well realised yet. This season has no connection to the previous season, True Detective has become an anthology series. Every season will have a different story and different characters with no links to other seasons.
Now, onto the premiere itself, It was weird. But good…I think?
The episode was tedious at times, it had no real story. In fact the story doesn’t really start until the very end when all of our characters meet. Unfortunately, this was when I got excited because it was already easy to see how things would shape up and how characters would clash with each other. Ray however, was a dominating presence on screen. Whenever he was on, I was interested. The other characters weren’t quite as compelling (especially Frank) but still interesting somewhat.
The script felt like a really good first draft. Some lines were absolutely horrendous, honestly; ‘Never do anything out of hunger, not even eating.’ What does that even mean? Seriously? Then some lines were brilliant, ‘You’re 12 years old, and you’re already as evil as fuck.’ To be honest, Ray had by far the best lines and scenes. As ever the music is perfectly descriptive and elevates scenes (Ray & Frank in the bar). The episode is wonderfully directed and shot, which in some ways makes up for the lack of story and at times self obsessed writing. Below is an excellent shot of Ray entering the underground criminal world for the first time… the red glow depicting the flames of hell.
Overall the season premiere, was a tad disappointing, but it did hint at what’s to come in the next couple episodes. A brutal and nuanced criminal world. I think it would be a good idea to completely detach yourself from Season 1 and expect the same atmosphere but different tendencies, there are still some creepy elements lurking around, Something trademark for True Detective. I’m sure the next couple of episodes will be a big step up.
Words by Eddie Michael