One might have hoped that the second season of True Detective would end up being something more than it appeared to be at the outset. Not just that the overall story would improve or that the episode-by-episode characterizations would gradually become more palatable — many hoped that the end of the sophomore outing would shine a light back on the beginning in such a way that a second viewing might be more rewarding than the first. This kind of retroactive structuring isn’t impossible, but it is pretty damn rare. The example I always use is Lost (yeah, I use Lost as a barometer for pretty much everything) which had an ending that might not have pleased everyone but managed to turn back and gracefully incorporate disparate elements from the first few seasons.
Did True Detective do that? The answer’s probably more No than Yes, and although the one major Yes is worth discussing the Nos just seem to pile atop one another immediately after watching the finale. Spoilers follow for “Omega Station”.
Continue reading True Detective 2.8 – “Omega Station”
“Other Lives” wasn’t so much a reboot as a remake, not so much starting fresh as simply starting from the beginning all over again. Following the massive, civilian-offing Heat-esque shootout at the end of last week’s episode “Down Will Come“, all four of this season’s protagonists find themselves down a few rungs on the Ladder of Success. Worth noting, though, that only Ray Velcoro has an arc that’s really worth investing in — and only Ray seems to realize what the Ladder of Success actually is. When Frank Semyon states that he thought being poor was behind him in “Down Will Come”, Ray shakes his head: “That shit never leaves you,” Ray says, “no matter how much money you make.” The sentiment is carried through when Frank, offering Ray a job, encourages him by saying that “a little rage can go a long way.” Ray, of course, even though he knows the answer, asks the question out loud: “A long way to where?”
And even though he knows the answer, he takes Frank up on his offer in the weeks following the harrowing gun battle. It’s now been three months since the murder of Ben Caspere. Ray has straight-up quit the Vinci P.D., Ani was removed from the special investigation and demoted to the evidence closet in the basement during the Internal Affairs probe into her sexual misconduct, and Paul has taken a job at an insurance company that he hates. Frank has moved out of his palatial brood-pad into a more modest Glendale brood-pad, still struggling to clamber back up to the “peak” he felt he’d achieved just before Caspere died with Frank’s money in his pocket. And all in all we’re back where we were during the premiere episode “The Western Book of the Dead“, seemingly no closer to catching Caspere’s killer.
Continue reading True Detective 2.5 – “Other Lives”