Nothing much to report this week. I could go into the usual filler of the week’s events, excusing the lack of movies watched with reasons of visiting guests and adventures in leaving the house, maybe drop a brief anecdote about Murphy’s latest quest to destroy my life, primarily through learning how to turn the gas hob on while I’m at work, making every day a potential fireball (we’ve fixed this problem, please don’t fear for my life any more than usual) but that’s nothing new. So instead, here’s my thoughts on True Detective Season 2, which we finished watching this past week. Spoiler warning for the end of the season.
I didn’t hate it. I’ve seen a lot of negative comments, and I can see where most of them are coming from, and I agree with a lot of it, but for the most part my feelings are positive. Here’s the thing; I didn’t flat-out love the first season. It was good, often great (that episode 4 tracking shot? Holy hell I’ve watched that like a dozen times since) but I wasn’t dying for the next one. So when season 2 rolled around my hopes weren’t as high as everyone else’s. I really dug the pilot (as each season follows new characters and plots, I’ll be thinking of the first episode each time as essentially being the pilot for that season). I liked the four separate storylines diverging around this one dead man, and I was intrigued as to how it would all pan out. Some of the characters felt a little similar, what with both Rachel McAdams’ Bezzerides and Colin Farrell’s Velcoro having problems with alcohol and Taylor Kitsch’s Woodrugh suffering from PTSD after his experiences with in the war, but over time the differences became clear and they all sorted themselves out. If anything, I could have maybe done with a little more time with their individual family and home lives, especially Bezzeredes, because if you cast David Morse as her father, I’m going to need him to be in at least half the episodes, not barely in three of them. The same goes for Fred Ward, but to a lesser extent. I also thoroughly approved of the inclusion of a criminal’s viewpoint, namely Vince Vaughn’s Frank. He and his wife (played by Kelly Reilly, who is excellent) have lost a lot of money courtesy of a guy dying in the first episode, so they’re trying to get their life back on track to survive this mess. Vaughn gets most of the best lines, although nothing ever came close to beating Farrell threatening a child who bullied his son with the promise ” If you ever bully or hurt anybody again, I’ll come back and butt fuck your father with your mom’s headless corpse on this goddamn lawn.” Shame that the script peaked in episode one, but there you go.
My main issue is the plot. I’m of the opinion that this series wasn’t about the investigation as much as it was what happens to these four main characters, but that’s because I never had any kind of idea what was going on, who any of these secondary or tertiary people were or why they were doing anything. Even after the final episode I’m still in the dark about a lot of things. There’s too many characters, too many names and locations. It’s the same problem I had with JFK recently, in that I just couldn’t keep track of it all. If I’d kept some kind of chart as I went along, or watched each episode a few times apiece then I’d probably have a better idea, but I didn’t, so I don’t. I’ve heard others says that this is the whole point, you’re supposed to go through not knowing what’s relevant, but when I’m lost with everything, I retained nothing. Like I said though, I’m OK with that, because I focussed on the characters, and I understand how they all ended up, and most of the reasons why, without needing to completely understand everything that’s going on outside of their comprehension. If they make a season three I’ll definitely give it a shot, especially because it’s likely to take a whole different turn to this one. I’d love a 40s or 50s style noir, following a Bogart-esque gumshoe, but I don’t think this is that kind of show. Alternatively, maybe something like Heat could work, following one main good guy and one main bad guy across the whole series. That’s kind of what I thought this would be, but with three detectives after Vaughn’s criminal. That might be too simple of a set-up for this show, but it’s what I’d enjoy. Whatever they do, I’d appreciate if they just used less characters overall, allowing more time to explore their lives in depth to a greater extent. What did you think of the show? Let me know in the comments!
As for movies, here’s what I watched this week: