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Written by / 2/04/2016 / No comments / , , , ,

GLIMPSE INTO TRUE DETECTIVE SEASON TWO

Colin Farrell in a "majestyk" shot in the maligned but powerful and underrated TRUE DETECTIVE SEASON 2
We won't go into full detail, or provide spoilers or delve into so many plot-lines derived from an odyssey that fans of the first TRUE DETECTIVE, Season One, might want to check out: the second of that original journey wherein Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson played two (true, as in, realistically intense and not so fictional-seeming) Texas detectives brought into a deep dark purgatory that Matthew's deeper, darker character is, compared to Harrelson's more regular religion-based though far from flawless Texan, is perfectly suited. The duo made for a cop team-up like no other. And like any BREAKING BAD style shows, it's like watching one long movie as opposed to a series, cable or otherwise.

Forget Norman Bates, he works this one
And in TRUE DETECTIVE Season 2, an HBO franchise which, like AMERICAN HORROR STORY but with a whole new cast each time, has a completely different tale; this one taking place in what the purgatory's original rural Texas composed yet now in a non science-fiction BLADE RUNNER-looking Hell centering on thankless lead Colin Ferrell as a cop more inwardly-tortured than even McConaughey was... That is, Farrell doesn't enjoy his pain and suffering by turning it into proud Atheistic diatribes, but, while basically "stalking" his estranged son, overindulges on drugs and booze like he's swallowing poisonous razor blades...

And to give an "off the beaten path" perspective that will only make sense to cult film fans partial to this kind of nostalgic site, the seasons are like comparing two early Jack Nicholson vehicles: his arguably best performance in THE LAST DETAIL that was completely character-driven to the more complicated CHINATOWN where the character is driven by all the plots and mazes that, concerning Season 2, exists in a more busy yet still rural-minded California town, seeming like post-Apocalyptic ruins sans the Apocalypse, and where the suburbs, slums or million dollar casinos are one in the same: blur your eyes and you can almost see dark-red volcanic ooze seeping from every grungy location. And now, onto the characters...

No Money, Baby
Vince Vaughn plays an ex-gangster who lost his money (due to a murdered criminal, the McGuffin of the entire series) and returns to being crooked to get it back, and the show makes use of his leering eyes and the fact he's taller than most leading men out there, which is missed when frolicking within his usual comedic throwaway films. He's an ambiguous anti-hero epitomizing the Neo Noir template like no other character seen in years while his violent past, rearing back within a tense vibe as the season's urgency mounts, is shown more clearly in his expressions than the often sudden GOODFELLAS style "beating to a pulp" physical tantrums, that, of course, are only taken-out on vermin who deserve it.

Part of the opening credits
Much of the plot (unlike the easier to follow original) is, right from the start, convoluted and unfocused. And while the overall season turns pretty fantastic, it would still need a second viewing to really understand the whole thing... that is, after a year or two, since there's just so much to take. Rachel McAdams is the Woody Harrelson/partner to Farrell's tortured lead... of course, at a certain point, she has a bit more to offer than brooding conversation. Plus, she does a good job balancing the show's overall testosterone-heavy platform; although a story concerning her hippie/guru father (David Morse) is completely uninteresting... Her best scenes consist within her own existential personality; a genuine independent reluctantly working with others. So while Season One starts out simple and winds up complicated, Two begins dizzying and disoriented only to finish like an old school Western of sorts.

A worthy tough ingenue
A particular lounge singer in one of Vaughn's dives, providing a melancholy Roman Chorus throughout, as well as a somewhat annoying Johnny Cash wannabe opening credit song, delves a bit into hipster, navel-gazing territory. And yet, on the outskirts of the leading trio, and most likely cast for younger viewers, JOHN CARTER sex symbol Taylor Kitsch, as a former CHP officer who seems like a patsy from the very start, is a breath of fresh air despite often breathing-in an even heavier amount from a somewhat peripheral (and often neglected) side-story... yet his significance adds an element that kept the original season contained within only two to three main characters. Of course, given the talent of those actors, it's not a bad thing. But the S2 canvas has far more color this time, and Kitsch fares beyond the Millennial "kitsch" that might be assumed was his reason for co-starring all along.

So then exactly who...
TRUE DETECTIVE 2 is definitely worth binging on, and that's after the first couple episodes where everything's thrown into a complicated pot that fails to sizzle, perhaps intentionally allowing the viewer to catch up to what no one's really aware of, yet. And much later on, there's a woodsy semi-climax reminiscent of MR MAJESTYK; a cool cameo with veteran actor Fred Ward as Farrell's ex-cop dad; and even a Han Solo and Greedo original STAR WARS sit-down/standoff (guns under table) between the two male leads: polar opposites that have nothing in common, and, unlike Matt and Woody, these guys really shouldn't be in any situation together; although they spend most of the time within their own stories blanketed by the same plot-line.

Really shot first?
It didn't take but ten minutes until the pure addiction of SEASON 1 encroached your complete attention like the best of cable binge morphine, whose stars are still the executive producers as you can feel their moody, rural persona throughout... not in the picture yet just beyond the frame... and God knows what's next, but overall, TRUE DETECTIVE is an extraordinary series for those who thought they've seen everything, and so far, each season shares a few similarities: including a pivotal bombastic shootout all in vain and, at one point, near the end, after the initial case is seemingly solved and the medals are about to be handed out, it's time to, upon crossing the finish line a bit too breezily after having just realized they've been following a red-herring the size of a great white shark, take that extra mile, delving deeper into the clutches of Hell-on-Earth, where "demons" not only come out of the woodwork, but, with very little difference between Good and Evil, there's simply no place for the word "verses" aka "vs" since all these Lost Souls are either being sold, have already been sold, or have no other place to exist while we're just there to experience the auction.

SEASON ONE RATING: ****
SEASON TWO RATING: ****1/2
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