By Mikhail Karadimov June 22nd, 2015
That’s the only word I can think of after watching the season two pilot—(I refuse to associate this dismal failure with my favorite show of all time by calling it a premiere)—of “True Detective”. I don’t even know what to say. Because I don’t know what the fuck this pilot is about. Nor do I care. Nic Pizzolatto seems to have forgotten what made the original True Detective so special, what elevated it above the mountainous dung heap of all other cop dramas:
People complained all season long last year that the plot left them dissatisfied, that it never stacked up to the show’s lead performances or palpable atmosphere. Well…plot was never the point. What hooked me in season OG was the interplay between Marty and Rusty. And sure, the rest of it was great, too—the mythology, the Bayou, the whacky philosophy, the meta-physical interaction between the show’s mystery and its audience’s post-post-modernist penchant for scrutinizing and dissecting and seeking absolute truth in every last detail—but it was the relationship that powered the show’s focal thrust.
Season two blazes through its rolodex of characters in less than 30-minutes with slapdash origins and pop psychology. We learned about Rusty’s tragic past piecemeal, through gradual revelations, through stray murmurs and behavioral cues. In season two—in mere seconds—we find out that corrupt cop Ray Velcoro (Colin Farrell) is in the midst of a harrying divorce while simultaneously fighting for custody of a child who may or may not be—but most definitely isn’t, because…well…the world he occupies is cataclysmically (and unrealistically) hopeless, so hopeless that Pizzolatto had to create an entire fake town to cater to his vapid claim to nihilism—the product of a rape that occurred while Ray was still with his ex.
Boom! Boom! Boom! Like a hammered nail to the cranium!
YOU GET IT?! I’M A VERY, VERY SERIOUS AND DARK SHOW!
So serious. So so so serious. To the point of self-parody. Not a single shred of humor. Even season OG was aware of the preposterous—and pretentious—length of tightrope it had before it. A fine balancing act. Matthew McConaughey’s Rusty Cohle spews endless streams of cartoonishly hyperbolic existentialisms that—gone unchecked—could have easily grated me to the bone. But Pizzolatto had the good sense to offset Rusty’s cosmic “realism” with Marty Hart’s faux “Joe Six Pack” routine. Marty doubled as a conduit in which the audience was allowed to air their own grievances at Pizzolatto’s affected style of dialogue. It was a perfect pairing further fueled by a decades-long off-camera friendship that McConaughey and Harrelson leveraged into a wildly combustible dynamic that none of the new cast is capable of recreating. The only thing this new stable of HOLLYWOOD! actors has in common are their ponderous glares.
I dare anyone who reads this post to watch this scene from season OG, episode one, and point out to me a scene—a moment, a sliver, a momentary fucking beat—from season two’s pilot that’s remotely as nuanced, as funny, as atmospheric, as well acted, as engaging, as SINGULAR. Just one fucking second.
I think it’s safe to say that I won’t be finishing season two of “True Detective”.
Anyway, I’ve wasted enough words. I’m done writing about this.