True Detective: so what did I miss?


Ok a bit of a confession …..I got behind with True Detective this season and am mulling whether or not to go back.

I saw about 3 episodes and they didn’t grab me that much. I kept waiting for the show to take off. That’s after Season 1 being my favourite new show of 2014.

From what I have noticed in other media, I was not alone in my disappointment.

With so much content beckoning (and especially given the anthology format of the series) finding the time to go back for 5 more episodes or so is a big ask. And to what end?

Here’s what others have been saying about the season and finale:

I come here not to bury True Detective season 2. It did a good enough job of that by itself. The season ended much as it began, in a purple-prose haze of portent, masculine agony and confusion. It had too much plot and too little story; its murder mystery was so convoluted and foggy that, paradoxically, the show felt formless, like a string of long, unrelated audition monologues one after another.

Digital Spy:
True Detective’s characters this year were as impenetrable as the dialogue they were being forced to spout – the feeling was that HBO, buoyed by last year’s success, had let Pizzolatto off the leash and allowed the worst qualities of his writing to come to the fore.

At the beginning of the season, when critics consummately kneecapped the first few episodes, I wanted to give the show time to find itself, or perhaps forgive a misfire season as the cost of investing in an anthology show. There’s been a criticism battle about True Detective as novelistic television and whether or not to judge it before the whole season had concluded. Now that it’s over, it’s easy to say this story was a bust.

What went wrong? We’ll find out eventually, the Internet being what it is, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the culprits weren’t ego and time: Too much ego, not enough time. In the aftermath of season one’s success (deserved, I’d say), Pizzolatto, a literary fiction writer by trade, became an overnight wunderkind showrunner philosopher-king. He parted ways with season one’s sole director, Cary Fukunaga, and hired a bomber crew of guest directors (including Justin Lin, who helmed the first four).

​Season two of True Detective came to an end last night, in a way that was at least consistent with the rest of the show to that point: It made very little sense. Nobody can explain it. The solution to the whodunit was not only banal but also predictable and had only a mild connection to the rest of the plot. The action was separate from the cause of the murder—the basic definition of a failed murder mystery. The murders were identified within the first twenty minutes, too, a way of acknowledging that the murder was totally tangential and that we should all just forget about it.

Season 2 of HBO’s pop culture phenom True Detective has been called baffling, misguided, even disappointing, with the maze of storylines found confusing by many. The network’s president of programming Michael Lombardo last week asked everyone to reserve judgment until after the season ends. “I think the show works, I’m enormously proud of it,” he said at TCA last Thursday. “I think you need to watch the entirety of it. I have, and I think it’s enormously satisfying, I think the (season finale) is as satisfying as any show I’ve seen.”

So what do you reckon? Go back or skip it?

Think I just answered my own question.


  1. Give it a shot. Plot was difficult to follow, I thought, but the acting was great, characters fascinating and I had no problem at all with the dialogue and am rather haunted by the ending.

  2. Wouldn’t bother, David.

    Gave it away after Ep3. Simply wasn’t interested enough in what was going on to care … and I’m normally a massive fan of this type of slow-moving, convoluted, film-noir style crime drama. Disappointing fail for me.

  3. I thought it was okay. The ending was a lot bleaker than the first season finale. A few unexpected twists in the end. Season one was better but season two is still better than most summer TV

  4. I really liked it. All four leads did a decent job.
    Continually comparing S2 to S1 will always leave you disappointed as expectations rarely are met.
    Attention to characters and plot were important in first few eps to really get on board, otherwise it became a little disjoined.

  5. Shame, after Season 1 I was really looking forward to this 2nd season. But was already disappointed with the main actors from a start. I watched the first 3 eps. Could not make head or tail of it. Lost interest. There are so few good quality shows at the moment, that bring something fresh and new.
    (f.ex. ‘Rectify’, ‘Glue’, ‘Glitch’, – but they are all short series and/or already finished).

  6. Dialogue was cliched rubbish with little context. all for show and no substance. Vaughn was like watching Gumby, the same ‘serious’ expression on his face and constant raised brow you could be mistaken for thinking he was clay animation, he was that out of his depth Gumby probably could have done a better job. How anyone who actually read the script couldn’t see a trainwreck i’ll never know. If you strip out the rubbish, at it’s heart was a very simple and well worn story line that has been done much better before. It is to Chinatown what Sharknado is to Jaws.

  7. The S2 plot isn’t convoluted or hard to follow. It’s logical and no more complicated than the Rockford Files. And unlike S1, it isn’t a just a trick played on the audience. The acting is very good, the dialogue is mostly good, noir stuff. All the characters are well drawn and the acting is terrific. Though there were technical problems with Farrel’s delivery in early eps (even the CC people gave up and just put (inaudible) in a lot of time). If Rolling Stone don’t understand Frank’s actions at the end, then they weren’t paying attention to the previous 8 episodes which set out his character and motivations in great detail, and made it inevitable tragedy.

    S2 is just detailed, methodical and slow moving neo-noir. Something you have to sit down and pay attention to. It wasn’t fast moving, flashy and full of gimmicks and conceits like S1, but S1 couldn’t be done again, it was a…

  8. I thought it was really very very good .. Some of the dialogue was woeful and but the acting and the imagery was stunning – and also the sound track. I think it suffered from being seen as a follow up to season 1 which was definitely better .. This was different which isn’t necessarily a bad thing .. Hopefully We can be Heros can keep up the Monday quality

  9. I will throw True Detective season 2 some love. Yes it was not as good as S1, but it was hardly as bad as the negative reviews make it out to be. I think the issue with season 2 was so many people compare it to S1 but I think as a stand alone piece S2 was a well written piece, perhaps without the bells and whistles of S1. It will be very interesting to see how another anthology series (Fargo S2) fares after all, Season 1 of it, like True Detective was seen in a very high regard.

  10. You sure did. Check out Rolling Stone – pretty much nails it.
    Rushing into second seasons can be a bad idea.

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