‘True Detective’ Season 2, Episode 1 – The Western Book Of The Dead | TV Review
The first season of True Detective, created by crime writer Nic Pizzolatto and starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, received universal acclaim for vastly driving the detective-sub-genre down a dark route containing psychology, emotion and grizzly violence. The leads were casted perfectly, the mystery was harrowing and the themes were profoundly philosophical.
The first series was so jaw-droppingly brilliant that some people were actually apprehensively dubious when the second was announced – particularly when Colin Farrell, Rachel McAdams, Vince Vaughn and Taylor Kitsch were unveiled as the leads. The second series’ official trailer was then released, and those ominous feelings swiftly transitioned into sheer excitement. Months later, the opening episode premiered.
The second series’ premiere is a nonlinear, structure-less episode more about comprehension and absorption into the social norms and values of the leading characters – Ray Velcoro (Farrell), Ani Bezzerides (McAdams), Frank Semyon (Vaughn) and Paul Woodrugh (Kitsch) – rather than narrative. The back and forth cuts from one protagonist to the next would cause confusion and frustration to some, as there is a lot being pumped, but as the viewer begins to get the gist of what each character is about, the opening episode begins to find its flow and people will ascertain correlations between these freshly-flawed characters and those of the first season.
The premiere requires patience from its audience, because rather than rushing into the mystery, it looks for understanding of the characters first; this is very unlike the first series, which incidentally only had just two lead characters anyway. Without giving too much away, it is only in the closing scene of the episode when the mystery ignites, and when the lead characters first intertwine and join together.
There has been a lot of criticism for this opening episode, mainly stemming from people expecting too much, but also from those that were expecting a constant thrill-ride of action and life lessons. It was slow, but certainly more of a slow burner, one that was intentionally sluggish to introduce the leads and then lead towards what these leads are going to be revolving around, the horrifically violent murder mystery. As the weekly episodes pass, people will certainly begin to love this second series as they do with the first.