I can’t say much about True Detective Season II without giving spoilers, and what I’m going to say will probably constitute spoilers anyway. Just to get that out of the way.

The cast were fantastic. This wasn’t a copy of the first series, it wasn’t a rerun of the buddy story between Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey. That was a slow, atmospheric thriller, with a load of sidelines to get lost in. This new series (which finished last summer but I have only just watched) was a real tureen of plots, which included the Russian mafia, the Mexicans, bent cops (of the U.S. variety), club owners trying to make a living, and high-end sex parties, not to mention land deals and government corruption. To summarise: there was a lot going on.

It was difficult to keep up with the plot in some instances, but I think this might have been due to the script being butchered during the making of the show. There are a couple of instances, such as the “who is Stan?” furore, and the sudden revelation in the penultimate episode that Ani Bezzerides was abducted as a young girl and held against her will for four days. It has no bearing on the show, and the plot, as far as I can see; she has already confronted her father and the permissive society he facilitated; this seemed like some kind of unnecessary afterthought.

Having said all of that, I enjoyed the series. The story showed the seedy underside of a (it seemed to me) West Coast city, which was quite different to the redneck, hicksville atmosphere of the first series. Vince Vaughn, even as an ultimately corrupt and morally absent club owner, was a likeable character with his own version of integrity. He seems like he would have done okay in an episode of “Hustle“. His wife was the beautiful Kelly Reilly, who really came into her own towards the end of the series.

Ultimately, however, the series ended in disappointment. In the “real world” where these sort of things happen, good never triumphs, because the good actors (and by that, I mean the forces on the side of “good”, who we are supposed to empathise with during the show) are never prepared to sink to the levels of the baddies.

The show is nihilistic in the extreme; mostly everybody dies, and nobody escapes unaffected. However, having said that, I would watch the show again. It is beautifully paced, the layers of humanity are slowly stripped away from the participants, and the end seems to approach inexorably and unavoidably. Despite the fact that some of the characters are trying to escape their situation, their failure to do so seems fated.

It is well worth watching and I would recommend it – if you haven’t already. But be prepared for  a bit of a downer at the end.


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