True Detective: 2.08 Omega Station
Thank god for that. If you’re looking for any positives from Season Two of True Detective then you won’t find (m)any here. And that’s not for lack of a will to see it succeed.
Seriously though, what a terrible start. The scene time-skip scene with Ray Velcoro (Colin Farrell) and Ani Bezzerides (Rachel McAdams) confessing their darkest secrets to each other while chain smoking and looking in terrible pain was bad enough, with both actors looking like they’d rather be anywhere else. And the dialogue, oh the dialogue: "People, whole cultures, wouldn't blame you."
Worse though, if you could imagine it, was the two hander with Vince Vaughn’s Frank Semyon and his wife, played by Kelly Reilly, who’s probably been the best thing about this how season. Amongst the most unconvincing acting committed to film - outside the Syfy channel - Reilly delivered the killer line of the series to Vaughn: "You can't act for shit.” Now Vince is a better actor than he gets to show in the films he chooses but this character (rather than the show) is a misstep, even for him.
At times it felt like Nic Pizzolatto has been taking the piss, most of the dialogue is written in the staccato style of a stroppy teenager, three or four word sentences, most of it not really making much sense. But the writing has been an issue throughout the year, so nothing new here. Much better was the shoot out at the lodge, one thing True Detective has mastered this year is the action set piece. That though was where the finale peaked, after that thrill there was a lot of Colin Farrell pontificating into a phone, and Vince Vaughn hallucinating. Though the Vaughn / desert scenes were strong it felt like character building that they should have been doing over the previous seven weeks.
Possibly the most disappointing thing was how obvious it all was. From early in the run it was clear that Velcoro and Semyon weren’t likely to see it through to the end. And really that sums up the show, the major plot points were blindingly obvious but the majority of the rest of the plot was hazy and ill-thought through - the perpetrator of the main crime was a character the audience saw for about 60 seconds sometime in the first couple of episodes - making it up as you go along?. A lack of audience buy-in with some of the main players (the Chessani kid, Bob Geldof, the two orphans, etc) was the real killer blow.