TV - True Detective Season 2, Episode 8


Steve Taylor-Bryant finds himself at the end of the line as he reviews Omega Station...

Strange year for True Detective. Some episodes have been the best television this year and some, whilst still good, have disappointed. Pizzolatto was always on a hiding to nothing with fans and critics alike comparing the second to the sublime first season. I've done my best not to, although some slips easily occurred, instead trying to pin my expectations on the changes rather than content. So did season two end as I'd have hoped?

I said last week that the finale would need to be feature length to wrap up every thread and characters story but instead the time seemed to be used for, well, I'm still not sure what. Paul's death was mentioned briefly and then moved on from and, somewhat inevitably, pretty much everyone dies. Ray gets gunned down in the woods as predicted by his dad a few weeks ago and, whilst we kind of saw that coming as everyone has been after Ray from the outset, the fact he was in the woods seemed to be because his dad had mentioned it and not because of any clever plot twist. His son Chad is definitely his though so there was that piece of closure although, because he's in the woods, his final message to his son never gets to its intended recipient and he dies not knowing the DNA outcome.

Frank's death at the hands of the Mexican cartel was predictable, with the almost dream like state in the desert seeming out of place for his storyline and, just as I was singing Vaughan's praises all season for intelligence in his portrayal, he reverts to type and hams it up. The only thing missing was Owen Wilson.

Ani and Jordan it appears live happily ever after on the run with a baby we are left to presume is Ray's despite the two women never having met or shared a scene in the preceding seven episodes and that wasn't even the biggest anti climax! That is reserved for the death of Caspere, the event that kicked off the entire story. It was the children from the diamond heist. That's all well and good but kind of makes the Mayor Chessani, sex party, corruption in Vinci angles we have sat through for weeks null and void and is told as a confession rather than any actual detecting which in turn makes me wonder why it's called 'True Detective' in the first place?

There were some positive things from season two. Vince Vaughan very nearly proved he could act... Nearly. Colin Farrell won me over as Ray and I would put him up there with Harrelson from season one for watchability. Rachel McAdams was sublime as Ani right up to running away with a mobster’s wife and living happily as a mother, something she had not ever said she wished to be. It's strange that Season two despite the baffling and poor finale still ranks as one of televisions better shows in 2015 which worries me about television quality after a superb 2014.

I made a lot out of my concern that Nic Pizzolatto changed too much from what was a winning formula and sadly I was right. With each different director the feel of show lost an edge than Cary Fukunaga had put into the first season but mainly Pizzolatto forgot how to write. There was some fantastic dialogue and scenes throughout episodes 1-7 with episode 6 in particular being a stunning piece of television, however none of the characters or storylines we invested in had any satisfying conclusion and too much was highly predictable. If there is to be a season 3, and hopefully a new story and not a continuation of this one which is a high possibility with the journalist now having Ani's file on corruption, then Pizzolatto needs to be given time to write it. Time to plan it to its minutely complex detail. Time to be the writer that created the show and so excellently produced season one because this felt rushed. This had all the hallmarks of a writer under pressure to reproduce something. Shame.