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Your Opinion of 'True Detective' This Season May Be Skewed by Your Opinion of Nic Pizzolatto

By Lord Castleton | True Detective | July 8, 2015 |


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Season two of True Detective is off to a talkative start, and we’ve reached the end of the episodes which were provided to critics for pre-season consumption. Where the story goes now is only known to the insiders at HBO, the and a few thousand Danish cyberjackers.

Before we begin:

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Because it really helps to know the words of a show in order to enjoy it. Otherwise…

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Whoa. That’s deep.

Episode three, ‘Maybe Tomorrow’ felt really really long to me. Maybe it’s all the ‘two stationary people chatting.’ Maybe it’s the eternal twilight. Maybe it’s the cadence of the delivery. You know how you watch a show (for me it’s Game of Thrones) and is flies by, so just as you settle in, it’s over? This felt like the opposite of that. I paused six times, two just to sigh. It felt like an ice age.

That being said, it is making some progress. Vince Vaughn’s Frank Seymon is showing us who he is via his actions instead of rodent-based mattress monologues. If you like Vince, chances are that this feels like a Vaughnissance to you. If you don’t, you probably find his acting wooden, stale and maybe a little choppy.

If you like Taylor Kitsch, you’re probably psyched about him getting more screen time and flitting those trademark Doubting Thomas eyes of his. It’s kind of his George Clooney Dr. Doug head tilt since he doesn’t have long, sweaty Tim Riggins hair to flip.

If you don’t like him you’ll probably think that he’s just kind of boring and his apparent angst over his sexual identity feels kind of tired. But then again, just because most of us don’t even blink at a gay reference, it doesn’t mean that’s not a struggle for people, even in this gay marriage a la carte honeymoon era. It’s just that it feels sooooo artificially tense. Or at least, artificially framed. Was that scene with his ex-military buddy about an atrocity or about him and the buddy hooking up? I couldn’t tell. It’s a shame, because that male prostitute in the street canvassing scene had similar hair to his hot bed-crawling girlfriend ‘Em’ and he may have been able to Ready the Highlander without medication. Alas, love makes its own rules. I just missed him saying “bein’ on the bike” this week.

If you like Colin Farrell, chances are you’re pretty pumped about what appears to be a water-drinkin’ version of Ray Velcoro that may just turn it all around before he breaks your heart by being unceremoniously shot to hell. If you’re not, maybe you can at least appreciate his Addams family makeup job. Homey was pale as hell. One Chris Traeger B-12 shot, stat!

If you like Rachel McAdams…wait, obviously you like Rachel McAdams. You’d be insane not to.

I have no idea where this killin’ bird story is headed but I’d keep an eye on this character, Lieutenant Kevin Burris if I were you. James Frain is either a sleeper cell or will be criminally wasted in this role. We’ll see how it plays out. If you put his natural acting ability in an above-ground Wal-Mart pool you could drown Taylor Kitsch a thousand times. He’s really good.

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I’m among the group that attacks True Detective creator Nic Pizzolatto like the Luftwaffe over London, and it’s because his writing is so goddamn pretentious. Because of this, you end up eye-rolling when you should truly be enjoying. Like Frank Seymon’s response when the scar waitress asked if Ray was hurt and what happened…”somebody murdered him.”

That’s a great line. If Tarantino wrote that we’d all gif the fuck out of it. Nick Frost would gorilla clap the shit out of that line. It’s good in a comic book. It’s good in a Batman movie. It’s good sitting in a bar with your friends. It’s good even as like a horrible campy line coming out of Sam Jackson’s mouth in a bad movie. So why does Pizzolatto get dinged for it? Because he’s so far up his own ass all the time. Everything is dark and broody. Doody, we call it. There’s no time to get a breath and enjoy. There’s no comic relief. There’s no up and down. There’s no awareness about his own tone in his writing. Everything is as serious as midnight. It’s all this industrial cement misery grind.

But along the way we’ve all gradually accepted his style, and that says something about how he’s imprinted himself in pop culture. So, what better way to embrace that than with his own Bingo game?

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When I was making this, I didn’t know how many Big Lebowski lounge singer dream sequences to expect so I didn’t include any. What else did I miss?

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