When the final curtain closed on True Detective season one, many who had followed the tale from the start, shambled down the halls of Carcosa in search of the Yellow King, and then found “the light” on the other side, likely felt a little wounded by the way it neatly wrapped up. Nihilistic Rust Cohle had broken down into a guy who just might have some thoughts for the higher power and people automatically got a sour taste in their mouth. At least that’s what it felt like when you read reactions online.
The True Detective season two memes still flowed, the praise was still there, but now there was a buzz that not all was as it seemed. Maybe this man, Nic Pizzolatto, who we held up as a genius was truly just a man after all, and his characters weren’t the pillars of television greatness, they were just characters. Good, fun characters.
I’ve written about them before on this site, in a semi-defensive look at season one and the theories surrounding it. I felt then that the show was being looked at via several odd, but very fun locations as opposed to just letting it tell its tale straight on.
That’s sort of how I feel about True Detective season two, but only in a new frame. Gone are the mystical locales of Louisiana, replaced by the sun drenched sterile underworld of California, represented by those puzzling overhead shots we love to poke fun at. Also gone is the duo, the buddy cop situation that worked well due to the actors involved and the opposing trajectories of their characters. Instead, in their place, we get four different types that viewers are trying to fit into the holes they believe should exist on the show, but they’re just not fitting.
At the end of the day, True Detective is now a show on its knees, desperately searching for the light that illuminated that final episode. And it’s having a lot of trouble finding it so far.