True Detective, series 2 finale, review: 'unremitting darkness'

November 8, 2017 – 05:56 pm

Confusion has reigned throughout season two of True Detective, with show-runner Nic Pizzolatto's tangled web of lost souls and portentous dialogue falling consistently short of coherent. But while the 90-minute finale was predictably foggy, leaving a multitude of loose ends, we at least learned the identity of the killer of corrupt city boss Ben Caspere – the central mystery that supposedly propelled the series.

As astute viewers may have already worked out, the murderer was Lenny, brother of Caspere's secretary Laura and son of the jeweler slain in the fateful diamond heist by which Caspere and his co-conspirators bought their way into power 20 years previously. However, the big reveal landed with a thud, as did the bombshell, tossed away almost as an afterthought, that Caspere was Laura's father.

Not only were Lenny and Laura tertiary characters seeming to exist simply to give agency to Pizzolatto's pessimistic view of human nature – Caspere himself had long ago dwindled into insignificance.True Detective's acclaimed first season revolved around the ritualistic slaughter of a prostitute literally strung up like a sacrificial lamb. Caspere, in contrast, was a typical Pizzolatto tough guy who received his just desserts. A murder mystery isn't all that engaging if the victim is both thinly sketched and repellent.

Setting aside a plot that unwittingly lampooned noir's tradition of super-dense storytelling, the chief criticism of True Detective series two has been the waxwork array of protagonists. Looking back, we can see that the real genius of Matthew McConaughey's performance in season one was his ability to imbue Pizzolatto's clunking writing with a weigthtlessness.

Sub Beckett: Colin Farrell

As mouthed by a vacant-gazed Vince Vaughn (woebegone mobster Frank Semyon) and a grunting Colin Farrell (boozed-up cop Ray Velcoro), in season two the wordplay was dead on arrival – never more so than in the finale, when Semyon was killed by stab-happy Mexican gangsters, bleeding out as he trudged through the desert chewing on a sub-Beckett monologue.

Source: www.telegraph.co.uk

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