True Detective Season 2 Premiere Review


  • I try not to do episodic reviews of shows because I don’t watch a ton of shows that air week-to-week, I prefer the binge-style format, and when I do, I’m usually proven wrong.
    • Full Season 5 of Walking Dead Review will be up soon…
  • But True Detective is the show, okay.
  • If you guys don’t know how much I love True Detective, check out my Review of Season 1 here first of all. And when it comes to single seasons of television, the two I currently hail as the greatest single seasons of all time, the ones I reference in prayer to the TV gods are Breaking Bad Season 5 and True Detective Season 1.
  • I loved the first season of True Detective so much that I literally lent my DVD of it to my English teacher! (Who also loved it.)
  • Therefore, going in, I wasn’t expecting Season 2 to be nearly as good but this first episode was very decent overall.


  • So True Detective is a show on HBO that began airing last year in Season 1 with Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson.
  • But it’s an anthology style show, so Season 2 has a brand new cast and a brand new case to be solved.
  • Among that new cast is Colin Farrell, Rachel McAdams, Taylor Kitsch, and Vince Vaughn.
  • And this first episode is mainly setting up these characters for the rest of the season, not dealing too much with the case.
  • And even though I won’t be including too many spoilers, I’m gonna issue an official SPOILER WARNING.
  • So if you haven’t seen this episode, feel free to check it out, I do recommend it, then come back and read the rest!

Cast and Characters

  • So the Cast and Characters is ultimately what made Season 1 of True Detective work so well. Granted the writing, direction, and everything else was still brilliant but if I had to choose the cast was probably my favorite part.
  • And there were rumors forever going around about who would be in Season 2 of this show.
  • I remember Jessica Chastain and Brad Pitt, I think were the two most mentioned ones (mostly the first of the two)?
  • And when Colin Farrell was announced I was like, okay.
  • I hadn’t seen him in a ton before but from what I had seen, I knew he had a very dramatic side to him, and a role in this show could suit him well.
  • And he was the main focus of this episode. Granted, the episode tackles all of the characters but ultimately he is the one you walk away remembering.
  • His home life is terrible, his family has gone through crap, he’s a morally conflicted guy.
  • They kind of just talk about his backstory, though I think in the next few episodes it would be cool to do more flashbacks and see him in the past a little bit.
    • The scene where he kicked the crap out of that kid’s dad too… Jeez man, scary stuff.
  • And even more so than that character is his relationship with Vince Vaughn’s character, a mob boss named Frank Semyon.
  • When I first heard Vince Vaughn was cast in this show I got so nervous for Season 2.
  • “He could have a dark side to him,” I thought, “but let’s see it…”
  • And he was good in this role. A lot of people loved him, I didn’t think he was that phenomenal but was a very functional player.
  • I liked that he isn’t necessary the villain either, but is more of a seedy, shady guy who needs to get stuff done.
  • Good job writing team.
  • And speaking of writing the characters well, my favorite so far is probably Rachel McAdams’ character.
  • Her character didn’t necessary portray the darkness or layers of Colin Farrell just yet, but her character has had the most full arc so far and has a lot to dive into going forward, I’m really interested in seeing where they go with her.
  • Her casting was the one I was happiest with too, I knew she had that dark edge to her and would be a really sweet addition to this show.
  • Taylor Kitsch was a guy I was happy in his initial casting too, but his character just didn’t give me much in this episode.
  • Granted, that’s the negative with just reviewing a Premiere episode but he was the character who I feel like they worked with the least.
  • You see the hints of where they’ll go with him, but as for this episode alone it didn’t feel like his character was that deep or developed just yet.
  • And there was an onslaught of supporting characters, some of whom felt unnecessary.
  • A lot of them were useful sure, but there were points where you didn’t need to include certain characters.
  • And that brings me to my flaw with this episode: the writing.


  • In True Detective Season 1, each episode was about 55 or 56 minutes.
  • That created this long and slow pace to the show that was extremely artistic and made it feel like each episode was a 55 or 56 minute movie, and by the end of it you had watched a 450 minute movie.
  • This episode was 60 or 61 minutes, and despite it only being a few minutes, the episode felt fatty.
  • It was almost like the HBO executives said, “hey, everybody loved Season 1 so give them a super long experience to open up Season 2!”
  • That probably didn’t happen, but there was a lot going on, especially with Vince Vaughn’s character in the middle, that felt like it could have been held back for episode two.
  • The dialogue between characters was solid, though there were considerably more cheesy one-liners in this episode than we had in last season.
  • Not to mention, like I said, Taylor Kitsch’s character didn’t feel super developed yet which I’m sure they’ll do more of.
  • And the episode as a whole didn’t really introduce the main problem of the season until the last two or three minutes.
  • Season 1 was so artistic because it was genius in crafting the characters and plot simultaneously, and making you question which you were more invested in, the answer being both.
  • This episode felt very character heavy but not too plot-oriented so far, so I’d like to see the characters grow with the conflict in the next few episodes.


  • I thought the direction of this episode was done really well also.
  • I really liked the show’s move to L.A. and how it felt much bigger and increased the stakes immediately.
  • Justin Lin did a really great job of crafting the shots of the city, and doing cuts between characters and really separating this from the style of Season 1, which really was a necessity going in.
  • I’m looking forward to seeing how his style impacts the rest of the show too, and I really hope they get a big name director like Christopher Nolan, David Fincher, or Darren Aronofsky to make Season 3. That would be exquisite.

In Conclusion

  • In Conclusion, I’ve been comparing this episode a lot to Season 1 which isn’t really fair.
  • Overall, this episode intrigued me a lot, the characters they set up were really fascinating, the direction was done very well, but the writing was a little off-beat so far, and they could cut back on the supporting cast in favor of rounding out those leads even more so.
  • I knew that this episode wouldn’t be as good as the premiere to Season 1, but it was a very solid start to the season and I’m definitely interested in seeing where it goes from here.
  • I will say the True Detective Season 2 Premiere is a really, really good time and totally worth checking out.
  • Would you guys want me to Review this season episode-by-episode?
  • Since I’m not in school I’d have time to do it, unlike Better Call Saul or The Walking Dead.
  • And it’s a show that I’ll make a priority to watch the day after each episode comes out (cuz no HBO) and get a review up of each time.
  • I’ll tinker with that idea…


So there are my thoughts on the Season 2 Premiere of True Detective! But what did you guys think of this episode, and who’s your favorite of the characters introduced so far? Let me know in the comments down below, and as always, thanks for reading guys.

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