Sunday, June 21, 2015

True Detective The Western Book of the Dead (S2E1) Review: Hooked, but it’s not set yet (Spoilers).

Ever think about why we use fishing references when describing shows we like? I guess they are apt, but I'm sure many people who have used them have never actually baited and set a hook and then reeled in a fish. Random thought, but when I came up with my title my mind started wandering…..
Could anything live up to the first season of True Detective? Last year it set the bar for what a television show could be. Gripping, intense, introspective and just downright creepy. That's a mountain to live up too. The first episode this year was good, really good, but I'm not quite as sucked in as I was at the start of last year. Maybe I shouldn't compare them, and just enjoy this season for what it is. That's going to be hard to do, since it is the same show. It was good though, verging on great. The characters are interesting and the set up will have me tuning in next week.
Collin Farrell and Rachael McAdams are great in the episode and their characters are the ones I want to spend time with. We got just a taste of their backstory in the first episode. Ray and Ani, their characters, are both troubled individuals. Ray battling demons and addiction and Ani seems to be in a similar boat. Ray had some great scenes, the best being his retribution on the dad of his son's bully. It was a brutal scene, and showed how troubled this man is. Love the line "I'll come back and butt-fuck your father with your mom's headless corpse on this lawn." Ani's interaction with her father (David Morse) was a good piece of dialogue and gave good insight into her character. I liked this exchanged and hope she has more with her father. Ray and Ani are not partners, which I found a little strange. We didn't see them get together until the very end of the episode. Which leads me to my only gripe, the pace. The main murder wasn't discovered until the very end of the episode. The whole episode was just to set the scene. That's not a bad thing, but when you only have eight episodes, you would hope for some investigating of the main crime in the during episode one.
The scene leading up to murder being discovered may have been my favorite part of the episode. Taylor Kitsch character, Paul, turns off the light of his motorcycle going 100 mph. It was beautifully shot, and extremely intense. The whole episode is shot well, which isn't surprising with how well the first season was shot. Everything is tight and intimate. We feel right on top of our characters and we seem close to them. The writing builds a tension in the episode, which I think will only grow throughout the season. The only writing which didn't sit well was with Vince Vaugh's character, Frank. Some of his lines were a little cheesy, "never do anything out of hunger. Not even eating." BABY! It sounded and was delivered like a line out of swingers. I'm not buying Vaughn yet. I want him to be good, I think he can be, but this episode didn't showcase it. Hopefully the next few episodes proves why he was cast as the organized crime lead for the show.
I enjoyed the episode, and I think fans of the first season will be pleased. I don't think anything is going to live up to the first season, but this was good effort. Hopefully the pace in the next episode picks up. The intensity and drama are there, we just need the story to catch up. I'll be watching at 8 or as close to 8 as I can manage next week.
My Rating: Worthy addition to the series.

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