Oh, True Detective. True Detective, True Detective, True Detective. What are we going to do with you?
One’s undoubted quality was marred by the stock and shallow nature of
the woman characters, by the show’s unrelenting focus on manfeels and
manpain and the tortured, disoriented experience of masculinity in a
world where the traditional masculine virtues are no longer
And you actually seem to have taken note
of the criticism. So for Season Two you’ve given us a woman character
as co-lead. She’s one of the three cops whose paths converge at the end
of the first episode, and will presumably end up investigating this
season’s plot alongside (in some sense) the highway patrolman one who
can’t get his willy to go hard (at least in non-abusive situations) and
the hard-drinking, miserable, semi-criminal Colin Farrell one.
her bits of the episode are the weakest by far. By far. Noticeably weak,
melodramatic, straightforward and rubbish compared to the less-scrutable strands
concerning the other two. So jarringly crap that they almost seem to
belong to a different, inferior show. One of the bits of the Law & Order franchise, for example.
got an unsatisfactory relationship with her needy boyfriend, towards
whom she is perfunctory and cold, apparently just using him (not very
effectively) for sex. Aww, poor him. His girlfriend must have ISSUES of some kind if her primary focus in life isn't servicing his emotional and penile needs. (We meet the highway patrolman's girlfriend later. Her primary focus in life seems to be servicing his emotional and penile needs. Funnily enough, there's no indication at all that she has ISSUES of any kind... aside from pouty jealousy when he leaves her for even 8 seconds.)
Cop woman’s got a schizophrenic younger sister (we know
she’s schizophrenic via the highly original and unclunky line “have you
gone off your meds again?”) who is hostile towards her. Cop woman had to
look out for when their mother died which led to said younger sister
being rebellious towards her and going off the rails, ending up on drugs
and petty crime and porn (because, of course, no woman is a sex worker unless she has ISSUES). Wow, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything
like that on TV before.
The woman cop finds out that her rebellious
younger sister is doing porn by happening to raid the place where she
happens to be doing porn. So that’s not contrived at all.
learn of the underlying problem with Cop Woman's life, and guess what... it all
traces back to a man! Guess which man. Go on, guess. Yep, you guessed
it: Daddy. She’s got Daddy issues! Colour me fucking astonished.
You know how we find out about said daddy issues? She
goes to see her partly-estranged father during the episode as a result
of picking up a missing person case directly linked to his hippy
self-help commune. So she goes to investigate (’cos, on TV, detectives are
always allowed to investigate cases involving their own families)
and ends up having a fraught chat with Daddy... during which we learn, in
dialogue so leaden and expository that it belongs in the early scenes of
an 80s Bond film, that she holds him responsible for her mother’s
suicide (what a fucking surprise) and that she joined the police as an
act of rebellion against his hippy lifestyle (again, unprecedented in TV
It might be argued that this is his analysis of her,
and that the episode itself doesn’t necessarily back him... but it
totally fucking does. I admit, at first I thought he was meant to be a
generic and unsympathetic hippy asshole (because everyone with a
non-conventional and/or spiritual and/or anti-authority attitude in this
kind of Dick Wolf shite is always some combination of narcissist,
bullshit-artist, demagogue and cynical, self-serving fanatic) but the
episode swings with him. It tells us it’s doing so by allowing him the
last word. He gets to lecture his cop daughter about her daddy issues,
and then, when she says “help your daughter” (referring to the sister)
and storms off, he gets to say a wise and sad “I just did”.
that the rest of the episode is all that great. But the bits which (like the
entirety of Season One) involve the sympathetic and in-depth
exploration of manpain and manfeels and and the tortured, disoriented
experience of masculinity in a world where
the traditional masculine virtues are no longer zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz are
at least competently executed, and don’t look like the first draft of
someone’s first attempt at a script at film school. The woman cop gets
generic, cliched, recycled, melodramatic huffiness and prudishness and sister-problems and
daddy issues. The male cops get edgy, dark torment and poetic forays
into melancholy disillusion. It's almost like somebody gave a shit about the manfeels material but not about the girly bits. Huh.
Mind you, the Colin Farrell one got at least one line that actually made me groan.
wanted to be an astronaut when I was a kid,” he growls into a taped
message for his son, “but astronauts don’t even go the moon anymore.”
fuck off. Seriously, fuck off. Fuck off and come back so you can fuck
off again. And keep fucking off until you’ve reached the outermost
coastline of Fuckoffland and then keep fucking off so you fall off the white cliffs of Fuckoffland into the Fuckoffic Ocean.
Can we please stop getting
drama about how hard it is to be a white dude in a post-myth,
post-heroic world where white dudes are no longer allowed any dreams? About how unfair it is that the bitch ex-wife who blames you for shit that wasn't your fault meanspiritedly insists upon marrying a new guy who isn't a total wanker... and sadistically insists you pay alimony... and satanically tries to restrict your ability to bully and harangue your son?
I don’t care, okay?
I do not. Fucking. Care.