With news finally breaking about what’s to come on True Detective‘s sophomore season, I’m filled with many thoughts, some of which are, sadly, doubts. The mystique of the first season and the location were selling points to me: the seedy underbelly of the South, the mysticism surrounding the murders, the flip flopping in time. The idea of basing the plot on The King in Yellow short stories definitely added the cool and unique factor – I felt more invested in researching the symbols and theories of this season than I have for any show in a long time, maybe since the end of Lost.
So far, what are we to expect of Season 2? First of all, instead of a winter release, we have to wait for a summer release for Season 2… at least for now. And considering the setting will be California, maybe that’s actually more fitting and appropriate. There is a pretty distinct darkness and seediness to the style of the show, which definitely fit the Louisiana location for season 1, and they’re promising a Chinatown-esque version of California. Looping in politics is also new for the show, as well as the transport system, so we’ll get a sweeping view of the darker side of sunny California. And we’re likely to avoid LA, basing the story in a fictionalized California town. It’s a little less mystical and supernatural than Season 1, but I enjoy seeing the darkness in and around Hollywood. Maybe that’s why I loved Veronica Mars and Chinatown so much, and maybe that’s why I thought LA Noire looked so damn cool when it was released. However, it looks like we’re getting a political suspense thriller, with some Satanic symbols dabbled in (supposedly the murder victim has Satanic symbols etched on him, so there you go for philosophy and religion?). And it also seems like we may have a more linear timeline to follow, since the plot is set off by the alleged murder of some key California city manager. I’m sure there will be flashbacks, but right now it doesn’t sound like playing with time is how this particular story could flow and thrive. The trick of the writing will definitely lie in how much is revealed and discussed regarding the California state politics and the transit center, and maybe the intricacies of whatever crime empire our main suspect is running. Maybe it will do for California and transit what House of Cards is doing for the White House politics, but at the onset it sounds a little less appealing to me.
As far as casting goes, I’m also very curious about Colin Farrell and Vince Vaughn as lead roles. I like the idea of expanding on the lead focuses of the story, giving us in total 3 detectives investigating the crime and unfolding corruption and 1 criminal we immediately identify and follow. So the mystery is a little deeper than a whodunit, it sounds more like a who will come out on top. Vince Vaughn is technically a lead villain – at first, I thought I couldn’t be entirely convinced about him being a detective, but knowing he has played a couple villain-ish characters before (can you say Psycho remake?), I feel a little better about his placement on the show. Colin Farrell definitely sounds like he could fit into the role of a troubled cop, a tragic hero of sorts. Throwing a female in the mix could add a little flavor, maybe something a little more pronounced than Michelle Monaghan as the Lady Macbeth of Season 1. It’d be good to see a reboot of Rachel McAdams’ serious acting career. But maybe it would’ve been better served with Elisabeth Moss. Taylor Kitsch is definitely a new wild card, but he’s probably the one I’m least worried about since I was so taken by his performance in The Normal Heart.
My biggest suspicion for the characters, aside from supposedly splitting up the mystery to follow three separate cops angling at the murder in their own branches of the police or whatever, is knowing who our “bad guy” is right away. I don’t know what to expect of Vince Vaughn’s role as a “career criminal” whose empire is threatened by the death of his business partner. In season 1, they only tossed in the suspicion that Rust was the murderer in the middle of the season, and dispelled it to continue on with the story. We didn’t drag out this whole thing of having suspicions about someone involved in crime right away. Will that work? Will it be intriguing? Is Vince Vaughn the key to greater conspiracies that even he may not know about? The faux bad guy thing has to be written well, especially since we’ve been asked to empathize with so many male antiheroes anyway in television (Tony Soprano, Walter White, Nucky, etc. etc.). I trust Nic Pizzolatto understands this, but hopefully the hype and the pressure don’t weaken this rather complex storyline. At least he’s been heavily researching the topic.
I’m definitely still interested in seeing what will unfold. There’s going to be a bit of a shock knowing the style will be slightly different due to the location – I’m so curious about all the tiny details, like what will the show open look like, and what will the music be like. The first season was well packaged to give you a vibe, and that vibe is going to be so drastically different for season 2. I guess I’m afraid the intrigue will disappear in a sophomore slump. Until then, I’ll just hold in my heart what season 1 was: a testament to strong writing of the characters, and this infectious mysticism that I wanted to unfold and unpack and theorize like a nerd.