Why the 'True Detective' Season 2 Premiere Was So Hard to Watch

by Alex Ungerman 2:27 PM PDT, June 22, 2015
Photo: HBO

Ohhh, this is so difficult.

True Detective's unbelievable first season starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson ensured that our anticipation for the new, unconnected season with Vince Vaughn, Rachel McAdams, Taylor Kitsch, and Colin Farrell would be incredibly high, and ultimately, very hard to pay off.

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And while the series' follow-up does look poised to reveal itself in a very satisfying way, there were just 6 things we couldn't get over when watching the premiere. Such as...


1. Is it too late to change the opening credits' song?

WHAT HAPPENED?! Handsome Family's "Far From Any Road" was so perfect at getting you pumped for each and every episode of True Detective's first season. Meanwhile, this season's song  -- Leonard Cohen's "Nevermind" -- just sounds like the sound guy left it on by accident.

The true tragedy is that HBO had a perfectly good song to use -- which appeared in the teaser for the show:

That's a great choice!! Why not use that song? However, it's not 'til you get past the opening credits that you very quickly notice...

2. The McConabsence

We get it. Matthew McConaughey is gone. And HBO is actually back with a really great cast for the new season.

But there's some lines only McConaughey can deliver.

Lines that sound completely insane when anyone else says them.

So when Vaughn rattles off a line like, "Never do anything out of hunger. Not even eating," it not only just doesn't work, but actively reminds you that McConaughey is not there to make it sound like cryptic wisdom.

Another thing that reminds us how far we are from the first season is...

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3. The location shots are just soooo L.A.

Bye, bye bayou.

True Detective is set in the fictional Los Angeles suburb, Vinci, and while the real-life town that it is based on, Vernon, Calif., does have a storied history of corruption that promises to make for really compelling plot lines, the location shots just don't have as much effect.

There are only so many different angles of the same industrial complex we can take. And panning across the freeway a hundred times doesn't clear up...

4. What is even happening?

Last season, True Detective started with two detectives, working on one case. It branched out from there to be something much more complex, but that's where it started.

The first episode of TD2 blows that formula out of the water, introducing four major characters with detailed backstories, that have almost no interaction with each other at all. Here's who we are supposed to keep up with.

Frank Seymon (Vaughn) is some sort of mob guy trying to go clean.

Ray Velcoro (Farrell) is a father and detective who tries to drink all the alcohol in the world when he's not threatening children and beating up their dads.

Ani Bezzerides (McAdams) is a police officer who appears to have no trouble organizing entire SWAT stings just to terrorize her father and sister.

Paul Woodrugh (Kitsch) is the highway patrolman who briefly takes us out of the story while we remember 'Oh yeah! He was in Friday Night Lights!' He's also the one who discovers missing City Planner Frank Caspere's body, FINALLY bringing all these players together in the final moments of the episode.

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And after meeting the whole bunch, we have to ask...

5. Is everybody terrible?

Four seemingly bad people and a dead city manager who had perhaps the creepiest apartment we've ever seen. Just wondering who to root for, here.

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6. You don't down a handle of top shelf Scotch and then successfully drive to the crime scene.

You either (1) vomit immediately, (2) die forever, or (3) both.

Farrell's character manages the feat after mainlining Black Label Johnnie Walker.

So yeah, it was a tough premiere. That being said... we have to know what happens and we'll see you next week.

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