Coming on the heels of its majestic, Gothic and subtly supernatural debut season, the sophomore year of HBO's True Detective was met with eager disdain by many TV critics and quick-to-finger-point viewers. Which is a shame, because this second season, when looked at as a whole, eclipses the first season with its raw power, carnality and searing depiction of inner turmoil. Where the first season miraculously finds its two protagonists surviving horrific hatchet and stab wounds (and only to have them to gaze up at the stars outside of a hospital), this new season follows its lead characters down their individual doomed highways; the passages to their fate.
The inspiration behind my latest VIDEO ESSAY Pathways and Pathos: The Internalization of TRUE DETECTIVE Season 2 comes from the second season's successful depiction of the physical streets and highways (i.e. pathways) of the fictional city of Vinci as being living, breathing, pulsating veins of some grand metropolis organ--one that is juxtaposed against the inability of each of its (anti)heroes' internal quest to find some sort of meaning, purpose, forgiveness, power or redemption in their continually dismal plights. It's unusual for such a simple foil of imagery--the macro of the aerial highway shots vs. the micro of the close-ups of anguish on the actors' faces--to not lose power over the course of a season of television and yet True Detective: Season 2 did just that. And it didn't end with a whimper either.
This series will find its true appreciation in the years to come, as viewers revisit it and soak in its vitality.