"True Detective" The Western Book of the Dead (TV Episode 2015) Poster

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Here's my thoughts(might be spoilers)
oliverbjerregaard22 June 2015
I'm going to make this review quick and efficient!

+ Colin Farrell, Vince Vaughn and Rachel McAdams: They acted the hell out of it. Especially Colin Farrell, he's brutally good!

+/- I was not stunned by the directing. I definitely think there were moments of sheer visual brilliance (the bar with Vince and Colin / Frank and Ray) but overall, the directing were a bit rushed.

+ I liked the writing. It was slow, not as philosophical as season 1, but still it was good!

  • My only real complaint is the cutting (which might be due to the directing). The scenes were often too short. It's a shame, since we kinda lost the tension between the characters. Hopefully the scenes will be longer throughout the season, and they were rushing because they had to introduce all these new characters.

Overall it's a 9/10. I really enjoyed it. I think season 2 will be very dark and there will be some very unpleasant and brutal scenes (referring to Farrell/Ray beating up the dad in front of his son).

Detach yourself from season 1, this is season 2. Something brand new. Personally i think it's going to be an awesome ride!
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New Aesthetic
ThomasDrufke21 June 2015
It's going to be hard to top last years brilliant season of True Detective. Not only was it a fascinating crime drama, but it was a haunting look into two deteriorating detectives' lives. It's one of the great detective tales we have in any form of cinema, but I still had high hopes for this new season of True Detective. And I have to say, I like the season premiere.

We're now focused on 3 different police officers, Rachel McAdams, Taylor Kitsch, and Colin Farrell. This episode was much more focused on setting up each of our characters than giving us a jaw dropping case to begin with. But I think the fact that these 3 police officers are all from different places is going to create an interesting dynamic throughout the season. Throw in Vince Vaughn, a criminal rising in his own business, and we will likely have a unique crime drama. But even with the new approach and aesthetic, it still feels like True Detective. The opening credits, besides the song, are quite similar. And even the score is surprisingly similar to last year's. We spent most of the first episode focused on 4 different stories. I found McAdams and Farrell's stories to be the most interesting. I figure the former's family dynamic to be something to keep an eye on this season. Farrell's tendency to take it one step too far is a weakness that will no doubt come to be important for the case. So I like where the story is potentially heading.

I don't think we should expect anything special from this season, I just want to be entertained. And I think that's a reasonable expectation from a season with a cast and crew this impressive. I would just hope they don't try to do too much with the story and stick to what made the first season so impressive, great character drama.

+New approach

+Music and feel

+Sets up characters

-Kitsch's story

-Vaughn hasn't won me over just yet

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very mediocre season opener
iceroo723 June 2015
Warning: Spoilers
As one of the other reviewers pointed out this year suffered from introducing way too many characters in the first episode. The entire episode felt disjointed, choppy, and hastily patched together in an effort to get the intros out of the way. I also wanted to note that if they intended it to feel that way, to make the viewer feel "unsettled" they failed miserably and I began just waiting for the episode to end. I think they were also trying for a noir feeling with the Vince V. character but again, missed the mark. It was just a very mediocre episode and I believe a lot of the reviewers are allowing the show to rest on its season 1 laurels and willing to give it the benefit of the doubt going forward. Had this been the first episode ever for True Detective I likely wouldn't tune in again.
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Different formula and larger scale, the rustic crime thriller is still bizarrely appealing.
quincytheodore21 June 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Season two is made with the purpose of not copying the plot of the first. It presents many perspectives in the span of one hour and less philosophical undertone. Despite many characters in play in relatively short time, the material and the performance by the cast are structurally solid. Pacing is fast as it weaves more content, although I must admit, I do miss Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson exchanging banters.

The first episode deals mostly in characters' introduction by shifting between them in rapid pace. Colin Farrell as Detective Velcoro is looking strong on-screen. He embodies more of the exhausted police role than the rest, his character is volatile and definitely unfriendly. With his traumatic past, the only thing he seems to care about is his son, yet the relationship might not be healthy as his flaws are jarring. Taylor Kitsch plays Paul Woodrugh, a highway patrol. Secretive and disgruntled, he appears highly enigmatic. There's a calm air about him, not in suave manner, just eerie.

Vince Vaughn as Frank Semyon is an odd addition, he's the cloak-and-dagger type business man. The show ventures a bit to political side with him, although his past with another character seems dubiously illicit. Rachel McAdams is a wild card. Her role as Detective Ani Bezzerides is probably the one with most reality drama worthy family, with webcam adult artist as sister and religious hermit as the father. It's unclear how the chemistry between them would manifest since they haven't spent much time stuck with each other, though the performance by the major actors are definitely presentable.

For the production, it still exemplifies the quirky dusty ambiance from last season. There are plenty of high panoramic shots, mostly with cloudy and barren tone. Soundtracks of humming instrument and slow songs make for the striking sense of isolation. To its credit, the first episode packs a lot of content, although the script isn't as thought provoking as before.

Whether season will reach the prominence of the first remains to be seen, people understandably expect it to be. However, with good cast and alluring dry atmosphere, it is still an engaging crime thriller on its own right.
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Same atmosphere, new story.
secondtimesold22 June 2015
I'm not going to be one of those people that rate it based on Season 1. This is a new season so expect it to not be the same as before!

Excellent soundtrack again, dark, atmospheric. Colin Ferrel is off to a good start, his performance so far looks well invested. Vaugn seems to be out of his league here but hopefully throughout the remainder of the season he proves me wrong.

Bit of a slow start for the devil is in the details and this ride is just getting started! Hang on! The writer likes to leave clues and sometimes they are intangible. With only 1 episode watched it's hard to know where the story is headed so far but I'm looking forward to the tension being turned up.

Overall, I enjoyed the episode and I'm looking for to next week already!
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karn-llcool22 June 2015
Warning: Spoilers
"Meh". This was my first reaction as I finished watching the episode. It felt very rushed, introducing many characters with their individual plot lines right off the bat. Where is the suspense, the cinematic shots? Aerial shots of L.A's roads are not enough. We have seen them in a dozen films at least. And oh, the "creepy" soundtrack does not fit in with the retro vibe of the City of Angels either. Not if you plan to shoot the majority of the episode in daylight. But of course you cannot come to a conclusion just yet. The entire season is left and I hope that if they are not going to do a good job with the individual characters, they should cook up some real good mystery (unlike the previous season, where the story really was not the main point but rather a backdrop for the 2 detectives' personal struggles) to compensate. Or else, it's going to be another show about cops with ambiguous pasts and vices and misplaced music.
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Why this series is going into the history books
A_Different_Drummer24 June 2015
Every now and then a series comes along that breaks the mould. Breaking Bad. Buffy. Utopia (the UK version). Deadwood.

This is one for the record books.

Police procedurals are old. Really old. They pre-date TV. Sherlock Holmes was a police procedural. For all I know Roman and Greek writers did them as well. They are old.

Even the CSI series (brilliant BTW) often hailed as a breakthrough moment for the genre was merely a twist on the old formula.

I think TRUE DETECTIVE has broken new ground.

The producers have somehow melded a police story with a horror story. I base this conclusion not merely on the astonishing evolution of the story arcs in Season 1, but on the background music in this first episode of Season 2. Drum beats. Suspense.

Almost counter-intuitive. We know that not much is going to happen because this is the first episode and there are pieces on the chess board to set up, but the writers are telegraphing by the camera angles (massive and unusual wide angle shots, subliminally suggesting that the scope of the story is more than it seems) and also by the sound track, what is yet to come.

The hallmark of this series is that the pace can change -- and often does -- at a moment's notice. This is is a police tale with a pulse. Anything can happen.

The horror of course comes not from traditional monsters but rather the hidden, invisible ones. The ones you walk with on the street. The ones you greet at work. The ones that look normal on the surface but are monsters deep inside.

Historical. Great series.
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mannies8123 June 2015
Warning: Spoilers
I am only giving this premiere 4 out of 10 stars do to its lack of any excitement what so ever. Overall, I am intrigued by the plot and feel that they just needed to get this "set-up" episode out of the way. The acting all around was atrocious. Vince Vaughn is a solid actor and I do believe he can play a very serious and darker role, but he doesn't have the same on screen charm that we usually see from him. It felt forced down my throat that they were trying to portray him in an ominous and mysterious manner. Colin Farrell was near laughable in his attempt at a bad a** cop. He beat up a man because his son was being bullied, which was unnecessary to begin with, but again felt very forced to show he was tough and going through a rough patch. Rachel McAdams I just do not get at all for this role. The casting director should be fired for this one. She is anything but a tough girl cop with daddy issues. She was the least believable part of this entire episode... I don't have enough time or energy to even get into how bad Taylor Kitsch was, who's character somehow is going 120 mph on a motorcycle in pitch black and miraculously stops on a dime without falling... All of that aside, the show clearly missed its mark and has completely lost the appeal that the first season had. Maybe making this a mini series type of show was a bad decision. Last season's story line and acting were light years beyond this one's.
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True Detective is back.
Motopsycho222 June 2015
I believe first we should all agree, living up to the legendary first season is not an easy task. Season 1 was a completely original form of TV with exceptional acting and over the top screen writing. It is still very early to compare the two seasons, specially since this is an entirely new setting and story.

We were introduced to a few strong characters in this episodes that need time to grow on us and replace the two beloved detectives from season 1. The creators' unique approach to film making is back for another season. Strong acting from top class actors is most definitely back as well. Same as the first season, these actors are not TV starts but veteran Hollywood movie starts with a lot of potential for the episodes to come.

The story hasn't completely formed yet but the climactic ending promises very interesting interactions between the main characters which are mostly anti-heroes (another resemblance to the first season). We needed to see character development before diving into the mystery and I believe the writers used the first episode to do just that.

Again, it's too early to judge the show but we must keep in mind that unlike other TV series which need to prolong the same old story over and over again to sign for another season, True Detective's format allows the writers to end a story when they should and develop a fresh story for the new season.

I think with this brilliant casting and the creators' vision, we will experience an above average season worst case scenario. But I sincerely hope they can live up to the expectations and the hype and deliver us another true masterpiece.
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Almost awful
russellhart-0101926 June 2015
Terrible acting, ridiculous coincidences, poor editing, nonsensical behaviour, amateurish photography, caricature Russian businessman and hippy guru and worst of all, a total absence of drama.

In fact the only attempt at injecting some tension into the proceedings was provided by the background music which failed because it was so predictably manipulative (and dull).

It was a struggle to stay with the first episode through to the contrived ending and given the lack of any redeeming positives I look forward to season 3 when hopefully those responsible for this disaster have been replaced.
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Not that good
pbhscx1 July 2015
I managed to get through the first episode because season one was so good. But the truth is that season two is a disappointment in so many ways. In such an effort not like to be like season 1 the show is like nothing more than being different. Watching this I have to ask if the people that wrote this ever read "True Detective". Because they missed the soul of it all together. Maybe it will get better but on its' own it is a poor series. Which of the individuals in the show to I connect to or for that matter care about, none. What does the show have to draw me back. nothing.

Again I did not expect to have the same series as season one but I hoped that they could at least come up with strong characters and something that said, "Look see what we did". But I feel more like "Look we got bored or we wanted to be different so here". In season one the characters were flawed and for the most part broken. But what occurred in that time line was possible and their actions were a result of what occurred. Now I have three characters that are flawed but to ask that they are able to stay on the job by themselves without coverage from a partner is simplicity.
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Season 2 Episode 1 fails to deliver
scaredsblood22 June 2015
What is there to actually like about this first episode?

+ Farrell showing that he still has something left in the tank. The episode suffers from horrible editing (the cutting so far is horrid) and lack of pace. The only thing that makes Episode 1 not completely suck is Farrell and his role as an officer who...well let's say there were somethings that blurred the lines of Right and Wrong for him.

That's essentially it for the positives.

  • All the other actors, it's a disaster that suffers from a pretty common flaw with "sequels", that being; too many characters and not enough time. After the episode ended I found myself saying: Really? That's it?!

To go a little more in-depth, Vaughn (who has been one of my favorite actors since "Swingers") puts up some choppy dialog and even choppier acting. Everything about his character seems "forced" and unnatural. McAdams and Kitsch are just as bad but have less scenes in Episode 1 so it's not quite as glaring. McAdams reminds me of Mireille Enos's role of "Linden" from one of my favorite underrated shows "The Killing" but she (so far) pulls off a very generic version of it and all I kept thinking was how they should have gotten Enos to do this part and one of the best parts of Enos's role in that show was her ability to essentially make the audience NOT like her (one of the common complaints that show suffered from). McAdams despite her so-called "Talent" just never really sells it in the limited scenes we saw from her and by the end of the episode I felt with even more conviction that they made a mistake casting her. Kitsch...I don't even know what to say about this guy. He has the least amount of scenes in the first episode and even worse execution than McAdams. Just watching him and his limited range trying to pull of the mental turmoil his character is suppose to be going through was just like watching a child being tossed into a lake and told to "Swim". The pacing of the "story" was probably the worse it could've been and that has a lot to do with how many characters they decided to go with in this season. I give it a 5 out of 10 because even with the actors horrid dialog and performances and the horrible editing, the director still had some pretty nice visual shots and there is room for the story to develop and eventually find it's groove which is what I am hoping will happen, that factor is the only reason why I make it a 5/10 rather than something lower.
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A great season premier to begin with.
SwarupMondal22 June 2015
I had already convinced myself that it is almost impossible to surpass what was done by Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson and Nic Pizzolatto in the first season of this series. While I don't need convince myself otherwise, but I have to say that the season premier was very promising, character buildings were extraordinary,not to mention that the acting by all the actors were brilliant and there are a lot of new things to look forward to in this new season. Let's see if this season could go on a parallel quality with the first season. As for this particular episode (The season premier), it not only met my expectations but went beyond it. Hands down. And the theme song is amazing.
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goscio28 July 2015
Season Two compared to Season One is a complete disaster. Season Two compared to anything else on TV (Honey Boo Boo included) is a complete disaster. HBO flopped big time with this series. I tortured myself through 5 episodes, and that's as much nonsense as I can possibly take. There is no plot, no goals, no clearly defined motivations for the characters. What you have is a bunch of unrelated events, plenty of information which bring nothing to the story, and at the same time very little information which could move the action is some (any) direction. There's missing the basic rule of storytelling: conflict and resolution. I have an impression the series was made by a kid who got to chose random scenes from existing crime movies, and then put them together in no particular order.
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Never mind the convoluted plot, the show is still mesmerizing n aided with top notch acting again n awesome songs n solid characters.
Fella_shibby9 July 2019
The second season takes place in California n follows three detectives (Colin Farrell, Rachel McAdams n Taylor Kitsch) who r investigating the murder of a city manager. There is also a parallel investigation by a nefarious businessman (Vince Vaughn) whose life savings were stolen when the murder took place. Some may complain that it is weaker than the first cos of its convoluted plot but the psychosphere ambiance is repeated once again very well along with solid acting n both the seasons hav an eeyorish feeling. The last episode of this season is almost like a feature film n is reminiscent of Michael Mann's Heat with tension n suspense throughout. The performances n direction is top notch, there is some good amount of action but the most mesmerizing stuff about this season is the title track Nevermind by Leonard Cohen. Kelly Reilly is looking very illecebrous with her smokey eyes. This season too has dealt with the psychosphere of the elite occult n their fetishes n abnormalities. This season has awesome songs, especially Lately n Nevermind. The character development n the relationship shown is solid.
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True Cheesy Soap Opera
muttonbuster21 June 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Forget comparing it to the first season. On it's own merit, this was god awful.

Yes, The City of Bell scandal (which they are clearly trying to mimic) was complex and the corruption reached all level; but this was just silly. Of course there is the requisite Russian tycoon. Perhaps James Bond is going to be worked into the script further down the road. At any rate, the law enforcement dialogue was ridiculously convoluted to the point of it sounding as meaningless as mumblecore.

I understand they were going for law enforcement officers on the edge. However, these characters put on concrete shoes and walked right off the cliff. They were so unbelievably beat up, they might as well have had lightning striking them repeatedly.

The scene in the bar with the street artist playing that dreary song was the icing on the cake. It was like a bad student Youtube attempt at David Lynch.

Colin Farrell was perhaps worth watching. However, Rachel Mcadams and the dude playing the CHP officer were an absolute joke.
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Not an exciting premier
DrZom-77-38865621 June 2015
This first episode is very disappointing. Too many characters introduced right off the mark with too many back stories. Only in the final moment do we even come to the crime.

Look at the REAL "True Detective", the one from last year and see how it is done. Start with the crime, catch us with the crime. Make the crime the focus to start. Then slowly develop the characters over time as the crime story develops.

Last year's drama started with a creepy feeling, some kind of weird, ritual sex killer. This year's offering starts with Family Court.

Last year's drama hid for weeks any kind of background on the killing; that was part of the drama. We didn't have any idea who or why. This offering in the first episode gives us the identity of the victim and a potential explanation for his death. Maybe a red hearing, but something.

This is not rocket science. The formula for the success of last year's "True Detective" was weirdness of the crime, confounded by weirdness of the background. It immediately grabbed us.

This one starts out as an LA murder with weird cops. Sorry, it does not grab me.
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Loved it!
raggedlyhandsome21 June 2015
Warning: Spoilers
What a great premiere, oh my god. It was really slow, but I loved it. I checked how much of the episode was left, expecting like 30 minutes, and I see only 2. It was all so great! First the acting: everyone does an amazing job, especially Farrell. Characters: I loved every single one, they are all broken, maybe Semyon not as much as the others. Plot: this wasn't a plot-driven episode, it was slow, and we see the crime scene only at the end. This first episode is basically here to introduce us to the characters. Thank God the characters were amazing. For me, the last 15 minutes is when it all pays off, when they get together and it all connects. Justin Lin also does a good job, not as amazing as Fukunaga, but that was expected. Fukunaga is like a god!

All in all, I'm in! Can't wait for the next episode.
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Hard to top season 1
dlatham-6596630 July 2015
I loved season one. Southern Gothic with a very personal character study that made we want to see the murder solved and the realization that lives were being changed forever. Season two makes me feel like I am watching Chinatown II. I have no interest in who the murder is. The best part for me is the drab bar scenes, they have texture and if you look closely you may see some clues. Happy with the acting just not too much with the story or the atmosphere (directing). I find that Vince Vaughn and Colin Ferrell are stealing the show in completely different ways. I would watch a season three but I would hope that it was more like season one. In the end, I will finish this season.
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Cultural Sahara
g-163409 August 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Compared to the last season, this was complete and utter garbage. A waste of 8 hours of my life. Thanks Nic Pizzolatto.

First of all, the metaphysical touch from last season is gone and the cast is expanded. There was no need this, the series only becomes a trash detective story. Colin Farrell's rage is awful. Dying like hero under a tree? Don't make fun of people intelligence. Lack of layered dialogue that make season one are nowhere to be seen. A cultural desert one might say, fittingly as Frank Semyon perishes in the desert in the same slow and unhonorably fashion.

A red rose in the suit? Oh what an unpredictable foreshadow that it's the blood of his death. And that Velcoro-son side-story with the police emblem on the kid's table in the schoolyard going on is so ungodly tedious it's cringe-worthy.

I would rather throw sand in my eyes than watch another season of True Detective. Granted, the expectations were high, but to steep this low after the first season is baffling to say the least.

The industrial-Mexico aesthetic doesn't give at all the same feeling and is painfully underwhelming. Nic can go dig himself a grave in the desert and rest his ass there.

I've shown grace and written way too much of review if you even wanna call it that for this piece of s**t.

F**k you, Nic Pizzolatto.

(Yeah, Ad Hominem, but whatever)
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Wannabe directing
gmoujik3 July 2015
it was poor, very poor. There's standard directing, there's brilliant directing and there's make believe directing. The first episode falls under the latter category. You see schizophrenic attempts to copy things from other shows, but they don't make sense! And it's not like you're looking for things to criticize, they throw you off when you try to get immersed time and again. The sequence of shots makes you laugh. Vince Vaughn who is a decent comic actor is trying to be passed for Michael Madsen, and it just looks stupid. I look up the director and there you go - Fast & Furious, enough said. He's directed the second episode as well, so I might pick it up from the third and see if they can salvage anything from the ruins left by Lin.
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Don't even bother
dragonleighs21 June 2015
There is slow, and then there is incomprehensible. I get that this is a police show and thus a mystery of sorts. So you don't get all the clues spoon-fed to you. But last time I checked, shows like this were supposed to tell a story. This is barely coherent. If there's a story buried in all the pretentiousness, /I/ wasn't able to find it. Seems that HBO is living up to their history of their shows are either AMAZING or pure drek. This -- at least at present -- falls into the latter category. I will probably give it another look, but if it's still as incomprehensible in the second episode as this is at the first episode of the second season, it will be my last look.
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Welcome to Vinci!
lavatch15 February 2018
Warning: Spoilers
In this icebreaker episode for the second series of "True Detective," the viewer is introduced to the official insignia of the city of Vinci in California: "City of Vinci: Towards Tomorrow." But later in the program, a local cop describes it more accurately, when he identifies Vinci as "a city...supposedly."

Three police officers are the focus of the opening episode, and they all have deep-seated psychological problems. Detective Ray Velcoro (Colin Farrell) is an alcoholic and rage-ololic, who does odd jobs for the local crime boss, Frank Semyon (Vince Vaughn). In turn, Semyon has used his connections to provide Velcoro with the identity of the man who raped his wife. The rape may have resulted in the pregnancy that produced a son that Velcoro treats as his own blood, despite uncertainty about paternity.

The second detective is Antigone "Ani" Bezzerides (Rachel McAdams), who also needs anger management classes and to deal with unresolved issues with her father. With no personal life to speak of, Ani is a zealous cop with an estranged sister, Athena, working in the porn industry and her father working as a new age guru.

A third police officer, Paul Woodrugh (Taylor Kitsch) is haunted by a childhood of trauma. After being suspended after a driver he stopped claimed he had solicited sex, Woodrugh discovers by chance the deceased Ben Caspere, the Vinci City Manager, who was supposed to be the intermediary in a crooked transportation project sprearheaded by Frank Semyon, who apparently is unable to close the deal without Caspere's involvement.

The three cops meet one another for the first time over the deceased body of Ben Caspere.
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The episode ends on a higher note.. Big hopes.
daredevilcomesagain22 June 2015
First things first though many people didn't like the theme song of this year's True detective , i think it's kind of good in its own way. It gives a spooky and uncanny feel and this is what i personally expect from this show. This year's cast is absolutely brilliant. Collin Farell,Rachel McAdams and Vince Vaughn has done justice to their particular parts.But i personally believe that Collin Farell was matchless.

Giving as less spoilers as possible the story revolves around the sudden disappearance of Ben Casper. Collin is the detective that has been assigned to investigate his disappearance and what he finds in this guy's home was pretty adventurous. This particular scene reminded me of The Yellow King.

There were certain moments of brilliance where our very own Collin beats the hell out of a guy and we get to see the the anger,the complexity that his character had been going through but something stunning is yet to be seen.

The show is no doubt dark, grim and complex but not as philosophical as the first one.The show ends on a very high note..This is the particular point where i felt that something big is going to happen. Are the big guns involved in the disappearance we are going to find that out in the following episodes.
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Lots of drama but no body.
theovermuch17 August 2015
Where S01E01 started vague but intriguing this one lacks the latter and is just "weird". Instead of two main characters this one seems to have more. All characters have problems and those are immediately shown without getting to know them. This will give you a bad feeling about every one of them and want distant yourself of them.

I didn't got intrigued in any of the characters nor am I wanting to now.. This combined with quick story/characters changes which gives you very few information about the story makes it look like some sort of "The Bold and the Beautiful". Lots of drama but no body. Where season one, episode one has its mystery this episode is too vague and the characters do not get to you, not because of acting, but because of hiding too much of the story.

That being said, the last 5 minutes gave a good cliffhanger and is promising.
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