True Detective Season 2 Finale Review: Multiplying Corpses, Dwindling Fascination

True Detective Finale Review: Multiplying Corpses, Dwindling Fascination
Rachel McAdams (as Det. Ani Bezzerides) and Colin Farrell (as Det. Ray Velcoro) on True Detective
Lacey Terrell/HBO

08/09/2015 AT 11:20 PM EDT

True Detective Season 2 wrapped up with a 90-minute episode Sunday night, and the heart of the mystery turned out to be what theorists had been speculating online recently. Not that it was ever obvious – you'd have had to be watching very closely from the start to come up with the right conclusion.

Spoiler alert about the killer/killers.

Then again, the series didn't necessarily encourage you to pay close attention. There seemed to be hundreds of repetitive scenes in which Vince Vaughn, as a fundamentally noble mobster-businessman, tried to iron things out with his fundamentally noble wife (Kelly Reilly). If she'd been a proper femme fatale or old-school moll, that would have been different. Instead, they were Phil and Claire Dunphy making do in a rotten stinking world.

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And, even less compellingly, the final episode started with most of the cast on the lam and in hiding from one malevolent force or another. It was a surprise they were able to stir out of doors long enough to solve the thing.

That thing was an intricate yet also rather flabby story involving a murdered city official in a town called Vinci, stolen diamonds, decadent orgies, two orphans and roughly 20 to 30 other subplots.

Ultimately, it was those orphans, now grown up and not terribly stable, who were responsible for offing Ben Caspere and setting season 2 in motion. Caspere had been involved in a jewelry robbery that killed the then-children's parents during the L.A. riots in the early 1990s. But there were many other crisscrossing criminal threads spinning around this central murder, implicating a significant portion of Vinci's authorities as well as noble mobster-businessman Frank.

It was here, with these Vinci creeps exposed, that the great, dark underbelly of the whole series should have been brought to the light. But it wasn't much of an underbelly, or even an unsightly paunch. It was just the sort of knowing, violent cynicism familiar from many, many other such shows and films. The night ended with a lot of powerful people dead, but your chief impression was never the "aha" of another piece falling into place, only a certain relief that you had one less minor, confusingly defined villain to worry about.

Also: I will not miss that theme song, "Nevermind." Although it certainly sums up the season.
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