We finally have our first True Detective trailer that’s not just men (and one woman) giving men (and one woman) meaningful glances over a custom-written Lera Lynn song, and you know what that means: time for an overanalysis! To help pass the time between now and the June 21st premiere date, the Internet is going to wring every last drop of meaning it can out of the one minute of footage HBO and Nic Pizzolatto have bestowed upon us. The following is one woman’s attempt.
At just one minute, the “trailer” isn’t actually any longer than the teaser, but it does include the all-important addition of dialogue. And from newly menacing/villainous Vince Vaughn, no less! “Sometimes your worst self… is your best self” is hardly “Time is a flat circle,” but no one expected HBO to give away its most meme-worthy lines before the premiere even aired anyway.
After that, every major character gets their own obtuse, borderline-nihilistic statement. The dynamic is slightly different from last season, pitting three detectives against a clear antagonist versus two partners against an abstract, possibly supernatural evil, but Colin Farrell’s character, who at one point ominously rides an escalator wearing a giant cowboy hat, seems to be inheriting Rust Cohle’s position as in-house doomsday preacher. “My strong suspicion is we get the world we deserve,” he intones over a shot of his bloodied knuckles, because this guy isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty. Translation: the antihero clichés will remain a strong presence, fitting for a show that seems fated to become one of the last critically acclaimed entries in the “premium cable difficult men” canon.
Poor Taylor Kitsch isn’t particularly well served here, handed the least interesting line of the trailer (“This isn’t me doin’ this. This isn’t me”) only to be hauled out for an obligatory shirtless clip later on. The eye candy does appear to be oriented towards non-straight-dude viewers, though, which is certainly an improvement over Season 1.
Speaking of which: Rachel McAdams! There will doubtless be many, many thinkpieces down the road scrutinizing her and how good a job Pizzolatto did making a female character who’s not a) someone’s wife, b) a dead prostitute, or c) Ann Dowd the Inbred Incest Monster. For now, she comes off as a classic Tough Girl, hardened by her past into a champion of women — think Robin from Top of the Lake: “This girl’s gone missing, nobody cares.”
Her voiceover also introduces this season’s location-specific institutional drama: “The interior’s poisoned and suddenly worth billions, nobody cares.” Along with impressive views of the LA skyline and a massive freeway, it looks like we’re headed for some Chinatown-style stories of corruption, land, resources, and good ol’ California. It’s unclear how Vaughn fits into all this, but judging by his menacing stroll with some henchmen through an apartment complex full of families, it can’t be good.
All told, the plot and even character information doesn’t add up to much more than what we already knew. But that’s the drawback of a yearlong hype cycle that’s thankfully almost over. Just a month of playing this trailer on loop left before it starts all over again!