What “Omega Station” proves more than anything else is that, without a doubt, all the rancid male posturing, unconvincing heroic cynicism, and doom-and-gloom style of True Detective Season 2 was meant to be sincere, not some calculated, drawn-out bait-and-switch type move by creator-writer Nic Pizzolatto. The entire season served as a long grumbling groan of feigned masculine agony, a 10-hour-plus fetishizing of the evil power of corruption and money in the hopes of reinforcing a perspective that purposefully only sees the worst in the world. If there were fleeting glimmers of joy, like the blooming romance between Velcoro and Bezzerides, they only seemed to ultimately underline how fucked up the world that Velcoro and Semyon left behind is, and how there’s no hope in even fighting such tremendous horrors in American society.
At nearly 90 minutes, “Omega Station” runs a predictable path to a stunningly wrong-headed end, one that might be misconstrued as a feminist touch. Indeed, the entire season seemed to hinge on the last days of man, with Velcoro and Semyon serving as symbols as the last gasps of hope for man’s redemption from a world that very much runs on nefarious enterprises: organized crime, prostitution, drugs, and arms dealing, to name just the basics. The epilogue in Venezuela would suggest that now is the time for women to take over, but as the show made it clear, the more violent and debauched corners of society have already won the day, strengthening their chokehold on Lady America. The truth is that Bezzerides, a character that never showed the slightest inclination toward maternal want or instinct, is suddenly transformed into the protective mother figure, caring for the last offspring of the Last Good Man with Jordan, after their men went off to take care of manly business with other men.
It would be one thing if Semyon had died as soon as he refused to give up his suit, as that would reflect his foolish obsession with representation and dominance, but he didn’t. That long dream state he wanders through is meant to give a sense of what he’s been fighting against his entire life, the memories that have plagued him, as if it wasn’t clear that Semyon had heavy baggage. The entire sequence smacked of a desperate attempt at finally humanizing Vince Vaughn‘s character, at the point where it mattered the absolute least, especially considering we just watched him carelessly execute some dozen-or-so men in that cabin shoot-out with Velcoro. The show’s confused and overbearing sense of moralism was an issue from the very first episode but in “Omega Station,” the attempt to conflate and conclude these ideas of what constitutes good and bad behavior became a catastrophic weakness.
You might notice that I’m focusing on the second half of the episode more than the first, and there’s a reason for that. Like every other episode of True Detective Season 2, the first half of “Omega Station” is a lot of talk about a lot of plot that had to be settled for the sake of this absurdly convoluted story. The revelation of who killed Caspere felt so flat and unimportant as to make most of the story feel flippant, unlike the revealing of The Yellow King as a unique, chilling human being with a twisted philosophy that he clearly believed in to his very core. Rather than a mystery story encasing an ambitious rumination on time and the false constructs of socially-accepted normalcy, True Detective Season 2 was all wrapped up in its suffocating atmosphere of tortured machismo, all the more infuriating in that the dialogue rambled on about the details of the case when its now clear that it essentially served as the season’s MacGuffin.
Even if one were to ignore all of Pizzolatto’s innumerable and shallow transgressions, “Omega Station” still would count as a remarkable failure in terms of technique. The entire episode seemed edited in a mad dash, not unlike the previous episode, in an attempt to give some semblance of a resolution to the sheer tonnage of story that this season felt the need to take on. Rather than rise to meet the challenges the show runners, writers, and directors needlessly set for themselves, “Omega Station” offers a grand collapse, as bad a final note to an overextended narrative as the heinous finale of Dexter. (It takes a special kind of tinny, overtly morose point of view to think that the fact that Velcoro’s son will never hear his father’s final words to him needs to be especially pointed out, as if his bloody demise in slow-motion wasn’t bad enough.) Early on in the episode, Bezzerides tells Velcoro about her sexual assault and molestation and describes her memory as “a black hole, this empty space,” and I have a hard time believing True Detective Season 2 will be remembered in any other way than that.
★ Poor — A waste of time; clear your DV-R space