True Detective Season 2: An Exploration of Women’s Struggles

There are only a handful of TV series I watch (up from none for years) and True Detective is one of them.  It baffles me that so many viewers watched every episode this season, only to gripe about almost every aspect of each episode.  I’ve learned this from reading many posts on the IMDb True Detective discussion boards and a random selection of critics’ reviews.  It appears the majority of viewers were extremely disappointed by Season 2 which they faithfully watched every episode of nevertheless.

Nic Pizzolatto, the show’s creator and screenwriter, has taken a social media beating over this season.  Overall, I’ve enjoyed the entire season and am now re-watching it to pay closer attention to characters’ names and faces, plot set-ups and to further appreciate the richness and creativity of the sets.  OK, I’m also watching it to closely study Nails, who ended up becoming my favorite character in the end.

So, dear Nic Pizzolatto, I commend you for your recognition and exploration of women’s wounds and struggles during Season 2.  Men are often criticized for creating depthless, one-dimensional female characters on screen.  You made an effort to visit your female characters’ torments, as well as those of your male characters’.  Thus, a balance in explanation of every major character’s Least Favorite Life was created.

When they were married, Ray’s ex-wife, Gena, was “hurt” by a man.  Nine months later, she gave birth to their son whose paternity is not tested and revealed until the final episode.

Felicia, the owner of the Black Rose bar was “hurt” by a man who cut up her face, leaving it with very visible scars.

Jordan, Frank’s wife, reveals she had three “operations” which might have contributed to her inability to have a child with Frank.  Otherwise, her past is unspoken, except for one bedroom scene in Episode 5 while discussing adoption, she reasons to her husband that they “both could have used different parents”.

There is also wide-spread prostitution throughout the city and outskirts of Vinci.  There is an incredible amount of working-women whose stories are mostly untold, except for a brief glimpse into the live of Vera, a missing, but rescued victim who believes she wants to return to the lifestyle so she can have nice things.

Ani’s sister, Athena, briefly works as a camgirl, a performance artist, who I guess talks to and masturbates for her clients in this licensed and legal business.

Lastly, Ani, our strong female lead who, as a child, was lured by a creepy man into a van with the promise off seeing a “unicorn” in the woods.  The abduction turned into a four-day nightmare for Ani and subsequently molded her future alpha behavior.

Pizzolatto dared to examine how women are “hurt” by men, how some rise above the violence and abuse, even though still emotionally and/or physically scared, and how others remain trapped in patterns and cycles of abuse throughout their lifetimes.

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