S2: Continues to be a solid show that is not brilliant but plays to its strengths
It is a shame that there isn't more buzz around this show, because it is certainly good enough to be worthy of more chatter. I do not think I know anyone who watches this show, and a post-watch search on Reddit for threads talking about it only produced posts with a handful of comments and only marginally more upvotes. Not to say the show is brilliant, but it is certainly solid and benefits from being pitched to its own strengths in terms of running time. This season is a bit of a change from the first, as the narrative has a different framing and is more of a mystery rather than thriller. It also has less in the way of flamboyant violence, and instead is a bit darker in terms of its subject matter and what it has to balance.
It is not wholly successful in doing this, and I think the buddy- humor and banter does not totally gel with child murder and spiritual matters. The narrative itself is equally "solid" which is to say that it engages and is satisfying, but at the same time it has a lot of convenience and simplification in there too. I've never read the source material, so I'm not sure where that comes from, but there is a lot that just slots together quickly and neatly – and a lot of it stands out by virtue of it doing so. The show has enough rough charm and character to allow the viewer to stay with it and not be put off by this, but it is still a tad off putting the way it comes together some times.
The production values are high throughout, and the leads are probably the biggest selling point. Together and individually both Purefoy and Williams are really good. Of course as a fan of The Wire, I take a lot of pleasure in seeing Williams burst into a room with a shotgun, but his character is more than this, and he works well. Beyond them the cast do well in support, but not too many make a mark regardless of the size of their character – as with the title, the show is best focused on the lead two, simply because they feed that rough charm aspect.
As with season 1, I wasn't blown away by this but at the same time enjoyed it for what it does well. It is well paced, of good length, and delivers a solid narrative with a tangible sense of heat and charm.
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