Here’s my method for watching season #2 of True Detective, which has worked pretty well so far. (1) Watch latest episode on Sunday evening — absorb some of it while multi-tasking, get distracted, play with cats, write emails, surf Twitter on iPhone 6 Plus, keep watching sporadically, try to discern some of the dialogue. (2) Re-watch latest episode via HBO Go, but this time with headphones — it’s during this key second viewing that I watch and listen really carefully, and yet each week I still miss two or three of the plot points. (3) Go to Wikipedia’s True Detective season #2 plot summary page, and read summary of latest episode twice, take mental notes, do searches for this or that character (who’s Vera again? Vince Vaughn will be okay if he can get his hands on a certain hard drive?), re-read it a third time. (4) Go back to HBO Go and watch latest episode a third time. (5) Read five or six negative web reviews (which naturally include plot summaries — they sometimes reveal a stray thread or two that Wikipedia has missed). The more negative, the better. Like this one, for example, by Business Insider‘s Joshua Rivera. I’m staying with the show until the end, of course, particularly given the much-written-about, Eyes Wide Shut-style orgy scene that may happen next weekend. I’ll tell you this much — if it weren’t for the option to endlessly re-watch episodes and study the plot summaries and whatnot, I would be totally lost at sea. I have a fairly comprehensive idea of what’s been going on so far, but I don’t care all that much. Nobody does. Nobody likes this show but they’re watching it anyway.
Incidentally: I’ve never read James Ellroy‘s “The Big Nowhere” but there are allegedly many similarities between this 1998 novel and True Detective‘s second season. The similarities were explored nine days ago on this Reddit page.