Literally everything that happened on the second season of True Detective was a red herring — something that seemed meaningful but instead, was meaningless. Something that not only appears true of life in general, but also the first five seasons of the hit teen slasher/mystery/counter culture fashion series, Pretty Little Liars.
In fact, the stupidest thing that you can do when starting a new episode of Pretty Little Liars or True Detective is attempt to remember any information from the preceding episode. These are modern noir serials designed to frustrate — the plot is too complex to understand, and if you understood it, it wouldn't be rewarding. When all you remember is the gist — cryptic, threatening text messages; shadowy figures watching each other through windows; ombre hairstyles from 2010 — it's easy for the two inexplicably addicting shows to start to blend together.
Where did you see that mysterious figure in a bird mask?
When did you watch a very handsome crazy person put on a gas mask for no reason?
What lairs have you been inside?
The arguments for True Detective being a less satisfying Pretty Little Liars are as follows:
Four people with little-to-nothing in common try to untangle a sprawling conspiracy of which they are the totally nonsensical center. While doing so, they commit crimes.
A person gets blackmailed via text.
There are masks, black hoodies, and large hats, which are interchangeable as far as how well they apparently disguise people.
Some of the conflict is predicated on a flash drive, and who has it and what's on it and whether or not the information therein will end up on "the Cloud."
Eerie folk music.
Sex for no reason.
Woefully incomplete examinations of the root of evil.
Woefully incomplete examinations of the purpose of smartphones.
Pretty Little Liars has value as a tracker of nail polish trends and is therefore more satisfying than True Detective.
Who is "A"? Who is the true detective?
That's not the point. The point is who will yell and who will kiss and who will look the prettiest in noir aesthetics.