The second pane is a waste of space for me.
Simple solution to that:
Drag the TC panel divider all the way to the left or right margin and proceed. All dual-panel commanders support single-panel mode in addition to dual-pane mode.
The major reason for me not to use TC is the lack of a single-pane mode. I tend to do a bunch of file operations within the same directory.
Why not set up both sides at the same folder and use dual-panel mode that way? There are operational/task efficiencies even when both sides display the same location in the navigation hierarchy. Give it a chance and you will discover them.
One benefit of two panels looking at the same folder is that you can use the panels to scroll to different locations in the folder. Admittedly this is only useful if you have lots of files in that folder.
If you use many custom metadata columns in detail view, horizontal (instead of vertical) split mode would be good too, again pointed at the same folder in both panes, but perhaps scrolled to different locations.
That's the great thing about the commander-style interface: it is a superset of the single panel mode and supports any method of working you desire, including the rather limiting single-panel mode.