Tuesday, March 18, 2014

True Detective Ends

Did you love it? Or were you gnashing your teeth because so little was answered?

My guess is, if you hated the end of Lost and you hated the end of Battlestar Galactica (and not because they were ending), you hated True Detective.

Because the whole Yellow King and Carcosa turned out to be pretty unimportant. The focus of the finale was on the investigation and capture of the scary man with the scars on his face, and then the healing of our detectives. It turns out the story was not so much about the case, as about the two men who solved it, or at least, part of it.

Hart and Cohle finally worked together and so, were able to figure out who the scarred face with the green ears belonged to. We knew they were right because we'd been introduced to Childress and witnessed the depravity of his life. Cohle knew the moment they drove up to the compound. We were treated to the trip into Carcosa, an abandoned fort that has been used by the Tuttles and the Childresses for their murderous, rapacious impulses. Finally, that scene, with an injured Hart holding an injured Cohle, looking up to the helicopter spotlight. The men were saved.

At the hospital, Hart finally let down his guard in front of his ex-wife and estranged daughters, as tears fell down his face. Cohle entered a long coma in which he was washed over by his daughter's love. In a final discussion on darkness and light, it is Cohle, of all people, who realized that if he can see a little light in the world, then the light might be winning after all. So, together, they walk off the hospital grounds, with Cohle leaving nothing behind.

For me, it was just about as perfect as a finale can get. Watching the finale, I realized that Cohle was not the titular true detective. Nor, obviously, was Hart. It's only when they combined forces, truly became partners, that they became the true detective, capable of delving into secrets hidden by powerful forces.

The Yellow King? And Carcosa? Well, they were fun to hear about (I honestly had paid no attention to the terms when they were first introduced). But we never had enough information to really derive any answers that would be worthwhile of our time. Sure, they could have made Cohle into the Yellow King (or even Hart, for that matter). They could have had Hart's older daughter be murdered by Childress.

But how much better and more interesting to have the redemption of these men, as they caught a man who was quite skilled in perversion, but otherwise was nondescript and lowly. We spent a little time on him, as he talked to the desiccated remains of his father, "made flowers" with a woman who turned out to be his half-sister, and painted a school. It was only as he painted the school that my hair stood up. Which of these children, which of these teachers was his next victim? But we didn't need to spend too much time with him, and any more would have felt like we were being cheated of the real story.

True Detective was by no means perfect. But it was extremely well-done. Matthew McConaughey has already confirmed what we already knew: True Detective is meant to be an anthology series, with different actors and different settings. So, we won't see Hart or Cohle, ever again, which makes me very sad. I suspect we will also desperately miss the direction by Cary Fukunaga (I've not heard if he's attached to Season Two). But we will see more of the vision that Nic Pizzolatto has. I'll be there.

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