Thursday, March 20, 2014

True Detective

As some of you know, I’m not an avid television viewer. No judgment here if you are, I just have difficulties committing to anything. At one time, I was watching four different Law & Order shows throughout the week. Without cable, Tivo, or DVR it’s even more difficult to keep up with TV shows. I decided last year that I would try watching the entire series of Angel. It’s taken me six months to get to season four. I just don’t have the time or patience anymore to keep up with a series. However, I fell hard for True Detective.

I was immediately interested upon hearing the two main characters were being played by Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey. Could there be a more perfect pairing? I knew I was in for a doozie after the first episode. I’m still trying to wrap my head around the story. I haven’t felt this much affinity and personal investment for a television show since Twin Peaks.


The similarities with Twin Peaks run very deep. They’re both about solving a bizarre murder case. Both have unusual characters that talk in cryptic riddles. Sardonic humor is prevalent in both shows. Both shows center on a mysterious boogeyman; the Yellow King was just as frightening as Bob. Most importantly, both shows have a unique and rich style of writing that culminates into a truly thought provoking show.

While watching True Detective, I constantly searched for clues and re-watched the episodes for answers. I became so focused on the details; I failed to see the bigger picture which is why the finale caught me off guard. Some people were disappointed with the finale. It certainly took my breath away. In a way, I expected a bigger showdown between the Yellow King and Rust, but it would take away from the mystique that character created. The fewer details we know about the Yellow King, the scarier he is. It almost creates a mythological fantasy about him and how he came to be a serial killer.

Towards the end of the series, I was convinced that Rust & Marty would be killed off and they almost were. Then I realized the show was never about a serial killer or satanic ritual, it was about Rust & Marty all along. It was about Marty’s struggle with infidelity and isolation. It was always about the role he played in the lives of the women around him. Notably, the show was also about Rust’s personal conflict with existence and god. The show never felt preachy or self righteous, but it certainly brought new ideas to the table regarding existentialism.

Early on, I read several articles accusing True Detective of misogyny. There were complaints that there were no strong female characters. I feel like this is completely untrue. To dismiss the roles based on gender, you completely undervalue the show. Remember it’s the bigger picture with True Detective. All the female characters were empowered in their own right. Michelle Monaghan was absolutely amazing as Marty's long suffering wife. I never felt sorry for her because she always had the upper hand in the marriage. I suspect Maggie never felt sorry for herself either. I’ve heard lots of rumors swirling around regarding the potential new cast. McConaughey said early in season one that he would not return for a second season. Nic Pizzolatto hinted at a pair of female detectives. Nothing has been confirmed just yet. I’m not sure female detectives will work. I just don’t see two women having the same partnership that Rust & Marty had. That type of organic rapport is not easy to find and the creators certainly have their work cut out for them.

I just really loved how the entire story and the relationships within came full circle at the end. The themes of power and control were so gripping. Kudos to Nic Pizzolatto for pulling a fast one on me. I can only hope that next season is as great. This show will certainly obtain cult status in no time. If you haven't watched True Detective, I cannot recommend it enough. If you have seen it, please feel free to share your ideas.

1 comment:

  1. This was a good post about the visual quality of TD