WARNING: Spoilers ahead!
A brilliant season of True Detective passed the final Sunday night as the daring and dark show took a decided turn towards the not believable. Pass as in pass-fail only. True Detective was an A + all year long and rewarded the audience with a good ending. It just was not the standard creator Nic Pizzolatto had set during the season.
Audiences did not seem to mind however. HBOGO.com , the website where fans can stream the show crashed last night as audiences tried to watch the last episode.
The season finale bordered on hokey towards the end as Matthew McConaughey’s character, Rust Cohle, had a six-inch knife shoved in to his stomach and then had his body lifted in the air with the same knife, which was a gruesome sight, although, it was plausible given the villain involved and Cohle’s nature to go it alone without his partner Marty Hart played by Woody Harrelson. What was not plausible was for Cohle to live through it. Not to be outdone, Hart had a hatchet thrown and embedded in his chest and he lived as well.
Huh? This is how the story and pursuit of The Yellow King ends? An obsessed fan base deserved better from Pizzolatto. True Detective was an often bleak tale with with a compelling story line that was made believable by superior performances from the whole cast but especially McConaughey and Harrelson.
The scene where they bring down the killer? Not believable. At least not if both characters lived through it. Why did the attack go to such extremes if both were going to live? There was a little too much drama for the sake of drama inserted there by Pizzolatto who had done precisely the opposite up to that point in the show.
From that point on in the last ten minutes or so, True Detective turned in to a buddy cop show with Cohle and Hart trading digs from a wheelchair and a hospital bed. Everything they had not been for seven episodes and fifty minutes or so of the finale.
That can be forgiven. Cohle and Hart finding friendship in the end given everything they had encountered by that point the was a natural evolution. The scenes from the hospital during this sequence were the best of this episode and some of the best of the season. It is also is where True Detective redeems itself and begins to pass the final. Hart sobbing with his broken family at his side wrapped up the story line with his former wife and estranged daughters appropriately. He was still alone but he had gained some redemption from his children.
As for Cohle, Pizzolatto tied together his painful past to the attack he suffered and perhaps moved Cohle forward to a less desperate outlook on life. McConaughey was brilliant as Cohle in the final scene recounting the near death experience he suffered and how he could feel his late daughters’ presence. It was a side of humanity to Cohle not often seen in the series.
It was also a game changer for the finale. True Detective gets a passing grade in the final despite a bit of a corny finish to an otherwise perfect season of television. Pizzolatto can thank McConaughey and Harrelson for that.
By Mick Varner