*** Spoiler Warning***
“I think human consciousness is a tragic misstep in evolution,” Mathew McConaughey’s Rust Cohle said during the first episode of “True Detective” but by the end of the series his philosophy reworked itself and reached a moment of contented acceptance.
“Once there was only dark,” he said before the series came to a close. “If you ask me, the light is winning.”
“True Detective” is HBO’s newest addition to the long list of shows you have to see because enough people around you have raved about it. And like most shows on that list, it’s worth it. The series tells of two Louisianan detectives (McConaughey’s Cohle and Woody Harrelson’s Marty Hart) who spend 17 years working a case involving murder, Satanism and the deranged. The final episode aired last night. Like all good finales it completed the story and left each viewer the task of piecing it all together for themselves.
Cohle and Hart spent the series tracking and searching for a disturbed mass murderer of women and children. Grotesque, gothic symbols of flat circles and crowns appeared throughout their case that created a complex and dark labyrinth for both detectives.
Parallel to this story of psycho crime is the journey of each man as he battles his demons of regret and pain. For Cohle, his daughter’s death and the acceptance of living alongside life’s darkness acted as the basis of his troubles while Hart struggled with allowing himself to be vulnerable and loving with his family. Both men’s baggage were prominent plot points in “True Detective” but these were never the reasons why you were told to watch along.
The show played a smooth bait and switch where incredible six-minute tracking shot sequences and mysterious horrors snatched our attention while the crux of the story was truly about two different men coming to terms with themselves.
What made “True Detective” stand out from other crime shows and whodunit scenarios is the way it kept it simple while persuading the audience to participate like a Sherlock on a sofa. There weren’t any major plot twists or “Don’t Stop Believing”-induced confusions in the finale. Instead we watched Cohle and Hart reach a fulfilled ending. Hart cries with his ex-wife and children, finally allowing himself to be honest and powerless among them and Cohle embraces the true love he had for his deceased daughter establishing substance in his hollow life. It’s a simple but gratifying ending.