“True Detective” has finished, and now the debate begins on its legacy. Did it live up to the promise in the first half of the season? Was the story concluded in a satisfactory manner? Is this really one of the greatest shows in TV history? We’ll let you hash it out in the comments section, but in this writer’s opinion, there hasn’t been a TV drama this dense, rich and satisfying in a long, long time. That said, last night’s finale did leave a slightly sour taste in the mouths of some. Obviously, **SPOILERS AHEAD**.
So, in “Form And Void,” we saw both Rust and Martin near death, only to survive and spend the last quarter of the show involved in a discussion of light versus dark, and the meaning of the universe. As we wrote in our recap, it was a fitting and rather poetic conclusion, with both men changed from what they’ve experienced. But it wasn’t the supernatural finale some were hoping for or tragic conclusion some expected. And writer/creator Nic Pizzolatto shares his approach and some of the other ideas he had going into the finale.
“For me as a storyteller, I want to follow the characters and the story through what they organically demand. And it would have been the easiest thing in the world to kill one or both of these guys,” Pizzolatto told HitFix. “I even had an idea where something more mysterious happened to them, where they vanished into the unknown and Gilbough and Papania had to clean up the mess and nobody knows what happens to them. Or it could have gone full blown supernatural. But I think both of those things would have been easy, and they would have denied the sort of realist questions the show had been asking all along. To retreat to the supernatural, or to take the easy dramatic route of killing a character in order to achieve an emotional response from the audience, I thought would have been a disservice to the story. What was more interesting to me is that both these men are left in a place of deliverance, a place where even Cohle might be able to acknowledge the possibility of grace in the world.”
And it was a smart choice, giving the finale of “True Detective” a true emotional heft (Rust’s story about feeling his daughter’s presence and love while on the brink of death is awards reel stuff). But perhaps vexing to many was that the conspiracy around the Tuttle churches stayed in the background and was not fully resolved. Martin even quiets Gilbough and Papania when they start explaining where the investigation has gone. But for Pizzolatto, it was all about making the show as real as possible.
“The conspiracies that I’ve researched and encountered, they seem to happen very ad hoc: they become conspiracies when it’s necessary to have a conspiracy. I think it would have rang false to have Hart and Cohle suddenly clean up 50 years of the culture history that led to Errol Childress, or to get all the men in that video,” he explained. “It’s important to me, I think, that Cohle says, ‘We didn’t get em all, Marty,’ and Marty says, ‘We ain’t going to. This isn’t that kind of world.’ This isn’t the kind of world where you mop up everything. We discharged our duty, but of course there are levels and wheels and historical contexts to what happened that we’ll never be able to touch.”
It’s a brave position to take, and a choice that leaves the world of “True Detective” as complex and unfair and haunted as it was when we entered. But now, the big question: what’s happening with season two? Well, Pizzolatto is already putting pen to paper, for another conspiratorial tale, but one that seems to be more national in scope.
“Okay. This is really early, but I’ll tell you (it’s about) hard women, bad men and the secret occult history of the United States transportation system,” the writer shared. Damn.
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