TV Review: True Detective: Episode 8: Form & Void (SPOILERS)
REVIEW: Right from the beginning, TRUE DETECTIVE was a show that was all but impossible to predict. As hard as we all tried to guess what was coming next, showrunner Nic Pizzolatto's scripts kept veering into unexpected directions, and the season finale proved to be no different. In the week leading up to this episode, many of us were expecting some kind of apocalyptic end, with at least one of the heroes – or possibly both – winding up in a coffin before the season drew to an end. The biggest surprise here is how unexpectedly uplifting the conclusion proved to be, with both Cohle and Hart having survived their run-in with “The Yellow King” and presumably having found some comfort in the fact that even if they haven't caught all the bad guys, they caught the one that really counted.
While some may be disappointed in the fact that some threads of the case are still open (possibly to be tackled in season two), on the whole the ending goes back to what Pizzolatto's been saying in interviews all along, that TRUE DETECTIVE was never so much about the crime they were investigating, but rather the terrible toll it took on the detectives as men.
Regardless of whether or not Errol was the worst of the Childers/LeDoux gang (with him keeping the mummified remains of his father in true Norman Bates-PSYCHO fashion), by the time the credits rolled it was clear that both Cohle and Hart had found some kind of peace, with the nihilistic Cohle even telling Hart that he felt the love of his deceased daughter as he sunk into the blackness of death, only to be pulled back into the light at the last second. While Cohle's probably not on his way to any kind of serious happy ending, one gets the feeling that despite his guilt over not having caught onto Errol earlier, he's finally paid what he owed to the victims of Errol and the LeDoux clan after having allowed the case to be closed long before it was ever truly solved. Throughout the show, McConaughey's acting has been superlative, with this arguably being the best role of his career (maybe even better than his Academy Award winning turn in DALLAS BUYERS CLUB), and if this is indeed the last we ever see of Cohle, his journey feels as complete as it would in any movie.
Of the two, Woody Harrelson got the quieter part as the more straight-laced Hart, but considering the show as a whole, it was just as complicated a part as the one played by McConaughey. While Cohle was always a badass with a code, Hart was often tough to like, with his philandering and abusive streak. He often came off as a bully with a badge, but as an older man, Harrelson beautifully conveyed the sense of him being a guy that was trying to put right the things he did wrong in his life. When Maggie and his daughters visit him in the emergency room and he breaks down crying, one gets the sense that he's weeping not so much for the horrific crimes he was forced to witness through his pursuit of Errol, but also for the mistakes he made as a young man, which in the end cost him his family. While I doubt there's any hope of reconciliation with Maggie or his kids, in the end they seem to finally realize that despite all of his flaws, he's a good man and worthy of their respect.
Overall, TRUE DETECTIVE has really been one of the most impressive shows I've ever had the pleasure to watch, and Pizzolatto's going to have a huge job ahead of him in crafting season two. Hopefully, when two finally does get off the ground, it'll benefit from actors (or actresses) on par with McConaughey and Harrelson, but also from as talented a director as Cary Fukunaga, who's pushed the boundaries of what a director can do with a TV show, with it having set-pieces (especially the tracking shot in episode four) that I think have set the bar higher for anyone working in the medium. The same goes for the incredible use of music, with pitch-perfect soundtrack selections, and an unhinged, creepy score by the great T Bone Burnett.
And so this wraps up my reviews of TRUE DETECTIVE for the season. While season two hasn't officially been green-lit by HBO, one can assume it'll eventually happen given the unanimous acclaim and solid ratings. To me, this season puts TRUE DETECTIVE in the top-tier of TV, alongside shows like BREAKING BAD and THE WIRE. Its been brilliant. Now, let's get cracking on season two!
|Extra Tidbit:||I wouldn't be surprised if Gilbough and Papania came back, even though - in the end- they didn't really do much.|