So have you seen the last episode of True Detective, first season? Well, if you haven’t you shouldn’t read this review any further, because there will be some spoilers in here. But if you don’t have a problem with that, then be our guests and leave us a comment also – after you have seen Form and Void, the last episode when Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson graced us with their presence on True Detective.
We can say from the start that the very ending of the first season took most of us by surprise. And while we would like to call it a nice surprise, it was a rather unpleasant one, since it simply presented us a truth on a silver plate, never giving us the chance of discovering it for ourselves, never letting us improve ourselves through our own archaeology of that truth.
We’re not talking, of course, about the discovery of the Dora Lange killer – this was, in fact, the premise on which this first season was built, although there was a bit of a shock (if you will) in here too. In the way these 8 episodes were built, everything could have happened from this perspective: it could have been aliens, it could have been werewolves, ultimately it could have been sparkling vampires. Some of the fans were even expecting for some hidden secrets from Rust’s or/and Hart’s past to emerge. But this isn’t the shock we were talking about, this is just a statement of how beautifully crafted the film was until now.
How do they end up with their first clue about the real suspect, about the Yellow King? Well of course it can be said that by revisiting some clues they overlooked in the past. However, from just a simple revisiting to finding out that the green years of the Yellow King had that color because the criminal moonlighted as a painter is kind of a stretch.
And that is quite a shock for some of us, because (as we said) the show was built in a fantastic manner until this point. Why would they use such a simple trick in order to deliver us a rather generic psycho? Why would the writer and director cheat us in such a way?
We are saying that this is a rather generic psycho and we are not quite far away from it, even if a part of this season is built on the mythology of this movie’s Yellow King. However, when we finally get a closer look at the villain, there is a sense of disappointment. Of course we are shown the tied down father, we are presented with myriad of torn apart dolls, we get a sense of dread when finally discovering the labyrinthine Carcosa, we see again all the symbols we have seen all around the season, but…
But there is no resolution to this serial killer’s story, there is no true ending to it. Of course he seems mentally deranged (just the way he looks at the kids will give you chills, not to mention the way he switches through accents as if being possessed). Why did he become the way he was? What were his motives? These kinds of things remain partly unanswered – and this doesn’t suit us very well.
Of course, the story wasn’t in fact about the Yellow King (except if there is a Yellow King in each one of us). The story wasn’t about the Dora Lange. The story was about Rust and Hart, about the reconciliation between two men who are essentially different while being at the same time almost identical. Because, you see, they have both been on the other side, they have both seen (and embraced) the darkness inside of them. But only Rust was the one to actually call it as it was and even be fine with it.
It was his job to be a bad person, because only this way the other bad people were kept outside.
But in this last episode we see a transformation suffered by Rust. We see the almost nihilistic person from the first 6 episodes (we don’t count the 7th, because the change can be seen even in that one) turning to 180 degrees. We see a man who after witnessing the horrors of life as an undercover agent, a man who has lost his small child, we meet this man who has no faith left at all (and we are not talking about a faith in some deity, but faith in the general sense of the word). He is the pessimistic and negativist existentialist who believes that everything will repeat itself until the end of time.
That is how we met Rust and that is how he was until the ending of the season, when he gets stabbed, enters a coma, and dreams about his lost child – the darkness which consumed all of Rust’s “definitions” was still warm and filled with…
In the end, all you need is love, right? This is the big challenge? This is what we were supposed to learn from this entire season? That love can cure all? We, personally, would have been much more satisfied if this season finale was all about the secret fate of all life – in a way it was, because the duo has to be content with only catching one of the many criminals. We, personally, would have been much more satisfied if we had seen Hart recognizing his inner demons.
Instead we get to see Rust accepting the fact that what has taken him on an endless spiral to self-destruction was the death of his child. The writer and the director had to spell that out for us.
As a whole, these 8 episode were more than welcomed, being as intense as possible. But we will forever have that bad aftertaste after watching Form and Void – an unworthy finale to a very good first season.
PS: No matter who they find for season 2, it cannot be worse than these two —>