Here are my thoughts on the excellent first season of the TRUE DETECTIVE series. SPOILERS are present of course!
1.) I originally didn’t get into this series. While it has great performances and great atmosphere, I found the plot to be not that complicated and a bit pedestrian. Well, after finishing the series, I came across this quote in Rolling Stone’s review of the series “The journey is more important than the destination” and that too me is what it’s about. The story told here is secondary to the people that inhabit it and where they are operating.
2.) I believe that distractions play a big part in the story. The evidence of the recently painted house that is the big discovery that points them to the killer was there for quite some time but Cohle was wrapped up in drugs and his own weirdness and Hart with his wife and the cheating and the fallout from the divorce as well as their dislike for each other. Once they got back together and got their heads straight, they figured it all out.
3.) What about the finale? Reading a lot of complaints today but to me it made perfect sense. Any mystery worth its salt has red herrings and TD is no exception. Just because they hinted at something doesn’t mean it has to come true.
4.) In regards to not catching all the members of the cult, I think Cohle was right when he said they got the one they’d been chasing. The murder cult actually broke up sometime in the 90’s but Errol Childress kept on killing because he enjoyed it. When the cult was in existence, he was their main servant. He would find the girls, kidnap them and after the cult had their weird ceremony involving rape and torture, he would kill them and clean up.
5.) What about Cohle’s Synaesthesia ? He did say that the hallucinations he had stopped once he stopped taking drugs but he said that in the present day to the detectives who suspect him of murder so who knows. I still think that was a delusion at the end, the otherworldly portal he saw in Carcosa. I think all the supernatural stuff in this series was a red herring.
6.) Cohle’s appearance before the two detectives investigating the new case in 2012 in the first four episodes was a performance of sorts. It reminded me of THE USUAL SUSPECTS but in this case Cohle was pretending to be a useless drunk and a weirdo to pump them for info. We see when he meets up with Hart again that he is still a good detective and has that storage locker full of investigative material.
7.) Something interesting I noticed – The drawings Hart’s daughter did in episode 3 (which combined with some other things made it seems she was a victim of molestation perhaps by the same cult) don’t look like her having sex, they look like Errol Childress and his wife/sister/mother/lover
8.) Possible twists that didn’t happen – One I thought of was that not only is Hart’s creepy stepfather-in law molesting his granddaughter and is involved in the cult but Hart’s ex-wife is also in on it. She murders Hart at the end but Cohle figures her out and get her before she gets him.
9.) Another great thing worth noticing was the dialogue especially Cohle’s speeches on human existence. I’ve never seen a detective show or movie with such great extended conversations
10.) Comparisons with other shows? Well one I thought of while watching TD was TWIN PEAKS without the sense of humor but with the odd characters, the supernatural intruding on a case, and the creative use of natural settings.
11.) The soundtrack by T Bone Burnett was great especially his opening credits tune. I also liked how music was used in particular hearing “Did She Jump or Was She Pushed?” by Richard and Linda Thompson in episode 7 as Cohle meets Maggie in the present day.
12.) This was one of the rare times when a happy ending made sense