Wednesday, March 12, 2014

True Detective finale was disappointing

Take heed! Ahead be spoilers! Don't read if it will ruin your life to know how "True Detective" ended.

Like many people I had very much been enjoying this series and telling everyone I knew how great it was. Until it got to the end. Either they never figured out where they were going with the story, they wimped out, or everyone involved ignored a seriously weak ending when they started production. Crazy bayou dude? Really? What an old trope! And not a very believable or interesting one either. The build-up seemed to be leading to something more satisfying or at least less predictable. When I saw the exchange between the cops and the lawn mower guy at the end of the second-to-last episode I had a sinking suspicion this was where the finale was going and it wasn't going anywhere nearly as good as we had been promised. I'm sorry to say my suspicion was correct.

This was a show about McConaughey and Harrelson and (perhaps less so) their characters. And it did deliver on that promise. But you can't also promise a riveting crime story and then fail to deliver. If you want to do a character study, do a character study. There was no need for some salacious voodoo murder investigation in the background to make this a riveting series. It is very rare for a film or TV series to accomplish both--the film Ghost Writer comes to mind, and that was an unusually memorable and well-made film. So, to the writers/directors/etc.--I was engaged and looked forward to watching this show through the finale, when you lost me and a lot of your other viewers and we all feel tremendously let down. If this had been a mediocre show that ended spectacularly well, that would have been so much better than what we got.

Also--anyone else concerned by the monster we have created in McConaughey? His great roles are all anyone could talk about for the last couple years (myself included) and now it has all gone to his gigantic movie star bobble-head and we were rewarded with that Oscar speech. Ugh. Clearly this world is not big enough for his ego, but that is usually the time when movie stars start making horrible decisions on roles again, so perhaps he will end up in "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days Part II" and we can have a humbled McConaughey again a few years down the road.

If you don't watch SNL you have to watch this.

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