Poetic finale for True Detective

Matthew McConaughey as Rust Cohle in True Detective. (Handout)

Matthew McConaughey as Rust Cohle in True Detective. (Handout)

Bill Harris, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:15 AM ET

True Detective ended its first season with a line I don't think I ever will forget.

Aside from that line, the first-season finale of True Detective, which aired Sunday night on HBO Canada, kind of turned into American Horror Story.

Not that anything supernatural occurred. But atmospherically, things sure got spooky.

Obviously if you haven't watched the episode yet and are intending to do so, consider this a SPOILER ALERT. If you have seen it, I wonder if you'll agree with me that there were a few subtle surprises on the one hand, but no big surprises on the other.

Okay, first of all, the biggest pleasing subtle surprise for me came with the final line, when Rust Cohle (Matthew McConaughey) displayed some optimism.

Fittingly if neither of them were going to die, the season ended with Rust and Marty Hart (Woody Harrelson) continuing their love-hate relationship by engaging in another one of their deep conversations. This one occurred outside Lafayette General Hospital.

Trying to cheer up the seriously injured but apparently on-the-mend Rust, Marty brought up the subject of how Rust used to gaze at the stars and make up stories when he was a boy in Alaska. But Rust replied he had come to believe there's only one story, the oldest: “Light versus dark.”

Marty, glancing at the Louisiana night sky, made the cynically comical observation, “I know we ain't in Alaska, but it appears to me the dark has a lot more territory.”

But then just a little bit later, Rust circled back. Rust ended the season by saying to Marty, “You know, you're looking at it wrong, that sky thing. Once there was only dark. If you ask me, the light's winning.”

That is a great line.

I had to rewind three or four times to make it out, because Rust mumbled the words. But they're in my brain for good now. I just know it.

A side comment I'll make about that final scene: Was that not the quietest hospital you've ever witnessed? No activity just outside it, no ambulances, not even any sirens in the distance. Yes, it was night, but most hospitals are hubs of activity 24 hours a day. Not a criticism, just an observation. Hey, it's TV, I get it.

As for the lead-up to that final scene, there really were no big surprises in the True Detective finale, as far as bizarre plot twists or sharp turns out of nowhere. That actually was kind of refreshing.

The most dramatic scene of the whole season, of course, was the final scene of the second-last episode, when the camera moved through the early-evening sunshine to reveal the scars on the face of the creepy dude who had been on the riding mower. As we now know, that was serial killer Errol William Childress.

The strange, isolated place where Childress was living, which we got to see throughout the final episode, was where the afore-mentioned memories of American Horror Story came into it for me. Honestly, that abode would have fit snugly into any of the three seasons of American Horror Story that have aired so far.

True Detective's violent climax with Rust, Marty and Childress wasn't particularly inventive. It was sort of standard stuff, to be honest. But I really liked the denouement. It was poetic and artistic.

So nothing crazy happened, but everything crazy happened.

Obviously you can just hand the Emmy to McConaughey. And with all due respect to his signature slogan, “All right, all right, all right,” I think his character's last line in the first season of True Detective will stick with me far longer.

Bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

 


Photos