“Hell, son… if everyone was stronger, they’d be more like you.”
After the ‘happy’ ending to season 1 of True Detective I always knew with season 2 that Nic Pizzolatto wasn’t going to repeat himself. He hadn’t done so far; season 2 was drastically different to season 1 and the finale followed suit. Not only did most of the bad guys pretty much get away with it, but by the time it was done 75% of the main cast had been killed off. And not just killed off, no that would be too nice; Frank had to die alone in the desert, Paul had to die because he was afraid to admit who he was, and Ray had to die with the world (and his son) thinking he was a cop killing scumbag. And his message to his son didn’t even send! To some it might seem too much, to others it was an excellent and depressing exercise in nihilistic storytelling. What ever you think though, you’ll probably agree with me that it felt right for the series.
The fact that the finale was extended from the usual time to 90 minutes could have been a problem for the show. Even Game of Thrones doesn’t get it’s finale’s extended by that much. But True Detective capitalises on the time given to it allowing for a slow burn and a fitting send off for the characters. Sure, if you didn’t like the writing and pacing of the show so far then the finale wasn’t going to change your mind but if you appreciated the more deliberate pace and and stupidly over-the-top dialogue throughout the rest of the series then the finale is excellent. As well as the usual stuff from the rest of the series (Frank’s wacky dialogue, long staring scenes, and the worlds most depressing pub singer) the finale also continues the show’s brilliant direction, something I don’t think is mentioned enough in the damning reviews written by most critics. The scene with Frank in the desert was beautiful, and really proved to us that perhaps losing Cary Fukunaga wasn’t the big issue many thought it would. Frank walking through the desert battling his demons was also the last chance for Vince Vaughn to show how good an actor he is. And, thank god, he knocked it out of the park. The one shot where he realised he had died meters earlier and he slowly turned around; damn that was some good acting from VV. I just hope he can get more roles like this and less like Delivery Man in the future.
Of course, like every week, Colin Farrell and Rachel McAdams were amazing. Again, these are two actors I hope go on from this into even more dramatic roles because I loved them in this. Colin Farrell as Ray Velcoro was perhaps my favourite part of the series as a whole. His relationship with his son (Chad) was great and that final shot of Ray’s phone being unable to send Chad his final voice message was f*cking heartbreaking. Right after Ray went out all John Marston style as well. Plus he actually was Chad’s real father, but I doubt Ray’s ex-wife will ever tell the poor kid. Ani sort of got away happier and who knows, maybe that reporter will actually be able to get some of the truth out about the whole mess but I doubt it. At least Ani along with her and Ray’s son and Franks wife Jordan (and Nails) are reasonably safe. Which I suppose is better than most of the cast got.
By the time everything was coming to an end the actual mystery of the show didn’t really matter. Caspare was killed by some pissed off kids and that was pretty much it. The good guys lost and they lost badly. I feel once you accept that theme and just go with the show’s super nihilistic storytelling then audiences will get more out of it. Sure the actual mystery was confusing but only if you couldn’t remember a few thing across the space of a week. Perhaps binge watchers will get more out of the show in this regard, but in the end none of this stuff mattered. The show has always been about the characters just this time around they were never going to get out clean. Sorry Rust, turns out the light is no longer winning.