Three seasons of the series have collected mixed reviews: someone is delighted with the first season and scolds the second, someone claims that he fell asleep during the first season from the endless philosophizing of the characters. In fact, the two seasons, like two sides of the same coin, have a common value.
True detective Season One: When Watson Is in Charge
The series “Sherlock” set the fashion for intellectual detectives. It seemed that Britain had decisively taken the lead in this matter, and only remakes remained for America. No one can outdo Holmes of the 2010s, with his famous forelock, deep baritone and proud profile. Then America decided to “forge” its own smart intellectual, and Nick Pizzolatto wrote the script for True Detective. Thus was born Rust Cole – the owner of the same proud profile and forelock, like Sherlock, an icy voice and a gloomy misanthropic philosophy.
Rast and Martin: two heads of one dragon
Any “Sherlock” should have his own “Watson”, any detective should have a partner and a “counterweight”. Therefore, Rust has Martin – a simple guy with simple requests: a cozy home, lovely daughters, a beautiful wife, mistresses. He’s a “good cop” and he’s in charge.
It’s very difficult for Martina to get along with Rust. He is afraid of long philosophical conversations. Everything is good in Martin’s life, he does not philosophize and does not philosophize, but lives for his own pleasure. Rust survived the tragedy, lay in a psychiatric hospital, spent years in a world of brutal violence. He has to fight not only with criminals, but also with himself.
Martin and Rust have a hard time – one chooses the wrong women, the other – the wrong problems. But they have to unite when the moment of battle comes. The enemy does not frighten them, but causes hatred. Rust takes the fight calmly and firmly – because he is used to fighting the demons fashioned by his consciousness. And nothing can scare Martin at all if you need to protect children and women. “Priest” and “warrior” will go together to the end – this is the law of the genre, the law of ancient myth and real detective.
Southern Gothic of the gloomy swamps: what is Carcosa?
Among the swamps of Louisiana there is no place for modern “tricks”. Mobile phones are not caught here, people disappear without a trace here. Adherents of the satanic cult have lived and prospered here for many years, sacrificing children and women. Inhabitants of the swamps, the Cajuns are the distant descendants of the French colonists, among whom were many criminals, prostitutes and heretics.
A mixture of heresies and cults gave rise to the symbolism of the “True Detective”: terrible paintings, antlers, spirals, stars, the “Yellow King”, traps for dreams and spirits, woven or folded from branches. There are also Christian evangelical preachers. Under the guise of religious schools, they hide the real nurseries of victims for high-ranking Satanists and pedophiles.
Carcosa, the mysterious abode of spirits where sacrifices are made, was mentioned in the stories of Bierce and Chambers. That’s where the “Yellow King” comes from. In the reality of True Detective, Carcosa is an abandoned structure from the time of the first colonists, half a fortress, half a temple, possibly erected by Cajun heretics.
A huge lone tree in the middle of the fields, in front of which the corpse of the first victim is found, is a symbol of an old family rooted in the Louisiana soil. You can cut off its branches, but uprooting is impossible.
Philosophy of Rust Cole
Rust is a typical antihero and sociophobe. He does not believe in anything, despises all religions and power structures, although he himself works in the police. The human person is an illusion for him. In life, he sees no place for either optimism or hope. Knowledge of psychology helps him masterfully imitate compassion for the criminal, and nothing more. He doesn’t like anyone. Cold, imperturbable, he only irritates his colleagues. His loneliness is conscious. Rust can taste colors and is able to distinguish his hallucinations from the clues of consciousness.
Radical pessimism does not force him to abandon the investigation – on the contrary, as if wanting to prove to himself that he is right in the negative perception of the world, Rust brings the matter to the end with manic consistency. And the fact that the “crust” of pessimism and contempt for people can still be removed from him is best evidenced by his attitude towards Martin.
The lone Cole fights all kinds of collectives: families and organizations, social and religious. Preaching the ideas of Nietzsche, existentialism and nihilism, he is ready to fight evil, armed with his gloomy philosophy, like a spear.
The meaning of the ending of the first season
Evil cannot be defeated to the end: high-ranking criminals again slipped away, only their nest was destroyed. The murdered “monster” is the victim and product of his family, one of the by-products conceived during satanic rituals. The only thing that Rust and Martin succeed in is to draw everyone’s attention to a problem that seems to be more than a hundred years old. But they both change under the influence of this case and under the influence of each other; Martin rethinks his life and returns to his family, and Rust admits that behind the cold existential Darkness there is another Darkness – warm, where his father and daughter are waiting for him, and that there is more light in the world.
The social problems raised in the series – racism, drug addiction, alcoholism, violence, pedophilia, impunity of the authorities, drug addiction – these are real horrors, worse than “Yellow Kings” and deer antlers. Unfortunately, even real detectives cannot eradicate them.
True detective Season 2: Clew of Serpents
The second season of the series has a different director, different characters, a different setting. One thing remains in common – the story is about crimes and police detectives. As in the first season, the partners have to return to the investigation, which was closed; as in the first season, life will test their dedication to the cause and to each other. But that’s where the similarity ends.
Small town, big problems
The bustling industrial town is far from idyllic. It seems that its entire population is “smeared”, everyone works for the Russian, Mexican or other mafia, the police are corrupt, and there are more than enough real estate frauds. The murder of a person who knows the main secrets of the city is like a stone that has fallen into a criminal mechanism that has been working properly for many years. “Gears” with a squeal scatter to the sides, as a result, the case is being investigated by police from different departments and even one criminal.
Three detectives must not only look for the killer, but also keep an eye on each other: who knows what might come to the surface, what tons of compromising evidence! And the murder, with which the series begins, fades into the background during the investigation, turning into a tiny part of one picture of a giant crime, whose name is the city of Vinci.
Can such a “sin city” exist in reality, or is it just a concentrated image of the whole society as a whole? There is no right here: everyone is to blame. There are no goodies, ideal law enforcement officers here: everyone breaks the law. Absolutely all the heroes bear the “black mark” of venality and corruption.
Policemen and thief
Intertwining night highways in the ominous light of lights, monsters similar to the circulatory system, gloomy neighborhoods and industrial landscapes – three policemen and one thief in law survive in this world.
Ray Velcoro is a corrupt murderer, Ani Bezzararides is an embittered victim of violence, Paul Woodrow is a victim of blackmail. This strange company is trying to investigate without realizing the extent of the crime. Frank Semyon, a criminal who lost money on the construction of the railroad, fits perfectly into the “police trio” – he is no better and no worse than the rest.
How could these people, in essence not bad, trying to maintain some kind of moral guidelines and humanity, could remain honest, living in a completely corrupt and deceitful world? On the other hand, the general is made up of particulars, and the city begins with its citizens. At some point, the heroes came to terms with evil, became part of it.
As a result, all members of the “quartet” will have to face their fears: the fear of revealing the truth about sexual orientation – for Woodrow, the fear of losing a son – for Velcoro, the fear of admitting their problems – for Bezzarides, the fear of showing themselves weak – for Frank.
The meaning of the ending of the second season
Drug mafia, prostitution, corrupt politicians – against this background, small human dramas develop: relations between fathers and children, intra-family conflicts, psychological childhood traumas. The heroes lived in a terrible world where no one is allowed to be happy, where everyone carried problems in themselves, not trying to change anything.
Eni Bezzerides survived, took out compromising evidence from Vinci and handed it over to a journalist. She gave up. She got rid of the responsibility by saving the life of her child. The men died, but did not lose their dignity in the last minutes. A highway was named after Woodrow, on which he probably would have loved to ride a motorcycle at night, trying to escape from himself. All the killings of the policemen, all the sins were attributed to Velcoro.
Intertwining highways are a tangled tangle of life’s roads, human stories and destinies. For the sake of these roads, for the sake of this land, lawlessness and excesses were created in the city of Vinci. All this time, the heroes fought with what they could not win initially, but the understanding came to them too late.
True detective Season 3 Does the Light Win
While Mahershala Ali was accepting congratulations on his second Oscar in Los Angeles, viewers around the world followed the emotional denouement of the third season of True Detective. The new season, of course, is inferior to the first (and who can surpass Rust Cole at all?), but noticeably surpasses the second. A multi-level fascinating and dramatic story ended brilliantly, but did we get all the answers? I tediously reveal the details of the ending that could have escaped your eyes …
So, what did they show us in the 80-minute final episode?
In 1980, the authorities put an ultimatum to Hayes – he must either renounce everything that Amelia wrote, or go to paper work, saying goodbye to his career as a detective. Wayne does not want to betray his beloved woman and refuses further service.
In 1990, the partners are having a hard time with the murder of Harris James – Hayes breaks off relations with Amelia, and West goes to a bar, where he bullies half a dozen thugs at once. Only in this way can he throw out emotions, and then the devastated one finds solace in the company of a homeless dog, as clumsy and rumpled as himself.
Finally, in 2015, Hayes and West track down Mr. June, a one-eyed black man, and he tells what happened to the Purcell children, and then directs detectives to the monastery where Julie is supposedly buried. At the very end, Hayes comes to the conclusion that Julie is alive and staged her death, but Wayne does not have time to verify this, his mind fails him again.I note how deftly Nick Pizzolatto led us by the nose throughout the third season – he regularly gave tips on Hoyt, hinting that he was either a pedophile, or a human trafficker, or a mafia leader, and therefore Wayne’s meeting with the local Yellow King seemed key. But no, it turned out that for all his vices, Edward Hoyt (played by the delightful Michael Rooker) is far from the story of the Purcell children, he is just looking for the head of his security, and he doesn’t give a damn about the search for the jerks who disappeared ten years ago, he was almost never at home and hardly knew how the daughter used the secret room. Instead of an insidious villain, we got an irritated ignorant old man.
And yet, 35 years later, the case of Will and Julie Purcell is solved. Yes, the Hoyts are guilty, but not Edward, but Isabelle, his daughter – a sensible woman accidentally killed the boy, and kidnapped the girl and turned her into her favorite toy, until one day she fled from her pink castle. Harris James killed the parents and uncle of the children in an attempt to hide the crime of his employer, so he got what he deserved from Hayes and West. Yes, the crime now looks very banal – “just” a crazy woman, a boy accidentally killed and a girl sold by her own mother, who spent 10 years in prison, and then escaped and died of HIV. Or not dead…
Watched viewers easily noticed the trick with Julie’s grave – there was still half an hour left before the end of the series, when West and Hayes found the last refuge of the girl they had been looking for for 35 years, so we had the right to expect a dashing plot twist. And it happened – Amelia’s book again gives Wayne a hint: Julie Purcell could have faked her death so that no one could find her again, and start a new life with Mike Erdoin, the same boy who suffered the most from her disappearance in 1980. True, Hayes could not get to the bottom of the story – his mind let him down on the very threshold of Julie’s new house, he forgot why he came to the address he calculated. Or did not disappoint? While Wayne drinks water, his eyes change – maybe the aged detective decided that it was not worth stirring up the life of a woman who had already experienced a lot of bad things? Be that as it may, more importantly, that Hayes was able to let this thing go and find his own family again. Becca came for him, and Wayne was finally able to feel peace, holding his daughter’s hand.
Peace has come in the Hayes-West tandem as well. Since 1980, the Purcell case has linked the two detectives, but the murder of James pushed the recent friends in different directions, Roland West went into a steep dive and turned into an embittered lone drunk living in the outskirts in the company of dogs. The case was not closed, so the disagreements between the partners were not eliminated. In the finale, Roland never found out that Julie was alive, but even understanding what happened to the girl was enough for him to come to terms with the past. And with a friend, West also found what he had lost. Calm. In the finale, the crime goes to the tenth plan, and on the first – family and friendship, something that gives a lot more emotions.
This appeasement is one of the manifestations of the cyclical nature of life, which Pizzolatto clearly emphasizes in the third season. His characters seem to live the same thing over and over again: in 1990, the investigation stops at the same place as in 1980; in 2015, West and Hayes follow the same paths as in 1990, even an incredibly beautiful episode with the passage of a car, in which we see the characters in three time planes, screams about this. But the most interesting example of cyclicity is, of course, Wayne Hayes’ cycling grandchildren. Yes, they resemble the Purcell children, but now we know that nothing bad will happen. Life is cyclical, but we can change it for the better. And this is a happy ending.
But is it the end? What do you think of the note Henry took from his father? Instead of throwing away the piece of paper with Julie’s address, he put it in his pocket after some thought. It is possible that the man will give it to Eliza, the girl who filmed the interview with his father – Henry understands that the note matters, and perhaps also wants the Purcell case to end. Or maybe he will just pass it on to Roland West later, variations are possible here …
And here’s another mystery for you to think about at your leisure – the last two scenes of the season. We first see Wayne and Amelia reconcile in the deserted bar, and then walk out the light-filled door, hugging each other. After we are shown Hayes, leaving for the impenetrable thicket of the Vietnamese jungle. Doesn’t it remind you of anything? Something like this ended the picture “Jacob’s Ladder”, in which the hero allegedly lived a difficult, eventful life, but in the finale it turned out that in fact he was dying in agony after being wounded in battle. Does this mean that Hayes did not return from Vietnam, that all three timelines in which the plot of the third season unfolds are just the delirium of a soldier dying from wounds? Maybe all the trials that befell Wayne are purgatory and a way to come to terms with death?
However, everything can be simpler, although no less symbolic. We understand that the case is closed for Hayes, that he can move on, and this is exactly what the scene with Amelia shows us (in it, by the way, a little earlier it says directly that if Wayne died in the war, his mother would receive generous compensation) – light here means peace and bliss. Vietnam, on the other hand, is a return (cycle again) to the place where once Hayes was already ready to give up his life. Vietnam is the quintessence of life for Hayes, with his skills to hunt down, go to the end without fear of obstacles, and here he could be on his own. Now that the Purcell children’s case is closed, Wayne can return to the land of eternal peace and solitude. To be honest, I believe that Hayes died in the series finale.
Perhaps such an end disappointed someone – no conspiracy theories for you, no exposed network of pedophiles or kidnappers, two old men revealed a mediocre case, all the details of which lay on the surface for 35 years. But remember – the first season ended exactly the same way. And all because in “True Detective” the main thing is not the murder and its disclosure, but the relationship between the characters. Between Cole and Hart then. Between Hayes and West now. I’ll say more, the third season of True Detective is a love story, it’s not for nothing that Amelia is next to Wayne even in 2015, when the woman is already physically dead. The love of Amelia and Wayne is closely intertwined with the investigation, but at the same time, it is the Purcell case that prevents Hayes from finally falling into the abyss of madness and forgetting his family, friends and beloved. Through investigation we were told about love, about family and friendship. They were touching, emotional and convincing. Like no one said. Because the real ones in the series are not only a detective, but also love.