‘True Detective’ finale review: Did Martin Hart, Rust Cohle close the case alive?

HBO logoAfter an eight-episode journey that was truly intense, “True Detective” finally came to a close on Sunday night with a story that was intense, personal, and probably not what you expected at all.

The first half of the episode was spent mostly giving you a sense of who the Errol character was, and then the manhunt and shootout to take this guy out. The reality here is that this show was never about trying to understand why or how this guy committed the crimes; police never get this luxury, either. Even after Rust Cohle shot this man in the head to ensure that he couldn’t kill Martin Hart, justice was still not completely served … and it probably never will be.

What we were most curious to see in the second half of this episode was whether or not Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson’s characters in the end could find some sort of solace in the fact that they did what they set out to do. The final ten minutes were slow-moving, and almost entirely based around these two characters. It’s hard to really grasp a feeling about it; the show went small rather than giving you any semblance that life was going to be okay. The only piece of heroism received was Martin getting a visit from Maggie and his children … and that was it.

In the end, we are left wondering questions of lightness and darkness, of pain and regret. How different life could have been for Rust had he caught on to Errol when he first saw him, and how it would have changed everything. Unfortunately, this is just the way that life goes sometimes. The true detective does not work for the glory, or for getting to go back to a normal life in the end. They do it because of their duty, and then deal with the emotional fallout. The conclusion of a case does not mean that the clouds break and the skies are suddenly blue. All that’s left are two men struggling to still pick up the pieces.

We almost wish that the show was not so subtle and small in the closing seconds (just so that we could get a sense as to where Rust and Martin were heading), but it’s hard to argue against one thing: This was an extraordinary tale to watch. The only other regret that we have was that there was maybe not five or so minutes more attached to the end, but maybe that’s part of the point to leave us wanting more. Grade: A-.

What did you think about the “True Detective” finale? Did it end in the way in which you were hoping? Sound off with your thoughts in the comment box below, and head over to the link here if you want to read some of our early speculation on the potential second season. Also, be sure to sign up here for our CarterMatt Newsletter if you want to get some more updates sent right to your email.

Photo: HBO

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