I'm going to provide some warnings up front, because I think it's important to get these things out in the open, so readers know where I'm coming from, but more importantly, so I'll have a record of where I'm coming from. The first, meta, caveat is that, for me, True Detective
is the first television show to capture my imagination and have me speculating wildly, often pointlessly, about minutiae of symbology, since Twin Peaks
, and the first media event to do so since Sleep No More
. I may be referring back to both Twin Peaks
and Sleep No More
often; you have been warned.
The second caveat is that by the time I begin making my observations, I will have seen the finale. I will know how it ends and where it's going. But because time is a flat circle
, it doesn't matter if I start over at the beginning and work my way through it again, this time with the knowledge of the destination. This is something I learned in the McKittrick Hotel
: future iterations lack the primal gut-punch of the initial exposure, but by paying attention to detail, you can learn so much more about what surrounds you. By going back to the beginning and rewatching with experienced eyes, you notice more detail.
The third caveat is an outright statement of bias. Both of True Detective's
detectives are difficult men, but while I feel a sense of kinship (or at least a certain shared misanthropy) with Rustin Cohle, I outright despise Marty Hart. Both men are broken beyond redemption – by their jobs, by their lives, by their life choices – but while Hart chooses to hide his brokenness behind a mask of folksy good-ol-boy geniality, Cohle eschews masks. Even when the viewer is first introduced to '95 Cohle, it's immediately apparent that there's something not quite right with him. And it is that very not-rightness that makes him good at what he does. Hart may have better connections, may be a more natural office politician, but he lacks Cohle's detective skills, and he knows it. I have more respect for the eschewer of masks than for the man who wears a false face. This will almost certainly influence how I view this show.
The fourth caveat is that there will be spoilers. For True Detective
certainly. For Twin Peaks
and Sleep No More
, more than likely. Proceed with caution.