I am still processing the finale, but I do have a quick thought about what just went down on my telly screen.

Here there be spoilers for the True Detective season finale. If you don't want to be spoilered, you might wish to avoid )

Time being a flat circle, we end where we began. And so we begin again.
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.
True Detective writer Nic Pizzolatto gave an interview. In it, he says a number of interesting things, but I found this to be the most intriguing:

"I think given the amorphous nature of the evil they’re pursuing, its historical roots in culture and government, they would have to be willing to die to fully pursue their absolute justice. And they each understand this."


And as an indication of where I'm coming from in my approach to this show, I am reminded of the following quote from another law enforcement officer, a Sheriff's Deputy on another crime show that, once upon a time, was my obsession:

But it is said that if you confront the Black Lodge with imperfect courage, it will utterly annihilate your soul.


Not so sure about Marty, but Rust Cohle has had quite a few years in the wilderness to burn away the excesses of his soul. I think he'll be entering the final episode with perfect courage.

As an aside, I'm not the only one who sees the parallels between these shows.
...I cannot forget Carcosa where black stars hang in the heavens; where the shadows of men's thoughts lengthen in the afternoon, when the twin suns sink into the lake of Hali; and my mind will bear forever the memory of the Pallid Mask. I pray God will curse the writer, as the writer has cursed the world with this beautiful, stupendous creation, terrible in its simplicity, irresistible in its truth - a world which now trembles before the King in Yellow.

- Robert W. Chambers

So, um, I'll eventually be doing recaps/analysis/dissection of True Detective. Probably starting once the show wraps and I've finished The King in Yellow.

After that, maybe I'll get around to doing the same for Twin Peaks.
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