The finale is over, the reviews are in, and the consensus is clear: True Detective Season two swung hard and whiffed. Vox’s Todd VanDerWerff wrote a great piece about all the ways Nic Pizzolatto’s sophomore effort amounted to a big, sloppy mess, but in between all the painful exposition and byzantine plotting, there were flashes of a more interesting show: weird occult tinges, vivid dreamlike worlds, dark humor. True Detective season 2 may not have worked on the big picture level, but it still had some pleasures to offer up.
Variety reports Nielsen estimates 2.73 million viewers tuned into the 90 minute episode. Despite being up more than 500,000 viewers from the previous week, True Detective Season 2’s finale, “Omega Station”, fell short of the 3.52 million who tuned into the closing episode of Season 1.
Michael Lombardo, the president of HBO said that he was enormously proud of the 2nd season of True Detectives, in response to the negative reception it had been receiving. Lombardo also mentioned that HBO is open to a third season if True Detective creator Nic Pizzolatto was up for it.
The show starring Vince Vaughn, Colin Farrell, Taylor Kitsch, and Rachel McAdams wrapped up it’s eight episode second season last Sunday. IGN’s review of the finale said that there was a lot to admire and chastise in a solid, somber finish to a shaky season.
True Detective was essentially about four people who were swallowed up by the world, like neglected, abandoned, or abused children. Kids whose only crime was being born. They grew up to be damaged, lonely, and occasionally cruel adults.
They were brought together for what they thought, briefly, was a higher purpose-the pursuits of justice, which meant different things to each of them, maybe they all saw this quest as a way of starting over or making up for what they had done, or what had been done to them but their union was really just another cosmic prank. They were all doomed, and in the end, the world-the desert, the forest, the ocean, the dark places underground swallowed them back up and it was all done for them.
This season was about a closeted ex-soldier who was trying to outrun his past and the truth about himself, an abused little girl who becomes a knife-wielding sheriff’s deputy, nearly incapable of receiving or giving human affection, an abandoned little boy who becomes a vice kingpin, and a good man who is corrupted by a terrible crime and becomes a criminal, to cope with it.
Now going back to the dream sequence, they all dreamt of escape: of getting back on a motorcycle, of raising children, despite what had been done to them in their childhood; of boarding a boat and going to Venezuela; of escaping with a pocket full of diamonds; of meeting a woman in white, in a park, somewhere far away; of piecing everything together, uncovering a vast conspiracy, bringing guilty parties to justice, and clearing their own names
These are the dreams of people who don’t know any better-the kind that will never come true and it didn’t work.
The light at the end of the tunnel is just the world on fire, the truth is, their whole life was a dream: a dream they had inside of a locked room, of being a person. Most of them died trying to escape that room, trying to wake up from that dream, even the ones that got away will never be the same.
Pizzolatto said that the act of living is largely is a torture, and the only relief is found in the fleeting moments of camaraderie- a night in a motel room, staring at the stars outside of a hospital. Sooner or later, the monster comes for everyone.