Some Immediate (and likely Spoilerific) Thoughts On True Detective

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I loved it. Really I did. I’m happy I watched it, it built up to something wonderful and defied all of my expectations in a good way and inspired me in my thinking and in my writing. That’s all I ask of entertainment these days. Becky was gone for the evening with her mom and sister so I decided the time was right to get through it and, again, I’m really happy I did.

But.

I also think the first three episodes are tedious, boring, and full of too-earnest posturing and substituting cliches and camera tricks for genuine character development. I’m as big a fan of style over substance as anyone, but the one thing I can’t forgive is boring. And the first three episodes of True Detective are boring. The final image of episode three of a giant man wearing only his underwear and a gas mask was the first glimmer I had that something cool was on the horizon. Episode 4 was better, but still suffered from a lot of the weaknesses of the first three and culminated in a fancy long tracking shot that was shoe-horned into the plot and put on display like a small child displaying his art on the fridge and waiting for everyone to tell him how talented he is.

I was a bit disappointed at the level of ire I received when I mentioned on social media (a number of times) that I didn’t like the show. I wish we could let people express opinions without feeling the need to pile on if they don’t have the same opinion as we do. But as someone who has done exactly the same thing to other people, I really don’t have much of a leg to stand on with this argument.

Something happens though in episode 5 and everything hits high gear. The cops murder a suspect in cold blood, create and elaborate cover-up and then lie to a jury. One of the suspects even blows himself up with a homemade bomb. From that point on I was sucked in. The show was fun. The show seemed like it was having fun. There were creepy set pieces and hints of the supernatural and cool dialogue and everything I look for in a great show. And people told me this would happen. And I expected it would. I’m used to new shows taking some time to get their footing. Unfortunately with only 8 episodes, taking three of them to weed out the crap can be fatal.

When I first started watching Girls, I accidentally watched the second half of the first season first, which is so much better than the first half. By the time I watched the weak half though I was already invested in the show and the characters so I was more tolerant of the weaknesses. I wish I would have had that experience with True Detective. I still think I’m going to go back and watch the first 3 episodes because I know I missed some clues due to being too busy rolling my eyes at Rust’s stupid speeches and screaming at the show to get over itself already.

So yes, I liked True Detective Season One and will be watching Season Two the minute it starts. I’m also going to dig out the Bayou Trilogy I have from Mulholland Books and read about another really cool Louisiana detective.