by Erik Hahmann
It was never about the case. Dora Lange, the Yellow King, Carcosa. Interesting, all of them. But the real story of the season was the relationship between Rust and Marty, which was more ways a traditional buddy cop movie than many realized. The investigation was just a vehicle. Each man, broken as he may be, helped make the other a better person.
And the backlash the finale is getting is a damn shame.
The people who obsessed over this series nearly in the way they did Lost missed the point entirely. They were too wrapped up concocting conspiracy theories and trying to guess which twist would happen next to fully appreciate the greatness happening in front of them. Unlike Lost, which ran for six seasons at nearly 22 episodes a pop, creator Nic Pizzolatto had a singular story to tell in a eight tight episodes.
There wasn’t time for a lot of fucking around with character development, outside of our two stars. The big mystery of the season was revealed at the end of the penultimate episode. We just had to watch our heroes connect the dots. Much like Breaking Bad, the enjoyment was in the journey to the end, not the finale itself. It’s hard to expect, or get, more out of eight hours of television.
Let’s talk more about the finale and season as a whole.
I haven’t seen every role of McConaughey or Harrelson’s careers, but I’ve seen a lot, and this is the best they’ve ever been. McConaughey gets plenty of praise, and rightly so, for playing the odd and twisted Rust Cohle, but Harrelson is under-appreciated as Marty. In a lot of ways Marty is more damaged than his partner, it just manifests itself in more natural ways, and Harrelson played that inner rage to perfection.
I certainly didn’t expect Rust to live after being gutted by Errol.
My favorite line of the season came after Marty figured out the house painting lead. Rust, never one to give any sort of sincere compliment, pinned the picture of the house to the board and said “Fuck you, man” in the most complimentary way possible.
Plans for season two haven’t yet been announced, but the success of this season should help Pizzolatto land a few other big name actors. The limited time commitment (just eight episodes) allows for big name actors to take on roles they normally wouldn’t.