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‘True Detective’ finale recap: Light at the End of the Tunnel

HBO’s “True Detective” ended its first season on a high note.  Rust and Marty got their man, but more importantly, they found redemption for their pasts in “Form and Void.”

His family forgave Marty for the years of cheating and general hypocrisy in morals, and Rust was able to forgive himself for the death of his daughter after having a pseudo-religious experience during his coma.

Before they found redemption though, they had to go to the hell-on-earth of Carcosa, where Errol Childress was waiting, and playing doctor with his stepsister.

Nic Pizzolatto, the creator of “True Detective,” opened up episode 8 with a shirtless and scarred Errol standing over his decomposed father suggesting that he should be hosed.  Right off the bat, we are thrown into Errol’s domain and everyday life, which involves impressive British accents and black-and-white Cary Grant movies.  I was surprised to see his stepsister come through the hallway and ask if he had a good walk outside.  I pictured Errol to be more of the hermit type.

Director, Cary Joji Fukunaga, does an excellent job showing Errol’s vision throughout the opening scene, with all of the Cajun bird traps, disfigured dolls and piles of garbage in the house.  But the most disturbing bit of Errol in the beginning comes when he’s busy painting yellow on the wall of a school when the kids are out on recess.  He creepily stares at the kids, likely wondering whom his next victim will be.

So now we know where Errol lives.  Rust and Marty seem to be getting closer but they are hitting a bit of a roadblock after interrogating Steve Geraci.  Afterwards, Marty finds a clue once he realizes that the picture of a freshly, green painted house in one of the files could tie to the green ears in the spaghetti monster drawing.  The scene was a pleasant little bromance moment between the two. Marty explains his clue and Rust, in agreement just says, “Fuck you man,” in a drawn out tone.

After they follow up with the woman who lived at the house, Rust and Marty dig up some tax records that leads them to identify the man with scars on his face as Errol.

The hunt is on.  And the bromance continues.  During a car ride, Marty had to ask Rust about the fight and whether he was holding back.  This leads to some bickering, and Marty tells Rust that he is hard to like because he rejects everything. Rust goes on an existential rant of his own about judgment.  Ahh, it’s good to have them back together.

I didn’t know what to think of Marty’s talk with Detective Papania about the case when he told Marty to be ready if he ever called.  In hindsight this was a key moment.

Right when Rust and Marty pull up to Errol’s house things didn’t seem right.  Rust began getting an ashy aluminum taste in his mouth and Errol was watching them from his shack where his father was decomposing.  The action really heats up when the dog yelps out and Rust chases after the noise.

As he’s standing in front of a wall with paintings of people with deer antlers, Errol almost begs Rust to chase after him.  And he does.

Meanwhile, Marty broke into the house and is scouring through rooms looking for a phone to call Detectives Gilbough and Papania.

Since Rust is a total badass, he doesn’t wait for Marty to take on Errol.  He goes right into the pre-civil war fortress shrouded in moss and follows Errol’s haunting voice.  I loved how Errol was calling him “Little Priest.”  And the fact that Rust was dressed in a white dress shirt and black pants made him look a bit like a disheveled man of God.

Like any team of heroes, Rust and Marty had to go to the belly of the beast for the final battle.  Carcosa was the embodiment of the Cajun bird traps created by Errol.  But through the twisted branches and mummified bodies, Rust and Marty make it to the center of the fortress.

Remember those psychedelic visions Rust experiences?  Well, one, in the form of a galactic vortex, pops up right when Errol comes out of nowhere and attacks him with an axe.  Rust tries to get out of the way of another blow but Errol sticks a knife right through his gut and whispers, “take off your mask,” which references Robert W. Chambers’ 1895, collection of short stories, “The King in Yellow.”

At this point, I thought Rust was screwed and the show was going to end with both of them dying in the labyrinth that is Carcosa.  But Marty had Rust’s back and shoots Errol a couple of times.  Errol takes the shots in stride and ends up throwing the axe into Marty’s collarbone.  I again thought Rust and Marty were screwed, but just as Errol attempts to deal the deathblow to Marty, Rust takes a last gasp shot and blows Errol’s brains out.

Luckily, Marty made that call to Papania and the police force comes and saves them.

I thought the show was going to end at this point, but we see them in the hospital recovering.  Marty seems jollier, especially after his family forgives him and he truly opens up, even cries in front of them.  Rust, on the other hand, isn’t doing too well.

Rust needs his bro.

Marty wheels him outside and gives him the best present Rust could ask for, a pack of Camel cigarettes.  As the two look up into the sky and talk about Rust’s experience within the void, things finally felt like they were coming to a close in the season.

Personally, I feel Pizzolatto presented the ultimate twist to his viewers.  There were so many theories about how this show would end, that I think that many disregarded a happy ending as even a possibility.  But that’s exactly how it ended, Marty and injured Rust released from the hospital as redeemed men, not fallen heroes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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