True Detective Review: Hello Darkness, My Old Friend

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Rust may have held something back when he and Marty fought in the parking lot the day Rust quit, but there were no punches pulled when it came to the season finale of True Detective.

As the end of the season approached, with just a couple episodes left, I had trouble imagining how Marty and Rust would wrap everything up.

I've since realized that was large in part because I simply didn't want the season to end.

Rust at the Bar

What we got in True Detective Season 1 Episode 8 was a fitting conclusion to one of the best seasons of television I have seen in years. It was a finale packed with all the elements of the show which have made it so compelling to watch.

After Rust flexed his confession copping skills on the boat, Marty pitched in by solving one of the biggest enigmas of the case. I had assumed, like many, that the green ears were a pair of green earmuffs worn by Errol while cutting grass, but the house paint twist was great. The tiny detail, a single photo, sent the pair off to do some serious forensic accounting.

While they were getting closer to finding Errol, we got multiple glimpses at just how twisted an individual we were dealing with. His mental state was as scarred as his face, highlighted by the various character voices we heard come out of his mouth.  A chill ran up my spine as those school children ran out onto the playground, unaware of the monster that stood above them leering down.

As Rust and Marty followed him deeper into that old stone fort, they came face to face with multiple haunting images, like the dangling shoes of children, piles of their discarded clothes and several mummified corpses.

The man with the scars had been described as a giant, but it wasn't until he stabbed and picked Rust up off the ground that we got a real perspective on how big Errol actually was. He was without a doubt the man they were looking for.

His father's house, which he shared with his half sister, looked like American Hoarders met American Horror Story for an extreme home make-under. I had a hard time picturing other members of some cult hanging out there, particularly ones like suspected member Senator Tuttle.

The fort, though, was another story. With all its trophies and the labyrinth of tunnels ending in the altar room with the disk shaped hole in the ceiling, that structure had a more ritualistic feel.

Errol was definitely part of something bigger. His dad most likely was as well, but at some point Errol decided to get some payback for what he had done to his face. His face looked a whole lot better than his head did, however, after Rust squeezed one off to save Marty. 

At the hospital we listened along with Rust to a news report that mentioned how the state and the FBI discredited the rumors that Errol was linked to Senator Tuttle and his family. Marty and Rust got their guy but not all the guys. 

Rust could have slipped away. The way he described feeling his daughter and dad's love in the darkness was practically palpable. The man who had pooh-poohed any notion of an afterlife earlier in the season was talking about his daughter waiting for him on another ethereal plane.

He was ready to accept the darkness, but then woke up. Something pulled him back to this world. As painful as it was to have felt then lost that love, he seemed okay with it. Like he still had work to do.

Then at the end, when Marty remarked how the darkness seemed to be winning the battle against the light of the stars, Rust showed an uncharacteristic level of optimism as he noted how in the beginning, there was nothing but darkness.

Once there was only dark. If you ask me, the light is winning.


I know the show's stars haven't signed on for True Detective Season 2, but the fact that both characters lived through the ordeal, has me hoping they somehow might. Matthew has his Oscar. Woody's crusade to legalize marijuana is claiming more and more victories.

Why not come back for another run?!?

Whether it's Marty and Rust or another pair of detectives, I felt like the door was left open for someone to continue the search in Season 2 for the other Carcosa members from that video tape. McHarrelson or not, I will certainly be back for another round, how about you?


Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (89 Votes)

One question still sticks with me: How did the cops know to come? The packets weren't supposed to be sent for 24 hours and they had no phone service.

@ Suzanne

The cops came because Marty was given a phone by the crazy half-sister. It was not explicit--but at the end of his scene with her, he was demanding a phone...and was prepared to hurt her to get it. BTW, part of the beauty of "True Detective" is that they don't show everything--especially the gore.


This has got to be one of the worst reviews I've read. I loved the finale, but this piece had to have literally been written by one of the stupidest bro-trash pieces of trash on this planet. Horrible. Underthought and underwritten.

C f ohara
@ Brian

Well I guess it's like Rust said. "Everybody judges all the time."

@ Brian

Could you BE anymore harsh????????


Only 8 episodes! Excellent show. McConaughey and Woody were superb.


I didn't want it to be over either. Such an amazing show - where the characters themselves were just as important - maybe more - than the case they were investigating over the decades. The writing was brilliant, and the characters were amazing and well-acted. If Breaking Bad set the standard for series writing, this one set the standard for anthologies. Rust and Marty's discussion about Rust's tendency to "see things" kind of surprised me. It's possible they discussed it before, but I didn't recall it. Rust describes it as something that doesn't go away or get better - leaving me to believe he's suffering from a mild form of schizophrenia. Yet another layer in the onion of his character. What an amazing show.

@ Douglas Wolfe

Rust has Basically senses get miswired: tasting sounds, seeing sounds as colors, etc. I believe Rust's was tasting some other sense but I don't recall which one it was.


I think I'd like to see Harrelson, Danson and the principles from Cheers doing a really serious gritty crime drama.


This story is over. It is an anthology show, similar to American Horror Story, where the next season has all new characters and a new story. Theoretically, some of the actors could return playing new characters, but McConaughey already said in interviews right after the Oscars that he won't be back. The creator already has most of next season written and it stars 3 main characters. It will be interesting to see who they cast.

C f ohara
@ Jim

Oh I am sadly aware of that being the plan for season 2. I just felt like there was so much left that wasn't addressed. All the speculation about Marty's daughter, his father in law, the identities of all the 5 horsemen etc.
Rust listening to the news report that the FBI had discredited any ties to Senator Tuttle and his family was like a gut shot. Yes they got their guy like Marty said, but there was more to it. While I like the anthology approach, I felt like there was enough left unsolved to continue the story. It was like if The Wire had ended with Avon going to jail while Stringer still ran the business behind the scenes.


Next season: Woody and Brother Mouzone...mark my words...


I didn't think it was clear yet that there would even be a Season 2..................maybe I am wrong?????? I, too, also think Woody and Matthew could continue on next season............we can hope.........although from everything I'm reading seems unlikely............... Chris, if they don't, then who would you like to see be on next season?????? I had my doubts that they'd wrap everything up on the finale.........but I was proven wrong..........................

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True Detective Season 1 Episode 8 Quotes

It's hard to find something in a man who rejects people as much as you do.


Something's been bugging me the last ten years. Not ever day, just now and then. When we went at it, the day you quit, were you holding back?