Friday, February 28, 2014

Why You Need To Drop Whatever You Are Doing Right Now and Watch True Detective

Seriously, stop whatever you are doing right now.

If you are an HBO subscriber already, high five! Get some snacks and astronaut diapers, then park your ass on the couch and catch up. The first 6 episodes of True Detective are On Demand right now.

If you aren't an HBO subscriber, either sign up right now or get cozy with a friend who is. Pronto.

You have to watch this show. No, really. Whatever else you had planned will wait.

I'm not going to write any spoilers in this post, so go on and read it. It should make you want to watch it if you aren't already.

And then once you are watching it we can talk about the things that happen and share our theories about who the Yellow King is and ohmygod did you see that???


I need answers.

The series is the brainchild of Nic Pizzolatto. I feel compelled to sit him down and interview him and ask him what the hell happened to him during his childhood. Honestly.

Conceived as a crime drama, it will run several seasons, with a different set of characters and a different story each season. It is dark and mysterious and disturbing in so many ways at once that it's hard to wrap your head around the plot and all the sub plots going on at the same time.

I find myself thinking about the episodes for days after they air, still sorting things out in my head. I have said what the fuck aloud during the show more than once.

The main characters are Marty Hart, played by Woody Harrelson, and Rust Cohle, played by Matthew McConaughey. They are both detectives, partners in the Lousiana State Police, and the plot centers on the investigation of the murder of a young woman.

Harrelson is mindblowingly good in this role, as a deeply conflicted man with a total lack of self awareness and self control. He sees the world as he wants it to be, always neglecting to hold himself to the standards he demands that others live up to. He is impossibly stubborn with a penchant towards violence and personifies everything we expect the bad cop to be.

While Harrelson is mindblowingly good, McConaughey is something otherworldly. Cohle is a man with a past that it hurts to even remember, a man who seeks answers to the questions he asks in any and every way necessary. He plays the good cop so well, so convincingly, that he is able to extract confessions from even the unlikeliest of suspects. He has a hefty set of his own demons to contend with, ones that show themselves more with every episode. His performance is nothing short of magnificence. I don't even have adequate words to describe just how good he is in this.

Whatever awards they make for acting in a cable series, he needs to win them. All of them. He is that good.

The two men are at odds with one another almost immediately and that tension grows and grows as the series progresses. I anticipate it will only become a more pressing concern in the remaining episodes, the issue of whether these two vastly different characters can remember what they are supposed to be doing here.

Seeing who they are in the beginning of the story, and who they transform into is a fascinating study in humanity. The portrayal of it is so believable that you will begin to wonder if McConaughey hasn't really gone off the deep end in real life.

This show gives me hope that intelligent, well written, superbly acted television can be resurrected from the ashes of the fires of reality television hell.

Once this season is over, I fully intend to revisit the show to discuss the plot and the back stories present. I want SO BADLY to talk about the rampant gender issues present, about the role of the church, about how frightening it is that people like this exist in real life. I want to. But I will wait.

Go watch it.

Then we'll talk.

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