After eight thrilling, rapidly popular episodes, ‘True Detective’ came to an end on Mar. 9 with one of its tensest, scariest episodes yet. Rust and his less philosophical partner Marty were able to close the case that haunted them for 17 years (not without a few flesh wounds though), but did they really conquer darkness?
After a pins and needles climax in the True Detective finale in which Rust Cohle (Matthew McConaughey) and Marty Hart (Woody Harrelson) end up in Carcosa and finally take down the man who evaded them for nearly two decades, Rust sits in his hospital room — recovering from a gruesome stab wound to the gut — and listens to a news report say that authorities have denied any connection between Louisiana senator Edwin Tuttle and this massive generation-spanning web of pedophilia, abduction, and murder. But we know that’s about as far away from the truth as you can get.
‘True Detective’ Finale: Did Anything Change?
“We didn’t get them all,” Rust tells Marty in the season’s final scene. And he’s right.
Yeah, both detectives (Rust is the show’s MVP, but the finale proved that the shows title could easily be plural) used their incredible instincts to connect Errol Childress — the scar-faced Spaghetti Man — to the string of child abductions and murders that riddled Southern Louisiana for decades; And yeah, they used superhero-level strength — Rust somehow managed to throw a few headbutts despite having a knife buried in his stomach — to take Errol down, but he was really just a piece of the puzzle.
If you ask me, Errol was not the Yellow King. No person is. The Yellow King is an idea, a god for sick men to praise.
Errol, the incest-loving, British accent-having monster, was just the caretaker of Carcosa. He was the last surviving member of a ritualistic black cult. (That is, if you believe Senator Tuttle’s hands are clean, even though his entire family was filthy.) Errol was a bigger fish than Reggie and Dewall Ledoux, but killing him basically has the same result. Time is a flat circle.
At the end of the season finale, Marty is right to look up in at sky and notice that darkness seems to be overpowering. No matter what he and Rust do, it’ll never be enough.
The Journey Of Rust & Marty In ‘True Detective’
But that, I’ll admit, might be looking at things in too grand of a scale. The point of True Detective was never catching the Yellow King or solving a serial killer mystery — it was about the journey of two “true” detectives. In that sense — only considering Rust and Marty — the finale did have a successful resolution.
After falling into a coma thanks to Errol’s knife, Rust wakes up a new man. The guy who ranted episode and episode about the futility of human life, and how every person with a shred of spirituality is just a scared idiot staving off the reality that there is no afterlife, felt his deceased daughter and father during his near-death experience. They were with them — their spirits didn’t die with their bodies. And all at once he realized that humans having sentience is not a cruel joke.
So when he looks up into that sky, he doesn’t notice the overpowering darkness. The way he sees it now, the sky used to be much darker and it’s been getting lighter — goodness has been winning out recently. On the surface it seemed like a corny line to end a fantastic show on, but it speaks volumes to Rust’s journey of redemption and resurrection.
He and Marty will never be able to take down all evil, but they can try to do their part.
What did you think of the True Detective finale, HollywoodLifers? Let us know.
— Andrew Gruttadaro