This season of True Detective maddens the viewer with its baroque inconsistency. Writer and creator Nic Pizzolatto has thus far created a slew of compelling characters, clichés, conveniences, complications, and schmaltz, with the final episode, directed by John Crowley, including more of the same.
At its best, mixing these contradictory elements created compelling television. In one scene, a major character is stabbed and left to die in the dessert. Pizzalotto puts a nice spin on the classic “my life passed before my eyes” cliché by having the character walk by a series of hallucinations. Ghosts of the character’s past pop up, ending with a final mirage of the victim’s partner. There is a nice little detail whereupon seeing the second character, the first goes from walking with a limp to his signature confident stride—tipping the viewer off that it’s not just a vision, but that even the walking was a dream. The character turns to look at the corpse and then the camera cuts to a wide shot of the body falling and then disappearing.