Me and my friends decided to watch series one on a whim. I hadn't heard if it was good or bad, knew nothing of what it was about or how well it had been received. All we knew was it was quite probably going to be about two detectives played by Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey. I love both of these actors and I know in recent times they only star in roles of films that I have really enjoyed.
Woody - The Hunger Games series, Zombieland, Seven Pounds (that one that flopped with Will Smith but was really good) and No Country for Old Men (amazing book). Apparently Woody was also in Friends With Benefits??
Matthew - Interstellar and The Wolf of Wall Street, where he began gaining a reputation as being a real, serious actor at last.
(Let's not talk of their career beginnings. I'm looking at you, Matthew, with those awful romcoms like Failure to Launch with Sarah Jessica Parker, How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days, and Sahara. But
everyone's got to put dinner on the table somehow, I suppose.)
Anyway, based on the credentials of the show's two lead males, it looked good. So we tried, three times, to watch it, but each time we ended up getting bored around 10 minutes in, talking over the top of it, getting confused, and giving up. This didn't bode well. The fourth time, we decided to not talk and really concentrate.
The first episode is good, but not great. The characters are interesting, the plot is set up, and the flashbacks and present timelines intersecting is a really intriguing way of telling the story, because we were all asking, "Where is this going to go? What have the characters done? Who exactly are the real detectives?" For most of the series, there are more questions than answers. The series builds and builds throughout, each episode better than the last, right up until the last two episodes. The ending, for me, fell massively flat.
So we are given a fascinating, intricate plot that keeps you guessing all the time about who could be the ultimate murderer. From episode one, I was convinced either Woody, Marty, or Matthew, Rust, or both were the murderers. I imagined this web of lies, involving the police as was suggested by Matthew all along, with a huge ending revealing everyone who appeared so innocent actually being a part of the ring of murders. The episodes grew in tension and we couldn't turn it off, dying to find out more and the mystery growing deeper and darker.
Woody, Marty, is a character who seems so nice and innocent on the surface, but is really a cheat, abusive to his family, a drunk, and a liar. Matthew, Rust, is a reserved, intelligent, philosophical character who I think we're supposed to dislike but who was my favourite throughout. I loved the long soliloquies where he would talk and teach about some philosophical idea like life being a circle. Because Rust only hurts himself with drugs and drink I didn't think he would be the murderer. Because Marty hurts his family and lost control of his emotions when he shot those men at the covered up drug shoot out I thought it was him. Rust said whoever the killer was had done it before and I thought that was hinting to Marty. Nope.
The last two episodes were confusing. They added irrelevant questions and confusing details that seemed to make no sense and come out of thin air to move the plot along. Then there was the big reveal. Who have they been chasing this whole time?
Only a conventional, fat, red neck character who was like any The Hills Have Eyes or House of Wax stereotypical evil man who is psychotic, inbred, disgusting, fat, unhygenic, in a hillbilly house that's vile. What the hell, True Detective? It promised a perpetrator worthy of the high quality the series had delivered so far, and then they drop this bombshell that actually it was the dude we briefly met that is really tediously attached to the schools, not involved with the police, not involved with anyone just himself and his sister/wife. All the build up, mystery and intrigue were completely let down. The big reveal was just the guy sitting on his little lawnmower muttering to himself and that's how you find out it was him. Right.
Marty and Rust, to catch the killer, have to run through this weird labyrinthine underground hideout where he hid all the bodies. Which got me thinking. If this dude is smart enough to kill and hide them never to be found in his Batman cave thing, then why the hell does he put the very first murdered girl on a damn hill with reindeer antlers and devil gates or whatever those sticks are, for the police to find?! Especially decorating her up with easy clues to connect him with her? Idiot.
So we're in the cave. The guy's there doing this weird voice-throwing thing that has Rust tripping balls seeing skies open in the roof. Then Rust is stabbed, Marty saves him, for Rust to then save him in return. So many mega convenient deus ex machina that just have you rolling your eyes wishing for the end. Then the end comes, by way of an emotional conversation followed by a philosophical conversation that seems like it should be relevant but tries to hard to be #deep. Such a good series ruined by its rushed, sub-par ending. I would think twice about recommending this just because of the disappointment every viewer will inevitably feel.
The first six episodes - 9.5/10
The final two episodes - 4/10
Overall - 7
TL;DR: Watch it for the bromance, but don't get too attached to the storyline.