True Detective season 3 a great but flawed return


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Grant Wheeler

The latter half of this season of True Detective has proved to be just as gorgeous, surreal and equally frustrating as the first half of the season.

Things picked up right in the middle of chaos this mid-season– pitting detectives Hayes and West right in the middle of the convoluted search for the Purcell children. I’ll spare you plot details in consideration that this show is primarily a mystery, but that’s never what True Detective has really been about.

This show is an examination of people, the environment around them and how that environment impacts their lives. As mentioned in my review of the first half of the season, I pointed out that the show’s atmosphere plays an integral role in the story and development of the plot– the most welcomed return from season one.

With a great stroke of luck, this season managed to accomplish that same feat, but to a lesser degree. The eerie fog of the Ozarks will linger in the mind of the viewer long after they’ve detached themselves from this show, as will the characters that inhabit those mountains.

This season was very ambitious in regard to taking on three separate timelines in the story, and that’s where this season also started to really fall apart for me.

Initially it was really interesting that the show decided to take that approach, but as you near the last few episodes it felt as if things got rushed to tie up all the loose ends in the story (there were several.) This really threw a monkey wrench into things for me, and made something that felt genuinely profound instead discombobulated.

As Hayes’ state of confusion increases throughout the series, so does ours– unintentional irony? However, one thing that consistently drew me in this season was how greatly portrayed the characters were.

This season made use of the great acting at its disposal and delivers career bests by Ali, Dorff and Carmen Ejogo. The relationship between Hayes and his wife is the center point of the emotion in this season – putting you in the middle of all their highs and lows. That same emotion is instilled in the relationship between partners Hayes and West as well – you’re truly invested in these people by the time everything’s a wrap.

Hearkening back to earlier, this show is a show about people. Both of the detectives’ solemn search for purpose outside of the badge is one of the most haunting elements of this season that works so effectively.

Everything that happens throughout this season leads into a convoluted crescendo in the finale.

By the way – what a great scene that was between Ali and Michael Rooker! I’m still mad about the way that played out. Some great emotional highs are hit as well as some plot related lows, but luckily you don’t have to experience the latter until near the end of the seaso fn– everything else is textbook great True Detective.

All in all, this season was a great but flawed return to form.

Rating: 7.1/10