BY Anthony Del Vecchio
Asst. A&E Editor
The season finale for the third season of HBO’s hit drama series, “True Detective,” aired on Feb 24, and after a season that was filled with mystery and hyped with anticipation, this final episode gave fans something we were all not expecting.
This season of “True Detective” was unique. Before diving into details, it must be known that there was a lot riding on this recent installment.
The series started with an incredible first season, championed by lead actors Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, who are now executive producers on season three. Then for season two, actors Colin Farrell and Vince Vaughn were brought in, but received mixed reviews.
So, the faith of the viewers was at stake; and now that the season has officially ended, I can confidently say that I’m here to stay.
Of course, no show can be truly without error, even though HBO gets very close. So, yes, there were ups and downs this season; which included a very weird mid-season drop off, where many scenes and plot points seemed underwhelming.
However, despite nit-picking, the third season of “True Detective” kept viewers interested throughout, offered a story that wasn’t generic and even gave viewers enough nostalgia of the first season, without ripping it off whatsoever.
Each season of the series follows a different case, at different points in time, each in a different part of the United States, while all being connected by this larger looming threat; some organization or cult of truly despicable people.
These people target young women, kidnap them, drug them and destroy their lives and the that of the families involved; a problem all too real in the world we live in today.
This season follows Arkansas State Police Department detectives, investigating a case of two missing children. This plot spans three different storylines; first, when the case starts in the eighties. Second, when the case is reopened in the nineties, and then lastly, when the case is turned into a true crime documentary in 2015.
We follow two detectives, Wayne “Purple” Hayes, portrayed by recent Oscar winner Mahershala Ali and Roland West, played by Stephen Dorff.
Ali’s stellar performance is Emmy worthy and if he does win that award, he’ll mirror Matthew McConaughey who won both awards in 2014-2015, for “Dallas Buyers Club” and “True Detective”
What makes this season different, is that even though we follow another duo, the show revolves around the mind and life of Detective Hayes and his wife Amelia Reardon; an Arkansas schoolteacher who also writes a novel about the events of the 1980 investigation, who is played by Carmen Ejogo.
Detective Hayes’ character arch becomes just as interesting as the case he’s working. The mixed time lines let us see him at different stages in life.
He starts out as young new detective, fresh out of recon in Vietnam, but mentally still there and then flashing all the way into his later years, as a grandfather who suffers from partial memory loss.
His doctor tells him he’s fine physically and shows no signs of Alzheimer’s or dementia, yet has something unknown, causing him to hallucinate and encounter ghosts from his past, which help him remember, but also forget.
This is what threw most people off. Instead of the case coming first, we truly focus on Hayes and the last episode proves that. We watch resolutions within the case occur, but not for Hayes and his condition.
Creator of the show, Nic Pizzolatto, who made his directorial debut this season, is also the showrunner and sole writer for the show and made it a point this season, to focus on the character of Hayes, making it a more personal and relatable story.
So, if you’re looking for jaw dropping action around every turn, then yes, you’re probably disappointed with this season and the way it ended; but if you want to follow a genuine story, that will leave your heart pounding and your mind racing, then you’re ready for season three of “True Detective”.
You can explore the entire “True Detective” series on HBO’s streaming platforms.