Mar 10, 2014

I Rue Detective

Why, oh why, do good shows go bad?  Is it peer group pressure?  Are the mediocre and truly lousy shows roughing up the good shows in the back of the studio lots, sticking fingers in their chests and growling, "Yer makin' us look bad, raising the curve. So here's what yer gonna do..." 

In this case, I'm not just talking about a good show, but a great show.  True Detective.  For seven episodes this was some of the best TV ever.   Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson  as the detectives. Michelle Monaghan. All incredible actors. Creepy, creepy murders.  Haunting scenes and cinematography.  Tension up the wazoo.  A plot that made sense and a trail to follow. 

And then, the finale.  Even that was going pretty well until the detectives pull up at the suspect's house.  When they have no cell phone reception to call for back up, do they turn around in the driveway and go get help?  Of course not. These two guys plow ahead on their own.  One goes through the house, the other heads out back and chases the evildoer though high reeds and weeds for a really long time and finally into an abandoned structure that looks like an enormous brick beehive.  The inevitable fight ensues and here's where it all goes south. (Spoiler alert: if you don't want to learn what happens, stop reading.)

McConaughey takes a knife to the gut.  Not just any knife but one that looks like it goes all the way through to his backside; one that creates an enormous, gaping wound that's pumping blood like nobody's business when he later pulls the knife out.  He loses blood at a rate that should kill him in minutes. He, of course, survives.

Harrelson evidently has a map, night vision goggles and word on a shortcut, so he shows up a moment later, just in time to get a hatchet to the chest.  Right through the sternum. Bad guy takes a bullet to the brain and keels over dead. Harrelson drags himself over to McConaughey's side and sits up, completely lucid and seemingly not in pain.  He, too, survives.  What's a little hatchet in the chest when you've got a friend to cheer on? The cavalry arrives a moment later, having received a phone call from Harrelson while he was searching the house.  They, too, seem to have taken a shortcut or mastered time travel.  And they've brought helicopters!

Is it too much to ask that writers follow a few basics?  For example, if a character receives a mortal wound, said character dies.  If the writer doesn't want said character to die, s/he should give them a much less dangerous wound or have the bad guy miss. If it takes one character x amount of time to cover some land, it should take y and z characters the same amount of time. These seem like simple rules to follow.  If these writers had, True Detective could have been truly great.


  1. agreed times a million. also what was with woody harrelson helping him break out of the hospital? so lame. i love you cathy barber!

  2. i just finished binge watching Breaking Bad and haven't had the pleasure of seeing any of this show. Maybe i'll binge watch True Detectives now too. Thanks for the fun romp!

  3. I haven't watched it, and now probably won't. Endings are so difficult, but also so important.