By Rob Joyce

HBO’s “True Detective” isn’t any ordinary television crime drama. It’s not just a remarkably clever tale about the “good cops,” underdogs going up against powerful, evil and unknown enemies.

The viewer is taken along for a tale that traverses time like no other show has before. Decades pass like minutes in the time frozen bayou of Louisiana, as state police detectives Rust Cohle and Marty Hart, portrayed by Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, investigate a satanic sex abuse and murder conspiracy that intertwines the ancient part, recent past and the contemporary.

The satanic, ritualistic killings of women and children in a poor, rural land of nothingness; the perfect setting to commit a crime. The conspiracy embodies the darkest of evils, now confirmed to be perpetrated by dangerous and powerful public figures, and executed through the innocent guise of rural Christian schools and congregations.

The show’s incorporation of supernatural and satanic themes with a constantly developing mystery plot draws the attention of viewers, while technical achievements like a tense, action-packed, six-minute tracking shot through a housing project (which required a steadicam operator to be hoisted over a tall fence by a crane, mid-shot) keep the viewer glued, begging for more

The attention of detail by the creators in regards to foreshadowing (whether it be false or true, we can only hope to find out) has allowed for mass speculation by the audience. Some theorize that Cohle or Hart are secretly involved in the conspiracy. There is a theory called “The Five Horsemen,” which draws its evidence on the recurring appearance of the number five hidden throughout episodes, representing possibly five killers at the top of the conspiracy.

Throughout the series, the detectives work to uncover what, in the end, could never be fully explained or understood.

“True Detective” has a great storyline — but its greatness doesn’t stop there. If you take the time to step back and view the show for how it is told, you will realize that it is not just a great story, but rather a story about the art that is storytelling. The nonlinear timeline paired with the ambiguity and tenacity of the plot combine into one of the most powerful and captivating television series of all time.

By Leigh Tauss

Matthew McConaughey transforms anamorph style into a Komodo Dragon and bites Woody Harrelson’s head off before blastoid laser cannons burst forth from his forehead and he burns the state of Louisiana to the ground. He bangs Woody’s wife, again, and everyone goes home with lots of Emmys.

No, but seriously, this show has sauntered forward at a snail’s pace. I’m not complaining, I’m loving every painstakingly drawn-out second of it, but c’mon. How long has it been since we knew it was Spaghetti Face behind it all. And we only just see his face in the last second of the second to last episode. I’m going to call bulldogs.

There is no way they are going to find a way to gracefully tie together the remaining loose ends in just one episode. And that’s all they have. There will be no second season, this is it. And they have held the suspense without advancing the plot to the point of diminishing returns.

“True Detective” should take a lesson from final season of the once venerable “Dexter.” When you have an entire season where nothing happens for the sake of holding the audience’s suspense, all you are doing is setting yourself up for a disastrous and sloppy last episode. Or a cop-out cliffhanger.

And that would be the most pathetic option of all. If, after all of this hype, and seriously amazing acting, they just let the story go eternally unresolved, they will have squandered a tremendous opportunity and tarnished the brilliance of the last seven episodes.

However, I’m going to try and remain optimistic.

My prediction for the season finale?

It all goes down in a blaze of glory old western style gun battle. McConaughey kills the big bad, but mortally wounds himself in the process. He dies in Harrelson’s arms and both find some semblance of redemption. Harrelson’s wife refuses to take him back and the last shot of the show is her placing flowers gently on McConaughey’s grave.

Or maybe they don’t catch the guy, they all die, and none of it matters anyway because it’s just a stupid TV show.

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