True Detective Thoughts

10 Mar

I shouldn’t be allowed to watch anything involving crime drama/mystery/basically anything cool or potentially mind-blowing. Why? Because I get too involved and my imagination runs wild with theories like an unbridled pony down an undiscovered beach except this particular pony never stops or sleeps at night because all it does is think excitedly about possible conclusions.

This time, however, I was sort of right about the ending, so I feel like exploring it a bit. If you don’t want to hear anything about HBO’s True Detective, stop reading!

So, basically, I got too into it and after some investigations, suddenly was checking out a case from Louisiana involving sexual abuse and other creepy stuff. Then I read Robert Chambers’ 1895 book of stories titled The King in Yellow, which was suggested because both the show and book, both mystery/horror themed, mentioned Carcosa and a yellow king and a mysterious yellow sign. The stories were good, but also supernatural, which led a lot of people to think the show was going to end similarly.

My mind considered a bunch of theories and in the end I thought to myself, what if this is one thing that ends on a positive note? What if they solve the case and evil doesn’t prevail? What if that’s part of the twist? Sure, everything leading up to it was…sick. We saw a cheating husband, pessimism about life and what happens after death, gangs, kidnapping, sexual abuse, frightening rituals, a big guy in a gas mask and dirty underpants, excessive drinking and drug use, a video of a child being sacrificed and, unfortunately, I’ll never be able to forget how Erroll Childress fingered his half-sister in that dirty house near all those creepy dolls. Jesus.

In the end, light won (or is winning). Carcosa was a place and idea that represented evil and often corrupted innocence. In Chambers’ book, Carcosa is a mysterious, dim, possibly cursed city. I think Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson visited a version of Carcosa in multiple ways throughout the show, but they ultimately don’t allow themselves to be consumed by darkness and are rewarded with another chance. I could go into serious depth here, but if you watched you’ll likely understand.

I like the light vs. dark theme, which of course exists in stories and real life.

In real life, we tell ourselves stories, hide behind stories, tell our children stories and even grew countries and religions out of stories. Stories are everywhere. Those who watched the show watched a story about a story based on a story that references other stories and we ourselves are a story and so on.

I think one theme of the first season asked, “What stories are you surrounding yourself with?” We choose what and who surrounds us and the show reminds us that it’s easy to be led down paths and become consumed by the theme and mood of our interests, stories and beliefs (all of which are our choosing). Interestingly, in Chambers’ stories, anyone who reads The King in Yellow play is driven mad by it. The killer in the show was crazy because of stories and sick rituals, the detectives were in and out of their own versions of “madness” because they were consumed by the case and on our level, anyone who watched may have gone a little crazy with excitement over theories and the mystery of the show.

Now that’s some excellent writing.

Please feel free to share below any thoughts or theories if you watched and want to discuss!


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34 Responses to “True Detective Thoughts”

  1. rheath40 March 10, 2014 at 3:08 pm #

    I loved this series. Mcconaghey and Harrelson were stellar. I imagine that they two detectives end up living together and solving crimes till one of them dies. The story was disturbing, yet phenomenal. As a survivor of sexual abuse, it was difficult to watch but I knew the ‘light’ would prevail.

    My father was a cop for 37 years. He hasn’t shared a lot of his stories with me, but what he has told me would harden anyone. It takes a special kind of person to see that kind of shit and live any semblance of a ‘normal’ life.

    What pissed me off most, was the fact that Erroll Childress and all of his crazy was protected and hidden away for so many years. That’s how evil prevails. When it’s known and swept under the carpet. Or shed. Or stone labyrinth resembling Carcosa.

    Great review La La. Thank you for writing it.


    • La La March 10, 2014 at 3:38 pm #

      And there’s certainly a lot swept under the carpet. Hhhmmm, good call, Renee. Thanks for sharing that. Very cool about your father, I didn’t know he was a cop!


      • rheath40 March 10, 2014 at 3:48 pm #

        You’re welcome my love. Someday I’ll write more about him. Maybe I’ll do an interview. It’d be interesting, to say the least.


        • La La March 10, 2014 at 3:49 pm #

          Please do, that would be great. 🙂


  2. Kathleen March 10, 2014 at 3:33 pm #

    Have you been taking Ambien again? Hmm?


    • La La March 10, 2014 at 3:40 pm #

      Haha, thankfully not. Who knows where my theories would go at that point!


  3. Carrie Rubin March 10, 2014 at 4:10 pm #

    Okay, I had to stop reading because I want to see this show when it comes out on DVD. It looks really good.


    • La La March 10, 2014 at 4:20 pm #

      I look forward to seeing what you think about it from a writer’s perspective, especially someone from your genre!!


      • Carrie Rubin March 10, 2014 at 4:22 pm #

        I hope it comes out soon. I guess I could download it from iTunes, too, but I’d rather watch it on my big screen. Such a tough, first-world conundrum…


        • La La March 10, 2014 at 4:27 pm #

          Haha, I’d be downloading, but I’m so very impatient. HBO GO crashed last night and I had to wait until today to watch the season finale and when I woke up I pretty much ran downstairs like a little kid on Christmas morning.


          • Carrie Rubin March 10, 2014 at 4:28 pm #

            I know the feeling. A fact of which I’m not proud.


  4. Andrew March 10, 2014 at 4:21 pm #

    Is there anything McConaughey can’t do? He’s on fire right now! But a fire that also happens to be really handsome.


    • La La March 10, 2014 at 4:30 pm #

      When you say on fire right now, do you mean Magic Mike? Because I’m hoping you mean Magic Mike. Fine, I guess he also did those other, recent things.


      • Andrew March 11, 2014 at 10:14 am #

        Yeah of course. I thought Magic Mike was implied. Isn’t it even rated R for “excessive handsomeness”?


        • La La March 11, 2014 at 10:28 am #

          It is. They dance to “It’s Raining Men” AND there’s an excessively handsome butt shown, so I understand why it would get such a rating.


  5. Melanie March 10, 2014 at 4:40 pm #

    Somehow I managed to miss this starting and didn’t discover it until ep6, and then I had to go back and find ep1 to know what the hell I had just watched, which led to a six hour True Detective marathon, and more than one “did you drop off the face of the earth” text message. I got hooked, and I’m still hooked which means I’ll have to do some finagling come next season when my free HBO promotion ends.


    • La La March 10, 2014 at 4:45 pm #

      Funny, that happened to me too. What a great binge watch, though, no? I guess HBO was hoping you would get hooked and want to pay for something, haha. If nothing else, find someone with HBO GO and use their account!


      • Melanie March 10, 2014 at 5:12 pm #

        Awesome binge watch. Totally worth the couch time. I’m sure I’ll do it again a time or two.


  6. El Guapo March 10, 2014 at 5:33 pm #

    Haven’t watched it (yet).
    I did just finish an 8 season binge watch of Dexter, so yeah, I understand the show getting under your skin.


    • La La March 10, 2014 at 7:41 pm #

      Haha, I’ve heard great things about Dexter! Looks like you’ve got some more binge watching to do.


  7. Amy Reese March 10, 2014 at 6:57 pm #

    I’ve never seen the show, but now I’d like to! Sounds fascinating. Stories of stories. Indeed, we are surrounded by stories.


    • La La March 10, 2014 at 7:40 pm #

      You should check it out! Xoxo


  8. YankeeDoodleSaudi March 10, 2014 at 7:55 pm #

    I’m obsessed! I watched the finale a few hours ago and it exceeded my expectations. Excellent writing. I’m just sad that they will not be back next season (MM and WH), but that is part of the show’s didn’t draw anything out.


    • La La March 10, 2014 at 8:18 pm #

      I definitely agree and my expectations were also exceeded. MM and WH were an excellent team, but I’m so glad they didn’t draw it out! Thanks so much for stopping by. Now the wait for next season….


  9. timmer March 10, 2014 at 8:07 pm #

    I thought the show was pretty amazing. But what really blew me away was Fukunaga’s direction. He made the deep south its own living and breathing character (which I will now never visit). I’m also on board with this one season and done anthology format. I like my stories completed.


    • La La March 10, 2014 at 8:15 pm #

      The feel the deep south was perfect without actually having to say too much about it. So awesome. Stories completed are good, I agree. When shows draw it out and try to fluff it with other stuff, it seems to end in question marks and disappointment when questions can’t be answered and I think it really takes away from the story. Thanks so much for your comment!


  10. Trent Lewin March 10, 2014 at 9:50 pm #

    I stopped after the second paragraph, sorry dude. I saw some ads for this show, and the McConaughey-Harrelson combo got my attention in a second. Figured that was just plain out weird and unusual, and could only be good. I quickly flipped through, didn’t know it was a book, but interested in checking it out, but the show first perhaps.


    • La La March 10, 2014 at 9:57 pm #

      Let me know what you think! Glad you stopped reading the post. Definitely do some episodes of the show first!


  11. gingerfightback March 11, 2014 at 3:20 am #

    Bit behind with all these shows. Still coming o terms with the demise of Baywatch


    • La La March 11, 2014 at 9:46 am #

      Hang in there, Baywatch just might make a comeback.


      • gingerfightback March 11, 2014 at 5:27 pm #

        I hope so. I bought the shorts and everything!


  12. stephrogers March 24, 2014 at 8:51 am #

    I don’t often read crime stuff, but you may have inspired me. I did enjoy Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punnishment but what I liked about it was the unique way you could identify with the criminal


    • La La March 24, 2014 at 9:30 am #

      Interesting. I have not read it, although I felt that way about Lolita, and it was odd, yet shows the talent in the writing.


      • stephrogers March 24, 2014 at 4:27 pm #

        Oh you should read it! It is so rare when you actually feel yourself identifying with the criminal.


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