True Detective and the problem with jumping to conclusions

“Do you have a chapter in one of those books on jumping to conclusions? You attach an assumption to a piece of evidence, you start to bend the narrative to support it and prejudice yourself” – Martin Hart, The Long Bright Dark

As True Detective a show that became a phenomenon in the space of two months concludes tonight the most important quote we should remember comes not from once forgotten books like The King In Yellow by Robert W. Chambers but from the opening episode of the show itself.

In The Long Bright Dark, Martin warns Rust about jumping to conclusions and really it serves as a cautionary tale to the audience.

I wonder how people will react to the finale tonight and judging by some of the critical reactions to the previous two episodes I can see it being a bit controversial.

There has been some incredible theories and investigative work done by fans and critics but will people be disappointed when there isn’t much of a twist? The nature of this show is that the clues are there and we are meant to figure it out but as creator Nic Pizzolatto has said he isn’t aiming to trick viewers but now everyone has fallen down the rabbit hole and become obsessed with every little detail will the ultimate answer disappoint? Or will the audience feel satisfied because they figured it out?

With only an hour to go it seems unlikely everything will be wrapped up, even the theory I’ve been obsessed with since The Secret Fate of All Life that Marty’s daughter(s) were abused by the mysterious cult at some point increasingly seems like it may go unanswered.

However the story ends though it is the time spent with these characters that have made it so rewarding, mysteries are enjoyable to a point but if we didn’t have two interesting characters to lead us down the path of the Yellow King and towards Carcosa it really wouldn’t have been as much fun.

Whatever happens in the finale I’ve not experienced a show like this in a while. Sure there was hysteria and hype around Breaking Bad final season last summer but that was a show that had built up its audience over the space of five seasons. True Detective has spawned theories, thoughtful essays, countless memes and parody videos all in the condensed timeframe of two months and that is impressive.

True Detective has captured a secret longing in us all; the reason why crime novels dominate the book market, the reason why characters like Sherlock Holmes are still popular hundreds of years later. We all like to play detective, we all like a mystery to solve. As Rust Cohle warned us though “This is a world where nothing gets solved” and we may have to live that

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