Just Thoughts on: True Detective S01E08-“Form and Void”

Well, I sure wasn’t expecting that. The time skip earlier in the series made me think we would get a montage of them catching everybody in a really rushed sequence of events. It was either that or they were killed. Otherwise the episode just wouldn’t deliver on the resolution that I was confident they were able to. Well, it turns out that I was wrong. I think that they created the ending that they wanted.

Early on the creator was talking about how it was about the characters and not the mystery. While the mystery essentially lasted until the end of the season, it was merely a driving force at the end of the day. The show decided that what was important was Rust and Marty. I’ve been saying that in defense of the show and yet I didn’t even stop to consider that the final episode would be about the completion of their arcs.

This episode really felt short. We get the discovery of who they’re after. Then the dramatic buildup of their pursuit, the climax during the fight scene, and finally the falling action that wraps up their character arcs. Yet, there are still others who were involved in the ritualistic murder that aren’t accounted for.

This article is already so late so going point by point feels pretty useless now. So, let’s just stick with some key moments.

The first one I’d like to touch on is Rust’s last hallucination. We see a universe, or a flat time circle, or something. It’s not immediately clear what it is and not much time is allotted to it as redneck attacks at that moment. It’s a pretty brutal attack so I don’t blame the show for moving on and focusing on that bit of action. My interpretation of what the hallucination represented was that it was the culmination of Rust’s investigation. He finally reached the end of this obsession. Here he was at the cusp of realizing the time is a flat circle theory. At the end of this journey is the redneck. It’s very possible that this man could kill Rust and reset the cycle. Or something like that. I’ve never been clear on what it means on the individual level. He’s so close to what he’s been chasing.

The next moment is Marty’s reaction to his family visiting him. This one left me really questioning what it meant. Other moments I was waiting for more and more information to reveal itself. Here, it was a similar thing, except at the end of it I was left with a distinct feeling of unfinished business. I was pretty lost. Hell, I’m still not clear on what the scene meant. The only explanation that makes any sense is it was Marty finally realizing the extent of his actions and how they affected his family. Well, not only that, but that when push came to shove, they were still there for him despite his actions. There’s a certain guilt that comes along with undeserved devotion.

Of course, the other moment was the resolution of Rust’s arc. He wakes up after the attack and feels out of place. He thinks he shouldn’t be there. Some reviewers took that as the clich├ęd route of what is essentially survivor’s guilt. However, Rust explains his feelings in the parking lot with Marty. Rust finally got what he wanted in his near-death experience. He was finally content. He was reuinited with his daughter and got to experience some of the truths he was searching for. However, despite getting everything he thought he always wanted, he didn’t stay there. He was still alive. While initially that seems to be a huge pain and burden on him, Rust realizes that the reason he came back is that his attitude has changed. Well, it’s changed enough that he has something to live for now. If he said what it was, I don’t know. Still, the desire to live isn’t something that needs an end-goal to be valid.

I’m really glad this show exists. I doubt I’ll revisit it for a few years though because it felt like there was no real mystery with hints littered along the way. It was a little more complex than it could have been but it ended up being straightforward. However, the strong acting and directing makes this a show that shouldn’t be missed and it’s enough to make me come back later.

Recommendation: You already saw it three weeks ago.

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