Welcome to the final episode of True Detective season one, in which you say goodbye to one of the most epic fictional detectives ever and all your fan theories are proven wrong.
Horror Movie Hillbillies
What a disappointment it was to see that the scarred man, who popped up mowing lawns and giving directions in the most ominous way possible, was not much more than a horror movie cliché. His name is William Lee Childress and he’s nothing new. In a show that constantly pushed the boundaries of what a detective show could be, Childress was just another retread of what’s been done a dozen times before.
The opening scene has him threatening a tied up victim with crazy nonsense, even telling the silent, obscured victim to “be good and I’ll give you some water” (Spoiler alert: it was not an alive person). Then he went into a house filled with creepy dolls with smashed in faces and a disheveled, barefoot wife who is completely ignorant to the insane goings ons (She also calls having sex “making flowers,” Gross). They don’t even have a phone. In 2012! Childress’s impressions of movie star accents (English, Australian, posh, etc) was a bit different, but it was mostly a cliché setting with cliché characters.
The Devil’s in the Details
Cohle and Hart find out Childress’s identity because he painted a house. They used the internet to find records of his business and then found out his whole family history. I love the ultimately something so mundane was his downfall. It wasn’t a flashy reveal, but this show never relied on that.
The setting for the final action sequence was bonkers. From above it looked like a hidden fortress, covered in grass due to underuse. Inside was filled with stone tunnels and the creepiest things you can imagine, including more of those stick figures, spider webs, and a mummy. A mummy!
Cohle’s struggle with his own brain has been an ongoing thread. When he enters a room at the end of the tunnel, he sees the swirling universe in yet another one of his hallucinations. It’s the hallucination that gets him in trouble, distracting him from his surrounding. Childress stabs Cohle and picks him up like he’s one of the faceless creepy dolls in his sister-wife’s collection.
Hart shoots Childress, but like most impossible fictional serial killer characters, two bullets aren’t enough to put him down. He throws a weapon (a sharp hammer?) at Hart and it stabs him too. Just as he’s about to give the final fatal blow to Hart, Cohle shoots him in the head. The fight played out just like many final battles in serial killer stories. However, it was more intense, especially due to the fact that these characters wouldn’t return for another season. Still, it would have been great to see something different than the usual.
Tuttle and his school of molestation gets off with barely a scratch. Although the local news has brought up his name in the killings, he’s brushed it off by claiming he’s not related to Childress. (He is.) As Marty says, “Ain’t gonna get them all. That’s not the world we’re living in.”
A Severe Lack of Maggie
Maggie shows up to comfort Marty in the hospital. At least she got to see him cry in her last moments on screen.