Its been a long time since I reviewed a TV show episode by episode, or at least focused on the overall season. The last show I covered episode by episode was Lost, and the last season I reviewed overall was Season 1 of Game of Thrones. So I present to you folks my short, not really in-depth enough thoughts on True Detective’s first episode. I wrote all of these entries last year:

True Detective Season 1 Episode 1: The Long Bright Dark

Opening in the Deep South and focusing in on a case that had long been thought solved in 1995, the HBO show True Detective utilizes flashbacks and flash forwards for a season centering around two Louisiana State CID’s, Rust and Marty. These former partners are being interviewed, or more likely interrogated, by current detectives because someone has been killed in the same fashion as the girl that they found in a field over a decade prior. Having fallen out after years of working together, Marty and Rust are grilled separately, each giving accounts of what transpired during the murder investigation. In the process certain elements come to light, and we begin to get a certain picture of who these men are and how they think.

This is especially made clear in a scene in which Rust offers his darkly humorous and brutal outlook on humanity after Marty unfortunately asks Rust what his belief system is. Matthew McConaughey breaks free of his movie persona here, delivering a brooding monologue that Woody Harrelson reacts to quite strongly, which in turn was funny and rather apt given the nature of what Rust had just said. Its interesting that Marty’s wife, Maggie, wants Rust to meet Marty’s family, as the two men seem to have little in common and Rust is no longer a family man. Perhaps curious to see who has her husband’s life in his hands, although maybe also a typical formality of sorts. What occurs as a result of that decision is Maggie realizing what Marty already knows: that Rust is on edge, teetering on that line between sanity and madness.

Another choice moment is when Rust in the interview forces one of the detectives to get him a six pack of Lone Star as he continues to chain smoke away during their questioning. The first episode concludes with a rather nice puzzling quote that does not come across as typical or cliche based on how McConaughey delivers the line. Harrelson and McConaughey display a natural rapport and connection in this show, playing off of one another and reflecting their fantastic talents onscreen. I’m looking forward to viewing the rest of the series based on this gorgeously shot, bleak and neatly directed episode.

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