While not as strong of an outing as the first season, True Detective Season 3 brings the show back to its glory days and repairs the show’s reputation.
Season Two of True Detective did some major damage to the reputation and foundation laid by the show’s spectacular and widely acclaimed first season, which led to the show going off-air for almost three and a half years.
So when season 3 was announced the major question was whether did creator/writer/producer Nic Pizzolatto had another compellingly epic story to tell? Or was it just a one-time charm that teamed up Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson to perfection?
I for one believe that Pizzolatto has proved himself once again with this edition of two Arkansas detectives struggling to solve the gripping and heart-wrenching mysteries behind the murder of a 12-year-old boy and the disappearance of his 10-year-old sister.
The two leads are played by now two-time academy award winner Mahershala Ali (Moonlight and Green Book) and Stephen Dorff.
All the episodes have aired now and are available for purchase on iTunes and Prime Video. The format is like Season One, with the two lead detectives time-traveling between the year of the crimes, a re-investigation that takes place 10 years later, and the present-day circumstances of detectives Wayne Hays (Ali) and Roland West (Dorff).
There are loads of nods to S1 in the form of marital discords, questionable police work, and even symbolic clues at the main crime scene. The story is set in the small town of West Finger, Arkansas, in the Ozarks, where in November 1980, Will Purcell and his sister, Julie, went riding off on their bikes after promising their father they’d be home by 5:30 p.m. And neither of them returned.
Hays is a Vietnam veteran and expert tracker and West is the golden boy of the department. They get along just fine, both personally and professionally. The continuous back-and-forth, age-appropriate hair changes make for a duo that’s divine, and the chemistry between them is just so powerful that I’m gonna go out, and say that this is some of the finest actings you are gonna see on television this year, there’s this one particular scene at episode 5 which is just one of the most beautifully intense heartfelt scene I have seen in a while.
Ali is phenomenal in all the three life stages, but his performance as the haunted and confused 70-year-old Hays has the strongest resonance.
Carmen Ejogo stars as Amelia Reardon, Hays’s love interest, who’s taught both of the children.
The supporting cast also includes the kids’ father, Tom (Scoot McNairy), his wife, Lucy (Mamie Gummer), a Native-American garbage collector, Brett Woodard (Michael Greyeyes) and the Hays’ fully grown son in 2015, Henry (Ray Fisher). And everybody is just perfect in their job and they really help in lifting the show to the glory.
Season 3 of True Detective isn’t as strong of an outing as its first edition, in which McConaughey’s performance was a true revelation. But it’s a massive improvement over a ridiculous Season 2 which, let’s be honest, sucked.
McConaughey’s Rusty had iconic lines such as “Well, once there was only dark. If you ask me, the light’s winning” and he did such a good job with it that it sounded so amazing coming out of his mouth that nobody even cared if what he said made sense or not.
Hays and West are still nothing in comparison to him. But by the end of the season, I was completely satisfied with what I had watched and witnessed. And I think you’ll also stick through the entire season and will enjoy it as much as I did.
While it’s not as strong of an outing as the first one, True Detective Season 3 brings the show back to its glory days with a Season 1 like setting and vibe, and with gripping and heart-wrenching mysteries surrounding the case where Mahershala Ali’s spectacular performance and his chemistry with Stephen Dorff are more than enough reason to watch it.