‘True Detective’: Finale Delivers Twists, Turns and Scented Meat

true detective finale woody harrelson

Sunday’s finale of “True Detective” will undoubtedly be in for a multiplatform dissection by fans of HBO’s oh-so-moody, incredibly creepy eight-episode murder-mystery series.

SPOILER ALERT: Discussion of Sunday’s finale follows:

“True Detective” has been hailed as a revelation for stars Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, and it has made an overnight sensation of writer Nic Pizzolatto, who had little smallscreen experience before fielding the story of odd-couple Louisiana detectives Rust Cohle (McConaughey) and Marty Hart (Harrelson).

The show has drawn much attention for the Southern-flavored literary prose delivered by Cohle’s character. Sunday’s finale was a roller-coaster road of disturbing plot twists, as the pair finally close in on serial killer who has committed unspeakable evil for decades, and extended exchanges between Cohle and Hart that enhanced the Butch-and-Sundance bond between their characters.

One of the bits that captured the show’s oddball humor came after one of Cohle’s trademark out-there, mumbled pronouncements on the nature of man, and his remark about people being “sentient meat” (at least I think that’s what the line was). Hart waits a beat after Cohle stops talking and then asks, in all earnestness, “what’s scented meat?

By design, “True Detective” was crafted to be an anthology format, with cast and characters changing each season. There is no plan at present for McConaughey or Harrelson to revive their characters. But who knows — maybe there’s a touch of foreshadowing in the line that Hart says to Cohle in the show’s closing moments, after a raw emotional breakdown by Cohle that will surely be on McConaughey’s Emmy submission reel later this year.

As the pair vividly demonstrate their need for each other  — with Hart holding up a still-recovering Cohle as he tries to make a break from the hospital to his car — Hart tells his friend: “It occurs to me that you’re un-killable.”

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  1. CM Miller says:

    When Hart made the ‘scented meat’ comment I spit out my drink. The way the actors played against each other was brilliant. I’ll take one great season over several mediocre ones any day. Rusts’ emotional breakdown in the wheelchair…there’s no better acting. Bravo, fellas.

  2. El Roi says:

    A brief, but in my opinion as a fan, accurate review of the TD finale. I can’t believe that there are a**hole “critics” out there saying that the finale wasn’t that great. These are probably the same dip-sh*ts that though “24” was the greatest show ever. I thought the TD finale was great. Rusts obsession with finding the real killer ended up helped bring Marty’s family back to him. That was some emotional stuff and Woody played it incredibly. Then Rust’s breakdown about his daughter and father and his almost letting go of life was again very emotional and Matt played it wonderfully. The “there used to be only dark, but the light is winning” thing was a sign that Rust was beginning to emerge from his own darkness. I’ve been a huge TV junky since childhood and thus, am usually very critical of any new series. In my junky opinion, this was one of the best series (or mini-series as the case may turn out to be) to ever be on TV.

  3. ericcartman23 says:

    Extremely over-rated series that really doesn’t do justice to the old HBO. I really liked the pilot while the rest of the season was just so common and the writing so “above the average”. The finale was incredibly mediocre with that b-horror movie serial killer. It’s just a commercial series with big actors, nude scenes put there just to trick viewers into it. Obviously, compared to the crap they put on TV nowadays(sadly Television as an ART MEDIUM died in 2007-2008), i still enjoyed it, but it sucks that this commercial stuff gets more recognition than Treme, which has been the best TV-Series on air from 2010 to 2013. It also sucks how that they had to copy from various TV-Series, mainly the legendary Millennium.

    • El Roi says:

      “Millennium?” Obviously, you are a sucker for crap network TV. Obviously, True Detective was way over your head, huh? Stick to the crap on regular network TV and leave cable series to people who have a brain capable of comprehending it. However, I do agree that Treme was excellent and should have gotten much more recognizance.

  4. The show was magnificent in the presentation of the facts and the truth of the actors personality were in perfect form, Story line was done so well It scares me to death as the reality of the story as it is a full front assault that wakes ones nerve cell right up,,, those Tuttle’s and Childress of Louisiana…. man to live a life like that. The choice to leave the most provocatively evil senses to the last episode was an excellent happening! Wendy Coulton

    • El Roi says:

      Sorry Wendy, I mistakenly replied to the comment above yours.

    • El Roi says:

      “Millennium?” Obviously, you are a sucker for crap network TV. Obviously, True Detective was way over your head, huh? Stick to the crap on regular network TV and leave cable series to people who have a brain capable of comprehending it.

  5. Annette says:

    Loved the characters, couldn’t have found better actors to play the parts. That’s the reason I wanted to watch it in the first place. I’m from New Iberia, LA and loved seeing our little area in the series. I hope they do a movie together about Rust and Marty!!!

  6. K.D. says:

    Gotcha. Thanks much!

  7. I really enjoyed the whole 8 episodes. The finale did a fine job. And Rust and Marty, their characters need no further expansion

  8. Kevin Doyle says:

    “Once there was only dark. If you ask me, the light’s winng.”

  9. K.D. says:

    About as inventive and well executed a procedural as you can get. But just one question – what was the very last line uttered by Cole, before fade out? I replayed it three damn times, at high volume, and still couldn’t make out the words. Was like listening to “Louie Louie” when we were kids.

    • Chris W. says:

      Rust: “You’re looking at it wrong, the sky thing”
      Marty: “How’s that?”
      Rust: “Well once there was only dark. If you ask me, the light’s winning”

  10. I was really disappointed in the True Detective finale. Very anticlimactic. No twists and nothing surprising.

    Which begs the question – why is it so hard to right the finale episode of a series?

    • I thought the ending was perfect. This was less a show about “who did it?” and more about men confronting their true selves. That’s what NBC’s Law and Order is for. The fight in the Yellow King lair showed a lot of that, especially when Rust was hallucinating (IMO) with the voices and that galaxy vision. They could have been a little less stereotypical with the Childress’ living environment, but otherwise I liked it.

  11. paulallee says:

    I can’t thin of a show I’ve enjoyed more. And there are so many great shows to choose from these days, with Boardwalk Empire, Shameless, Walking Dead, Breaking Bad – this one, so far, was the king, in my view. Just superlative writing, Direction, ACTING….if McConaughey and Harrelson don’t do a feature movie with these characters, it would be a damned shame. “What’s scented meat?”….best straight man line possibly ever. and the timing was perfect.

  12. True detective fan10 says:

    I fell for this show after seeing the amazing pilot and am sad to see it end. The acting was incredible because of the excellent writing. The directing, location and camera work were wonderful! The unique relationship between Rust and Marty made it the best Cop/Buddy movie in years. I know next season is a new cast, locale and storyline but I could watch these two interact for many years to come!

  13. Biff says:

    what twists?

  14. Rob says:

    Amazing show, but I am sad that this is an anthology. Need more Rust Cohle and Marty Hart.

  15. Maybe we have different definitions of twists and turns. Pretty straight-forward conclusion. Disappointing and underwhelming, to be honest. Great performances and the two leads should win all the awards, but the writing fell apart in the last couple of episodes. Finale review: http://www.untemperedtv.com/?p=556

  16. Rebecca OSha says:

    McConaughey’s voice is so intoxicating I get caught up in his words and lost in HIS thoughts. Very well played and the acting was superb.

  17. Morgan Smith says:

    It’s just so memorable. I love the show and the acting is superb. McConaughey really delivers.

  18. Mark says:

    Loved it. Great ending, especially the last 10 minutes.

  19. Wm B says:

    I don’t think they have enough Emmy awards to give “True Detective” all it deserves. Formulaic, yes — buddy/cop/procedural/mystery/horror — but the acting, writing, directing, shooting, art direction, music, editing (and any other craft that I’m leaving out) transcended genre. Transcendent, yeah, that’s the word for it.

    • Daryle says:

      Ditto all you said. Best show I’ve seen in a long time – maybe ever. Husband thought so, too. Disagree with all the negative comments. No surprises? Who actually expected to get an amazing 10 minutes with the pair after the killer had been taken out? If I could criticize anything, it would be that there were times when it was hard to understand the dialogue – especially McConaughey’s (e.g., my husband had to tell me what the last line was). Don’t know where the fault lies for something like that….but it was the ONLY thing I could possible “ding” about this series. No wonder McConaughey and Harrelson wanted to do it. Writing – simply superb.

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