After a stellar Season One and a rather lacklustre Season Two, True Detective returns to form in Season Three. The characters played by Woody Harrelson and Mathew McConnaghuey may not have had closure personally or professionally, nor did the show and neither did they offer us the audience any but we still loved them anyway in the first season, which ultimately ended up making life difficult for every other proponent of the genre out there. The makers changed the rules of the crime thriller genre at least for television with the slow burner show. Season Two had Colin Farrell playing lead and the fate of the show was not much different from the state of his once promising career, to say the least. Season Three features Mahershala Ali and, he is the new Denzel Washington I’d say. Reason enough to binge and that’s exactly what I did.
Deaths, abductions and grief are what drives the tale forward in the third installment too. It’s not exactly a battle of wits in True Detective, it never was. There’s no Moriarty out there to outwit and the detectives are no Sherlocks either. These are troubled indviduals with emotions and failings not too different from the lives, rather deaths, they investigate and get immeresed into utlimately. Much like the first season, the third deals with an investigation that has gone cold. That’s not the only similarity, though there are differences too, one being the fact that the tale switches between three different timelines in the lives of the investigators played by Mahershala Ali and Stephen Dorff, compared to the two timelines in Season 1. Maybe I should stop talking about Season 1. Yeah. The series starts off with the disappearance of two siblings in smalltown Arkansas. Pizzolatto weaves an intricate tale around the incident, that spreads over three decades.
One would be tempted to say that the series sits squarely on the shoulders of Mahershala Ali but that would be immensely unfair to Stephen Dorf who is literally a powerhouse of talent if you ask me. He more than just holds his own in what’s mostly a show that’s almost built for Mahershala to show off his acting chops. The show is as intense and brooding in tone as they come though it opts to go easy on the viewers towards the end this time around and offers some closure. But true to the spirit of the anthology, it does make the audience work for it and demands just more than passive engagement from it’s viewers. Nic Pizzolatto I think it’s safe to say, has salvaged whatever he lost in Season 2 here with the eight episodes of Season 3. The one thing that stands out is the making, especially the make up department. It’s amongst the best you would ever come across irrespective of screen sizes. Mike Marino is the man responsible and he has probably showed Mahershala Ali and Stephen Dorff exactly how they would look in another 30-40 years, without resorting to CGI. You have to see it to believe it and trust me you would notice it. When Mahershala Ali delivers an astounding performance as a man in his post retirement years with all that prosthetics, I’m not quite sure what’s to be lauded here, his skills as an actor or the skills of Marino.