True Detective Should Keep Its Supernatural Edge


The first season of True Detective presented us with a very real world. One of its successes, however, was how it subverted that world by presenting our two hero detectives, Mary Hart and Rust Cohle, with imagery and experiences that had a horror and supernatural flair.

This was a tactic that deeply shook Hart and Cohle, as well as the viewers. Trying to piece together just what was actually going on was part of the fun of True Detective, and it was compounded by the presence of something rancid beneath the surface of the Louisiana reality.

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The Lovecraft imagery, inspired by The King in Yellow, had us believe that there might actually be something supernatural bubbling behind what we were presented with.

That didn’t turn out to be the case, and the show seemingly had to quickly reconcile that fact with reality, partially resulting in an ending that’s become a hot topic all over again.

The second season of True Detective will not be a supernatural show, and hopefully it will rely less on allusions that ultimately don’t go very far. What it can can do is improve that sense of horror.

It’s not an easy task considering that we all know that True Detective will never be a full-blown, Lovecrraftean affair. That makes the illusion all the more difficult to create and cultivate.

But it works, and it with care it can continue to work well. The audience and characters need to be toyed with, but not in a way that shifts our expectations to something that True Detective isn’t. A fine line, indeed. It’s a situation that calls for more world building and stronger characters that can carry the weight of the show’s lore.

There are very few people out there that would argue that Errol Childress ended up being one such character.

It would be a shame if True Detective dropped that aspect of itself and went for a more straightforward thriller experience. There are already many shows out there that do that well. It’s part of what makes True Detective a unique experience, and we want it to stay that way.

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