TRUE DETECTIVE’S Pizzolatto on the Season 1 Endgame

“I hope the audience will be pleasantly surprised by the naturalism of the entire story. If you look at the series so far, what seems supernatural actually has real-world causes, like Cohle’s hallucinations, or even the nature of the crime. It has occult portents, but there is nothing supernatural about it.” — Nic Pizzolatto on Season 1 Endgame in Entertainment Weekly

SmittyBarstool Lego Yellow King

Hattip to @SmittyBarstool for the wonderful Lego Yellow King.
“Everything is circular.”

Shortly before noon today, Entertainment Weekly posted an interview with TRUE DETECTIVE Creator Nic Pizzolatto about the Season 1 Endgame. There was a TON of information about Episode 7 so DON’T read any further if you don’t want to know.


The most important things I read included:
  • It is clear if Cohle or Hart is guilty
  • Marty talks to Maggie about being questioned and thanks her for raising their daughters well
  • Cohle and Hart reveal they are living very isolated half lives since their split
  • A supernatural resolution is very unlikely, it’s all naturalism
  • No one in the TRUE DETECTIVE world will reference Chambers book BUT
  • The King in Yellow brings the notion of cosmic horror and deranged enlightenment to the story
  • Pizzolatto talks about his influences including Nietzsche’s eternal recurrence
  • He doesn’t want to cop to anagrams

As a screenwriter and filmmaker, I always come back to the practical aspects of doing a series. What did it take to get that shot, that day, to edit together that story.

So I notice what’s on the walls, what’s in the graphics, what’s in the costumes, how the props are set, the locations that they’re using. All of the pragmatics of what someone had to put into place to make it resonate. And then I think about the money HBO is spending and I keep thinking they’re going to want to protect their franchise.

So, I went looking for the sort of thing Pizzolatto had done in the past. I read reviewS and summaries of his short stories and his novel, GALVESTON. I found the NYTimes Review to be particularly useful. Lehane said Pizzolatto tends to favor the lost souls but his plotting tends to be fairly straight forward and predictable. His burned out male leads tend to try and rescue young prostitutes and broken down women. One of the reviewers said Pizzolatto’s world is populated with people who don’t like life much but cling to it anyway. Many of the reviewers talk about the effort of the main character to redeem their human spirit without ever actually going into anything spiritual. So, I’d already decided he probably wouldn’t go anywhere supernatural or occult. Let’s see if that’s true in the end.

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  • Well….I read your post and the linked article…spoilers and all.
    I was about to send you a longer email with other observations, but I think I’ll skip it.
    You still deserve tremendous kudos nailing down the naturalist theme, which I must admit, I was secretly hoping was wrong. After I saw what the girl was reading in the psych ward, I knew you had the underlying theme by the short curls.
    The more I read on this show’s writer, the less I like him and what he has to say.

  • PAT — SEND THE EMAIL — I love your long theories! Love ’em! Your theory about Maggie and the roses has me obsessed. I’ve spent every spare minute re-watching all of the scenes with Maggie and all of the scenes with the girls! I think you are right that it was sexist to assume the women were powerless. The scene at the family lake house is really dodgy. And you’re right that the scene with Marty, Maggie and Audrey is off-kilter too. AND, I think you’re right, part of what Maggie was supposed to do is permanently sever Marty and Rust. Reading what Pizzolatto said about episode 7, I think the path for Marty’s redemption is with Rust! What am I missing?!?

  • I’ll send the email. If nothing else, it may point to or expose you to some things you may not have known about and may inspire something in your creativity somewhere down the road. Like a sketch in Rusts ledger…
    I think the elements are present in the series to support it, I just no longer think that it’s ultimately heading where I thought it was, which seems like a cheap sham as what’s the point in putting all the symbols and subtext there in the first place if it’s just going to boil down to some simple superficial ending and I really did bend the narrative as Marty put it. It would still be cheap, even if that warning about jumping to conclusions was in the fist 5 minutes of the opener. Cheap and a waste of some really nicely staged sets.

    I get the feeling Pizzolatto is going to screw the pooch in the end game.
    His interviews come off snarky, pseudo-intellectual and resentful of western culture in general and American culture specifically. I saw the same promise in Tarantino…that flash in the pan was nothing but a self loathing one-trick pony with an Uma foot fetish. After Pull Fiction, everything beyond was just him playing with himself.
    I think TD may end up filed next to The Killing; in fine thoroughbreds that came out of the gate fast and strong only to loose wind on the third turn. Still full of really nice work, but just didn’t quite deliver the money shot.

    I’ve cast the stone. I realize this.

    I say this as a “big hug mug” half empty kinda guy.

  • Cyndi: Just read that ‘script’ for episode 1. Only place I’ve even seen it referenced much less available. Do you have links to the subsequent 6? The changes ultimitely made in the show from the script, to me, are kind of meaningful. For instance, in the script for #1, the idea was for explicitly satanic symbolism was described–not the ‘devil traps’ and spiral tatts. Really insightful. Thanks. One Lone Star 6-pack down, a bunch to go! (Sadly though, not tall boys! Hell, you can’t find any! Even in Missouri!)

  • The fact that Rust drinks Lone Star makes sense…he transferred from Texas.
    The fact that the other locals always drink it in the other scenes is a complete mistake or oversight…
    They’d be drinking Abita beer, if they were LA natives worth their salt, and that my friends is a fact.

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