The first thing you should know is that you will not find spoilers in this review, having said that, I start by reporting that I have seen this season in a period of 3 days, because I waited for all the episodes to be released to see them without the hassle of waiting, and so enjoy more easily and get a better appreciation of the season. The show that I will talk about today, is only the third season of the True Detective series, which began with impetus, originality and genius in 2014, but apparently, the success of that first season could not be emulated by the second season. The first arose because the creative forces that inspired Pizzolatto impelled him to make the series, the second, however, was more the demand of the spectators and the desire to make money from the producers, but could the third season equal the success of the first?
Category: Crime Drama.
Director: Jeremy Saulnier, Daniel Sackheim, Nic Pizzolatto.
Cast: Mahershala Ali, Carmen Ejogo, Stephen Dorff, Scoot McNairy, Ray Fisher.
The story is divided into three temporal lines: Ozarks, 1980, William and Julie Purcell, two children, decide to ride their bicycles to the park to play with a friend and his new dog, and then disappear, two detectives, Wayne Hays and Roland West, take the case. In 1990, Wayne Hays and Roland West are interviewed about the 1980 case, which will be opened again, and to which both resume after 10 years, after their careers took an opposite direction, so they were distanced during all that weather. In 2015, Wayne Hays is now old, and with memory problems, being interviewed by Elisa Montgomery, True Criminal documentary filmmaker, on the case of 1980 and 1990, and distanced totally from his partner West, after their lives personal and professional will take an opposite direction again.
Let's see, the direction work has its strengths and weaknesses, on the one hand, it returns to the format of the first season, in which the story was told creating three temporal lines, in fact, this time they come to create a fourth temporary line, but that has such an insignificant importance and a period of duration so infinitely short that it is not worth mentioning.
The time lines are divided in this way: the first in the year 1980, where the case begins, the second one takes place in 1990, where, as in the first season, the protagonists are interrogated, however, not for long, because the case is reopened on this date so there are more things to see besides an interrogation, and finally, the third line that takes place in 2015, in which we see the protagonists aged, mainly, being interviewed for a documentary called "True Criminal".
In this sense, it has an interesting format, but little original, especially for those who have seen the first season, the parallels between one and another do nothing but confirm that they have made a plagiarism of themselves, however, could consider it more clumsy in terms of technical level, the first season had a more subtle style to move from one time line to another, in this, instead play with the changes of time lines simply to generate a visual effect, which does not seem to have no sense.
However, I must mention that the time in which the story unfolds covers a period of 35 years, twice the amount proposed in the first season, so that sometimes, the time itself takes on an important relevance in the series, showing the evolution of the characters in lapses, and in a long period, which allows the viewer to see how the characters' lives change.
So I would have to say that the direction work was good but not excellent, it lacks originality and maintains a rhythm that becomes very slow and heavy, the different directors, Saulnier, Sackheim and Pizzolatto dilate each scene, narrate in 8 episodes of a time a story that could be told in three or four episodes with the same duration. Although all this does not mean that the work is terrible at all, the work is good, but although it wanted to look like the first season, its level is below, nor the work done by the directors in the second, nor this one that they were made in the third, surpassing what was done by Cary Fukunaga, where the director directly helped the script with what was shown on screen, here that synchrony does not exist.
The script was mainly by Nic Pizzolatto, the creator of the series, but as in the second season, he received support from other collaborators in a couple of episodes, if at the time was Scott Lasser, this time David Milch and Graham Gordy are the ones who help him. Even so they can not improve the work that Pizzolatto did alone in the first season, however, the good development in regard to the personal aspect of the characters, but lax in regard to the criminal case, especially in its conclusion. In addition, the dialogues between the two case detectives are overcome by the dialogues between the character of Mahershala Ali and his wife, which creates a kind of triangle in which the plot of the crime, which embraces the couple formed by Ali and Stephen Dorff, and the personal plot, which includes the couple formed by Ali and Carmen Ejogo, in which the plot of the crime is also intruded, since the character of Ejogo, despite not being a detective, decides to carry out reasons to investigate the crime on their own, however, everything converges on the character of Ali, which ultimately resides the leading role.
Somewhere I read that the character of Mahershala Ali was meant for a white man, but that he asked for the role and that they finally gave it to him, and I do not know if that is true, but seeing what happened throughout the season, It is evident that modern political rhetoric has played a role here, where the issue of racism and even feminism is brought out in a way that is totally disconnected from the events and development of story. What is excessively forced and counterproductive, because it moves the viewer away from what happens on the screen, causing him to focus on politics.
The worst of the script, in part, was the conclusion, because although I could accept how the events developed, I can not accept the way in which these events were unveiled to the viewer, in addition, due to the dilatation of story and the deviation of it is towards the personal plot of the characters, at a certain moment the spectator can completely lose interest in the criminal case, diluting the whole mystery.
The script is one of the weak points of the season, and not because it is bad, because if we talk comparatively, a viewer who has not seen especially the first season, what is seen here may seem like a great job, but that's only because bases its structure on what was done in the first season, so for a follower of this series, what is seen here at the script level is nothing original, but trying to do the same as in the first season but deepening in the narrative style. But despite all this, we can say that the script maintains a convincing realism in the course of the whole season, that except for some specific moments, we could say that it would be perfectly similar to a real story.
Undoubtedly the strong point of the season, along with the performances, were the characters, and this is because both are intimately related. The main character, and in which the greatest weight falls, is Wayne Hays, an Arkansas State Police detective and Vietnam War veteran, who feels that his opinion is undervalued due to racism, and that in a certain way he sees himself as a victim of the events, but at the same time, Purple, as his colleague nicknames him, is a detective with a high work ethic and committed to solve cases, especially the one that concerns us, however, we also see, in the third line temporary, the evolution of the character, where you see an old Wayne Hays, and who suffers from Alzheimer's disease, undoubtedly something that serves much to the plot, it provides a certain narrative effectiveness that Wayne does not remember things, and also transmit intrigue and mystery, in addition to disorientation in the viewer.
Amelia Reardon, an schoolteacher with a connection to the case, is another really important person, apparently she is a very cultured and intelligent woman, she studied at the university, but she lives with complexes about herself, because is not convinced by the traditional role of women in the family and in society, but he wants to do something different from what his mother did, and although she does not say it directly we could rightly think that she is a feminist, so she begins to dedicate more time to collect information about everything that surrounds the case, instead of his profession as a teacher. Her relationship with Wayne is one of the keys to the season.
The other character that is worth mentioning is Roland West, an Arkansas State Police Detective, later Lieutenant, and partner of Hays, a character that personally seems to me very charismatic, and not only because of his personality, but also because he physically resembles an old friend of mine, with whom I also had a relationship similar to the one he has with Wayne. His evolution is also visible as time progresses, however, he enjoys less prominence than his partner, however, unlike Wayne, he does much better in his work, where he is promoted, mainly because he stays low profile and try not to get into trouble.
The relationship between the two detectives is important, although it is not the main one, the relationship between Wayne and Amelia have more preponderance at the script level.
As I said, the acting work was the best of the season, without the great performances the characters would not have been enough, the actors who give it life do it very well, in the case of Mahershala Ali, it is simply excellent, in fact , I think the main reason to see this season, is the performance of Ali in this role, he is successful in the interpretation of his character in the three timelines, perfectly shows the evolution, and also make a great show of his quality as actor, from the position of his body to the disorientation of his lost look in the scenes in which he is old and with defective memory. The performance of Carmen Ejogo is great, her role is convincing, and the same I have to say about Stephen Dorff, both do a great job and support Ali in a great way. The rest of the cast is right, I do not remember seeing any actor doing an inappropriate job.
Personally I think the season was good, and that like the second season, maybe with the exception of Mahershala Ali, it was lower than the first in every way. However, it is difficult to ask any past, present or future season of True Detective to surpass the genius that was created by Pizzolatto, directed by Fukunaga and starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, so if we compare this season with the series itself, we could say that it was superior to the second season, but lower than the first, however, if we compare the season with the rest of the series that are available right now, we could say that it is above the average, but that would be between the first 15 or 20 series of the moment, or maybe yes, in that sense depends on the viewer.
Direction between regular and acceptable, good script but with failures, the largest of them in the final resolution, excellent performances. It's ironic, because those who will see this season will be mostly people who saw the previous seasons, especially the first one, and that audience will not find many things here that they have not seen before, however, who perhaps this season would like more are the people who have not seen the first season yet, however, I would recommend those people to see the first season instead of this one.