True Enough

True Enough
Warning: Spoilers ahead for True Detective: Night Country

I loved, loved, loved the first season of True Detective.1 The second season was, as everyone knows, pretty bad, despite a great cast. The third season was better, but nothing that I can honestly say I remember too much about. The fourth season, named Night Country, premiered with Jodie Foster and a lot of promise. The first episode was great. Unfortunately, it slowly unraveled from there.

It wasn't bad. In fact, it was probably the second-best season. But it’s sort of like being the second best player on a team with Tom Brady. Sure, there technically is one. When everyone knows and loves that first season of True Detective so much, second best just isn't good enough in comparison.

The reality is that the entire thing ultimately felt like a different showed squeezed into a True Detective suit. And that's really what it was. And I do mean squeezed because whereas every other season of True Detective was 8 episodes long, Night Country was a mere 6. And it's funny, when I posted my initial reaction after watching the finale, the first two responses noted that the show was either entirely too long, or not long enough. And actually, I think they're both correct.

Night Country could have made for a compelling two hour movie. Or it needed to be more fleshed out into a longer series. Apparently, HBO wanted a longer run as well, but showrunner Issa López wanted to direct all the episodes, so she landed on six.

And in some ways, it was perhaps good that it wasn’t longer. Because ultimately, it felt quite a bit like a situation where López knew the setting and knew the ending and there was a little too much meandering to connect the dots. And that was especially true in that final episode, which featured naps and snacks.

In the literal end, I found the Navarro arc too nebulous. I might have preferred to see her get the fuck out of Dodge with her toothbrush man while Danvers stays behind. Instead, we get led down a path that she finally walked out onto the ice, as seemed to be her destiny, only to pull it back minutes later with a Alfred-and-Bruce-Wayne-like reunion, but on Danvers' porch? I understand that it's meant to be open-ended, but it needed more definition.

As did the Prior kid who just sort of... peters out.

While I appreciated the attempts to link this season back to season one, it ultimately didn't do the show any favors. It was too loose for most until it was too literal – we're going to get the line, aren't we? If anything, it just reminded people, like me, of how great the first season was. Perhaps an impossible bar to live up to.2

Flat circle that way, alright, alright?

1 A decade ago, my blog almost read like a True Detective fan site.

2 Also lingering in my head throughout this season was another iconic HBO series. Arguably now the most iconic (despite its own rough landing): Game of Thrones. The parallels between the people on the ice to the White Walkers was a little too close, even if only in tone. No dragons here, but we do have Solomon "Sol" Star from Deadwood.