The ending to True Detective was a bit of a letdown. I expected something truly wondrous and supernatural. When Rust saw that swirling mass of twinkling stars and space dust, I thought, finally something amazing. But of course it turns out to be a hallucination.
Maybe that’s the point. It’s not the supernatural that is terrifying, but real life. Conspiracies really are scary not because they are shrouded in mystery and silence, but because people involved in them don’t even think they are conspiracies. It’s just an everyday mundane thing for them. What Arendt called ‘the banality of evil.’
A part of the reason for the feeling of being letdown is that the lead-up to the finale was just so good. Rust Cohle was a consistent nihilist, drawling out dark semi-poetry, made even more apparent because of the contrast with his good ol’ boy partner Marty and the whole police department. The cinematography is amazing. Shadows, false colors of the sky when Rust is hallucinating. That scene in one take with Rust leading the gangster through houses filled with other gangsters is spectacular.
I of course did not expect for the whole world to explode, as the ending, but maybe something close to it. The image of Cohle crying was just too much to handle. The poor guy has all these issues. You can’t just bottle it all up underneath this veneer of cool nihilism. He’s just human after all.