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Not It: The Pajiba Writers Refuse to Review the 'True Detective' Finale -- A Conversation

By The Pajiba Staff | True Detective | August 10, 2015 |

By The Pajiba Staff | True Detective | August 10, 2015 |

Because of the nature of the way we work here at Pajiba — with writers all over the country in different time zones and with different obligations throughout the day to their lives, day jobs, etc. — we have most of our behind-the-scene conversations about assignments, traffic numbers, staff debauchery, and commenter complaints on Facebook. Our private group hums throughout the day, coming up with ideas, providing inspiration, and parceling out assignments.

This morning, however, no one seemed to want to write the finale recap of the most talked about series of the summer, True Detective. Why?

Let the staff explain. Here’s a transcript of the conversation between writers this morning concerning the site’s official recap of the True Detective season 2 finale.

Emily: Is anyone doing a True Detective review? Because I’ve been mentally writing a “Dumber Plans Vince Vaughn Could Have Come Up With Than Trying To Punch His Way Out Of A Gun Fight Over A Fucking Suit” post.

Dustin: I’m doing a brief thing with the Twitter reaction, but more in depth reviews are very welcome!

Emily: That would literally be the extent of my review because I don’t think I have any idea on what the plot of this season was. There was a dude with no eyes and then some new guy stabbed a cop with a knife and then Rachel McAdams had a baby, right?

Dustin: Pretty much!

Brian My review would just be a bunch of question marks and nonsense GIFs because I simply don’t know how to evaluate this show anymore. Says something that I was both moved by some scenes and literally laughed out loud at others.

/salutes fat pussy


Emily: Am I a terrible person that that was a laugh out loud scene for me?

Dustin: It was only missing a waving American flag.


Genevieve: The scene with Farrell driving to Ani and talking to her on the phone was classic “Look at this asshole who’s about to die” film right there.

Also, have filmmakers really not figured out that having a half-hour of runtime left on the clock after the story is “wrapped up” totally tips that a bunch of people are about to be killed? After the whole thing with the weird hoodie kid went down I was like “Well, that’s that. Crime is generally pathetic and small, people are petty sad creatures and, shit there’s like 45 minutes left, goddamnit there are some stupid ‘heroic’ moments coming.”

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Brian: I don’t know how you wrap the story up and then have another 45 minutes with no surprises/deaths/whatever, though. Yeah, Farrell’s fate was beyond obvious, but it was beyond obvious two episodes in, too. Just wish the endgame was a little less hamfisted. And more coherent. And better directed

I did like a few things about the finale, though:

— That it managed to be both optimistic (with Ani and Jordan) and coldly realistic (the good people don’t always find salvation).

— The still shots of the forest and the desert were pretty great
— Vaughn’s work in his scene with Bezzerides
— Everything about Farrell except that motherfucking salute
— The cabin raid
— “You stopped moving way back there (although the rest of that scene was ridiculous and utterly unnecessary)

Dustin: This sounds awfully like the beginnings of a “IN DEFENSE OF THE TD FINALE’ piece to me.



Genevieve: My problem with Ani is that the most interesting part of her character development happened in a time-jump. Ok, she remembered pieces of her molestation, but taking a woman who is largely lost, angry, and more than a little hopeless and having her grow into a person with a mission, a child, and a functional relationship with Jordan is a big journey for her to make in a year. Same with Jordan, they only managed to make her kind of interesting in the last episode. Weird how when you let the women exist as characters in their own right instead of foils for the men around them, they have better scenes.

Brian: I think Ani changed after she killed the goon at the sex party and realized the revenge she thought she always wanted would only poison her further.

Ani felt like a fully realized character to me. She was her own woman with her own arc, and I really liked how her story ended up. And Jordan was written as a real character, but fell apart because of Kelly Reilly’s Hall of Shame-worthy performance. Honestly, I can’t think of another example of a talented actress — which Reilly is — delivering such a listless, empty performance.

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Steven: I plan on writing “The True Detective Season Recap for People Who Don’t Watch True Detective” later this week, which is basically just incoherently summarizing my impressions of the show from what you people have said in here.

Lord Castleton: I don’t think I should write the TD finale review/recap because I’d just be repeating myself for like the sixth time. I basically felt the same way about the finale. Ray good. Ani confusing and not believable. Vince generally bad. (I hated that scene with Ani, Brian. “You like Ray? I like Ray.” UGH.) Writing just awful. Directing uneven, though I also liked the heist scene. Misuse of actors, appalling plot development, dangling subplots, left field justifications, bullshit reasoning, faulty logic, asinine/unbelievable plot twists. I wrote the first paragraph in my head as I was watching and it’s merciless. Who put the transponders on the cars? How did the mexicans get vince? Who were those two kids again? Who was Ben’s (we went from calling him Caspere to calling him Ben when Holloway was around) first kid? And why do I care? Because I DON’T. So all of this was an angry kid in a bird hat hellbent on vengeance? YOU MEAN TO TELL ME WE SAT THROUGH 43 SCENES OF THAT SHIT CHARACTER CHESSANI SLURRING AND DRINKING AND BEING THE WORST CHARACTER IN MODERN TELEVISION JUST TO FIND HIM IN A POOL FOR ZERO PAYOFF? Yeahhhhhh….someone else should probably tackle this. What a steaming pile of excrement.

Brian: I actually assumed you killed Chessani, Castleton

Who put the transponders on the cars?
Imagine Burris’s crew did that while Ray was visiting big red.

How did the Mexicans get vince?
Seems like the Armenians tipped off the Mexicans based on the shared look between them after Vince drove away, and what Gonalzes said about where he got the drugs to push through the clubs.

Who were those two kids again?
The orphans from the jewelry store robbery-murder commuted by Burris and Deadwood Dan.

Maybe I’m crazy because I haven’t seen anyone mention it anywhere, but I cannot get over how bad the directing was pretty much all series. Felt like amateur hour for a series that could have gotten almost anyone.

Dustin: The directing in THIS scene: WTF was that?


Castleton: Okay so the armenians give vince to their business rivals, why? The russians i could see, but the Mexicans? Why?

And yes, I know who the kids were, but WHO GIVES A FUCK? There was like no character development around that whole story other than Teague hunting for diamonds. Why would we magically care?

Genevieve: Frankly, after this season I think the smartest and most interesting person to follow would have been Burris.

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Castleton: Right. Completely. Why wasn’t this HIS STORY? Aggh, it’s infuriating!

Genevieve: The man had his shit TOGETHER. We didn’t see him wallowing in shithole bars or violently demonstrating his inability to relate to others. He was smart, focused, didn’t care about being a hero or getting the glory, and knew the exact moment to cut and run every time he was in a little bit of danger. That is one hell of a conniving human being and I’m very interested to learn how he came to be wrapped up in what sounds like an extremely messy burglary.


“Why this season of TD should have been about Lt. Burris.” There’s a good piece there…

Brian: Figured the Mexicans paid better than Frank.

The kids were pointless but I honestly don’t know what else he could have done in regard to Caspere’s killers. There are only so many characters who could be suspects. We already knew Burris was involved from episode 2. Excising the kids altogether robs the story of any suspense (although I stopped caring who killed Ben long ago anyway).

One thing James Ellroy (and David Simon) does really well with these types of stories is make corrupt institutions the main villains. Yes, there are people in service of these institutions, but ultimately, the game doesn’t change. Pizzolatto hinted at this with the conclusion and Woodrugh’s demise, but you never really felt like the characters were up against an unstoppable force. Or that they were well and truly fucked.

Castleton: Ok, so how would the Mexicans even know to come to the Armenians? And Frank just put a shit ton of cash on the table for the Armenians. And how do we know they’re Armenians? I’m just saying that because you did. Was that made clear somewhere?

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Brian: I assumed they were Armenians because I like The Shield. I dunno, bro.

Steven: *furiously taking incoherent notes*

Brian: Just paste this whole fucking thing, add a traffic cam picture, embed a Lera Lynn track at the bottom of the post and call it a day.

Courtney: Lera Lynn? Pretty sure her name is Despairia Von Doom.

Dustin: ON IT, Brian: “Pajiba Writers Refuse to Review the True Detective Recap: A Conversation.”

Brian: Just randomly throw these stupid highway shot GIFs in midsentence like the TD directors did every episode.

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.