In 2014, HBO announced that they were making a new anthology show titled “True Detective.” When the first season premiered, it received a tremendous amount of praise and went on to be nominated in awards shows. Five years later, season three premiered and showed audiences why it has gained its reputation for being a great series.
The premise of this season follows two detectives, Wayne Hays and Roland West, who try to uncover a bizarre crime which involves two missing children. The season tells its story in three different timelines – when the detectives are trying to solve the case, when the case gets reopen and where they are old men in the present. As the season goes on, the viewer learns more about characters’ motivations and dark secrets start to unravel.
I consider the first season to be one of the greatest achievements in television ever. The season alone is one of my personal favorites. Season two ended up being a massive disappointment, only being average at best. With that being said, my anticipation for season three was still very high because this time around, Mahershala Ali was the star and the trailer looked promising. I am happy to report that season three is a fantastic season with thrilling moments, excellent performances and a compelling story.
The performances are at the top of their game, with the standout by far being Ali. Ali recently won the Academy Award for “Green Book” on Sunday, and he is in conversations to win an Emmy for this role. His performance as detective Wayne Hays requires a lot of emotion and subtlety. To say that he pulled it off perfectly would be an understatement.
There are plenty of scenes where there are conversations that Ali has with his wife, son and partner. The scenes are perfectly executed. It’s as if one is not watching performances, which is the highest compliment I can give to an actor. Every other performance is top notch, but the true star is Ali.
As a crime drama, it’s investing to watch. It is not a very fast-paced show, it does take its time with characters and unraveling with what is going on, but the pacing fits the narrative. The way the story was told in three different timelines was smart. It would not have been as effective had it been a show that started from the beginning until the end.
There are cliffhangers that happen and things in the past that are brought up occasionally that isn’t delved into until later. Sometimes it can get confusing which timeline you’re in but after the third episode, I was able to tell which timeline was being shown.
Additionally, there are some intense sequences, one involving a shootout that is incredibly realistic. Without spoiling anything, some of the twists and turns do lead to some heartbreaking outcomes and realizations. While there isn’t necessarily an action-packed finale, I thought the way it came together was great.
The only flaw that I do have with the season is that at times it can drag just a bit. Overall though, season three is a season that has a lot to offer. It is a huge step up from the second season.
It is important to note that even though this is season three for the series, one does not have to watch the first two seasons to understand it. There are different stories, actors and characters. Although there is a brief reference to the first season, there is no relation. I would highly recommend anyone who has HBO and hasn’t checked out the show to do so.