After an underwhelming finale, critics and fans are hailing this past season of True Detective as an abject failure. Can the once beloved show recover? Here are some solutions I’d recommend if there is a season three:
DOUBLE DOWN ON THE DEPRESSION
The first two seasons were so bleak it makes sense to brighten it up a little, right? Nope. Don’t let up. Go even bleaker. Set it in a funeral home and have grieving families in the background of every shot. Have the whole thing take place during a month-long thunderstorm. Endanger several puppies. Cast James Van Der Beek as the lead then force him to change his name to James Van Der Bleak.
CHECK IN WITH THE AUDIENCE OFTEN TO MAKE SURE THEY’RE NOT CONFUSED OR ASLEEP
Have a break every seven minutes so the actors can look directly into the camera and say, “Hey. HEY! Wake up. You still with us?” while snapping.
FORGET THE GIANT CROW MASK. JUST MAKE THE KILLER A GIANT CROW
I couldn’t have been the only one disappointed when the killer didn’t turn out to just be a human-sized bird, right? Plus they could have saved a lot of time solving the case: McAdams and Farrell fill a bird feeder with seed, wait a few minutes for him to show, slap a pair of cuffs on the perp’s wings, then bam: season over.
I get that all our heroes are complex, troubled loners prone to issues with self-expression. That said, if I have to spend another season listening to everyone mumble while I cobble together sentences fragments like I did with this year with Taylor “Mushmouth” Kitsch, I’m out.
CLARIFY WHO THE CHARACTERS ACTUALLY ARE
So many secondary and tertiary characters were introduced so quickly that the audience forgot who they were when referenced later. Easy fix: have each character introduce themselves by walking into the shot and loudly announcing, “It is I, [insert character name]! Welcome me to True Detective!” and then reel off a 20 minute exposition-laden monologue explaining his or her back story.
HAVE A VICTIM WE ACTUALLY CARE ABOUT
Last year the victims were innocent young girls. It made us think of our own young daughters, sisters, or nieces and created a palpable sense of dread. The murder victim this season? A corrupt city official. When’s the last time you frantically woke up in a cold sweat, telling your significant other, “Oh my God, I had the worst nightmare. You know our county’s comptroller who took kickbacks from local businesses and is generally unlikable? I dreamt somebody shot him.”
Your partner rubs your back consolingly. “Jesus, that’s awful. Did you see who did it?”
You wipe the sleep from your eyes, your lip quivering. “Yeah, I do. It was…” You bite your lip, fighting tears and struggling to get through the next part. “Babe…it was a giant crow.”
MORE BLUE BALL METAPHORS
At one point this season Vince Vaughn’s Frank Semyon actually said, “It’s like blue balls for your heart.” Many derided this seemingly silly line, but I say you do a deeper dive and explore what other forms of blue balls can affect a man. For example: it’s not a sinus infection, it’s blue balls for your sense of smell. It’s not scoliosis, it’s blue balls for your ability to stand up straight. It’s not blue balls, its blue balls for your…wait, nevermind.
And last but not least:
BRING BACK THE BIG HUG MUG
Needs no explanation.