Long Answer, Short Answer: Can Mahershala Ali Save ‘True Detective’?

07.28.17 18 Comments

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The Question

Oscar-winning Moonlight star Mahershala Ali is now officially a part of True Detective’s third season. Can his presence on the show bring back its past glory? Can Mahershala Ali save True Detective?

Long Answer

Let’s start with an undeniable fact and work our way into opinion from there: The second season of True Detective was not good. It was just… I don’t know how else to say it. It was not good. Remember Ray’s heavyset son saluting him from the playground? Remember Vince Vaughn stumbling to his death in the desert for like 15 minutes while hallucinating a group of mean teens who roasted him? Remember the weird bird mask sex cult that Colin Farrell investigated without backup and SURPRISE ended up getting shot point-blank by a shotgun-toting man in a bird mask and somehow surviving?

Of course you do. We all had quite a bit of fun with it at the time, as was our right and, some would say, obligation. The whole thing came together like a paint-by-numbers version of mysterious cop show. Hard-drinking cop who hates himself but gets to the bottom of it all for reasons? Check. Secretly gay cop? Check. Vaping ladycop who is sick at knives? Check check check. Also, highways. So many aerial shots of Los Angeles highways. I’m just piling on now. I’ll stop. You get where I’m going.

So there was that. But also: Remember how much fun we had watching the first season? Man oh man, did we ever have fun. Most of this was due to Matthew McConaughey giving his performance as Rust Cohle the full-on McConaughey, to the point that a) it kicked what became known as The McConaissance into high gear and erased his public image as “Kate Hudson’s rascal boyfriend in 40% of all 1997-2006 rom-coms,” and b) he has basically been playing the same role now for years of Lincoln commercials. It was a career-defining performance. I was so moved by it that I created what I still consider to this day my masterwork.

Like I said, it was a whole thing.

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