‘True Detective’: Best & Worst Episodes

‘True Detective’: Best & Worst Episodes

Vivian Mwikali
July 04 2022 - 07:49pm

You have HBO to thank for some of the most iconic TV shows in history, starting with The Sopranos, which ran for six seasons from 1999-2007.

Let's not forget Barry, which has been growing strong since airing its first season in 2018, now rating with a perfect 99% on Rotten Tomatoes.

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'True Detective' Series Info

True Detective is an anthology crime drama series that stars Hollywood A-listers like Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson, Colin Farrell, Mahershala Ali, Michelle Monaghan and Alexandra Daddario.

Though its second season didn't live up to the high standards of the first, it's worth watching for the amazing performances of other Hollywood big leagues, such as Rachel McAdams, Vince Vaughn, Kelly Reilly and Taylor Kitsch.

Critic Reviews

The show's first season scored 87% on Rotten Tomatoes, with critics praising Harrelson and McConaughey's incredible performances that reel the viewer in. 

The second however didn't quite match, scoring only 62% on Rotten Tomatoes. Ali's addition to the cast in the third season gave the series a fresh perspective, raising its rating back up again to 86%.

If you intend to binge-watch True Detective as you wait for its season four release, below are its best and worst episodes up to this point.

Best Episodes

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1. Season 1, Episode 1: The Long Bright Dark

The show’s pilot episode cranked everything up unpredictably and displayed awesome visuals with a kick-ass serial killer story.

Laying on the stage for suspense with the protagonists, Louisiana State Police homicide detectives Rust Cohle (McConaughey) and Marty Hart (Harrelson) despising each other, this episode matches up to the level of the anthology films Silence of the Lambs and Se7en.

2. Season 1, Episode 3: The Locked Room

The first season's third episode really started to heat things, disclosing more info about Marty and Rust's personalities. The Locked Room episode showed that the plot would continue to get more contemptuous.

3. Season 1, Episode 4: Who Goes There?

True Detective’s legendary status owes to the episode Who Goes There? Pay close attention to the six-minute-long scene where Rust tries to break into a trailer. 

Marty also reaches his lowest point in this episode, having argued with his mistress Lisa (Alexandra Daddario) and his wife Maggie (Michelle Monaghan) finding out about his affair.

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4. Season 1, Episode 7: After You’ve Gone

This episode showcases the leads when they are at their lowest. It doesn’t have any filler scenes and features expositional moments which aren’t hastily inserted into the plot at all.

5. Season 1, Episode 8: Form and Void

A perfect conclusion to the show's first instalment! Form and Void is the most intense episode in the series so far where Rust and Marty uncover Errol Childress (Glenn Fleshler) as the serial killer “The Yellow King.”

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6. Season 3, Episode 7: The Final Country

Finally, this penultimate third season episode delivers a worthy performance of the first season. 

The Tom Purcell (Scoot McNairy) case is finally closed after his body is uncovered. But Hays (Ali) isn’t convinced that things could wrap up that quickly.

Worst Episodes

1. Season 2, Episode 1: The Western Book of the Dead

Disappointing doesn't cut it when the first episode of a follow-up season fails to hook viewers in, especially after a suspenseful end to the previous season.

The Western Book of the Dead makes you ask “WTH is going on!” and who is who as it is overstuffed with new characters, including California Highway Patrol Officer Paul Woorugh (Kitsch), the Vinci Police Department Detective Raymond Velcoro (Farrell), the criminal mastermind Frank Semyon (Vince Vaughn) and Ventura County Sheriff’s Office CID Ani Bezzerides (Rachel McAdams).

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2. Season 2, Episode 2: Night Finds You

Unfortunately, season 2's second episode didn't offer the answer to any of the questions in viewers' minds. It jumps all over the place without a clear narration. 

Even worse, the previous season's competent detectives Rust and Marty have become unlikeable due to their suspicious actions.

3. Season 2, Episode 5: Other Lives

Episode 4 is a silver lining to the dark cloud that is season 2 where Bezzerides, Velcoro and Woodrugh finally collaborate. However, episode 5 takes viewers back to a confusing time jump, feeling less impactful.

4. Season 2, Episode 8: Omega Station

All of season 2’s mishaps coalesce into a heartbreaking finale. A lot goes on within 90 minutes that it feels like the characters are secondary to its multiplex plot.

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5. Season 3, Episode 3: The Big Never

The show’s third season is more grounded than its predecessor but falls short of the theatrical quality of the first season. 

A lot rides on Mahershala Ali, and he doesn't disappoint. Ali plays the Vietnam War Veteran Wayne, Hays, currently working as an Arkansas State Police Department detective alongside Roland West (Stephen Dorff).

A downer to this episode is the confusing multiple timelines.

6. Season 3, Episode 8: Now Am Found

Just like season two's finale, Now Am Found comes to an anti-climactic end, as it references events from the first season that it feels too much like a retread. Even Hays and West’s relationship is too similar to Rust and Marty’s.

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