BIG TIME TRUE DETECTIVE SPOILERS
I watched the finale last night and then stayed up until 4 a.m. trying to process what I’d seen. This comment on the AV Club review (probably not the real Reginald VelJohnson, haha) pretty much sums it up for me.
Look, the show didn’t present all these crazy theories for the viewer; as an audience we had to create this mythology to make sense of the horrible things happening to these women and children and to understand how it’s possible that this sort of evil had gone unchecked for so long. Similarly, as nihilistic Cohle notes in episode three while observing Joel Theriot preaching in the tent, “What’s it say about life, hmm? You gotta get together, tell yourself stories that violate every law of the universe just to get through the goddamn day. Nah. What’s that say about your reality, Marty?…If the only thing keeping a person decent, is the expectation of divine reward, then, brother, that person is a piece of shit.” You see, we’re unknowing beings and we need the mythology to help us understand the darkness. In the end, though, it just comes down to the fact that sometimes damaged people do horrifying things and there really isn’t a reason, other than they’ve bought into their own personal mythology (Childress creating his own Carcosa, anointing himself the Yellow King). Nic Pizzolatto didn’t do anything more than bring up an old literary allusion; look what we did with it, what we wanted to believe. There’s nothing supernatural in this story or anywhere else in life, it’s pretty cut-and-dried; if we imbue everything with our own mythology, we can’t feel let down when we find out there’s no grand reason behind anything.