This review is spoiler free.
True Detective has returned to our screens. I can still say with confidence that the first series is one of the best pieces of television I’ve ever seen. The second season? Not so much. It wasn’t awful, but it came no where near the standard of it’s predecessor. After some time out, it seems that the third series has gone back to it’s roots, and if this first episode is anything to go by, we should be seeing something closer to the quality of Series 1, which excites me immensely.
The most notable thing about The Great War and Modern Memory is the fact that it is not afraid to take it’s time, the case doesn’t really present itself until the climax, instead the time is spent introducing us to an array of characters and fleshing them out so that they all become a person of interest. It’s a clever technique which achieves it’s goal of hooking the viewer without giving too much away early on, there is clearly plenty to still find out about these characters and I’m eager to find out what they’re hiding.
It will be near impossible to replicate the fantastic Matthew McConaughey/Woody Harrelson partnership from the first season. But this new Mahershala Ali/Stephen Dorff duo could give it a run for it’s money. Dorff’s Roland West takes a bit of a back seat in this opener and the primary focus is on Ali’s Wayne Hays, but both are fantastic and I can’t wait to see more of their relationship as the series progresses. Mahershala Ali continues to show that he’s one of the finest actors of this generation and he has the luxury of being able to portray Hays in three different timelines, which allows him to explore various parts of the character. Whilst 1980’s/90’s Hays is a confident detective, his modern day counterpart appears to be a broken man and I’m intrigued to see how he gets to this point. I love this style of storytelling, it’s one of the the reasons I loved Series 1 so much and I’m glad to see this style will be prominent in Series 3 as well.
Overall, this is a solid series opener. It’s a slow burn, but it does enough to keep you hooked and by the end of this episode, you’ll undoubtedly be rushing to watch the next one to find out what exactly is going on. As well as that, it’s visually stunning and beautifully shot which only elevates the overall quality. True Detective looks to be back to it’s best, I just hope this standard continues.
I give The Great War and Modern Memory an 8/10.