Mara Shalhoup: I'd like to preface this gchat by stating that my observations of "Form and Void" were perhaps tainted by the four hours it took HBO Go to deliver the finale.
Gwynedd Stuart: You're on the record and I'm sure everyone can commiserate.
MS: When I finally got to start watching at 12:30 AM, the darkness was very much winning. And I was in something of a Rust-like sour mood.
GS: Well, I'm always a little bit drunk, so . . .
MS: Seems like people love the finale as much as the season as a whole. The latter might deserve every ounce of "Best Show Ever" hyperbole. But best finale ever? Not so much.
GS: I can't say that I liked the finale as much as I liked what led up to it. That said, I was calling it the "Best Show Ever" after, like, the second or third episode.
MS: On a spectrum of finales stretching from Lost (worst) to Breaking Bad (best) I'd have to put it somewhere in the middle.
GS: I don't think I could've been entirely satisfied with any finale because, well, it means the show is over. And I don't want it to be.
MS: Why do you think you (and I and everyone else) were sold so early on? I mean, they only had eight episodes to open and close the story line—so in a way they had to wow folks early on. But what really did it for you?
GS: The way the story was told—with the flashbacks and the interviews in the present—made it so much more interesting than other detective shows. Other anything shows.
MS: For me it was taking that tired formula of glass-half-full cop meets glass-half-empty cop and really adding an incredible amount of depth to what's often so very played out.
GS: I also think the show benefited from being written by one guy. Nic Pizzolatto wrote all of the episodes and I think he really had this story worked out in his head in advance, knew exactly how it would play out, and executed it with insane attention to detail. I hate to use the word "taut" but, hey, I just did.
MS: And it was executed perfectly—tautly—until the finale. I felt like that last episode could've been split in two. Too much was unresolved (a la Lost). And the Maserati-driving sheriff not having anything to do with anything just felt like a waste of valuable time. I think that Marty's and the media's and law enforcement's satisfaction with one guy going down for all of this—when the video showed five—is really hard to comprehend as a viewer. That was the other thing that bummed me out about the finale.
GS: I agree that it felt rushed—tidy, but not tidy at all. It went against our expectations for how the episode would be paced. So it seemed awkward.
MS: But, of course, that was redeemed by the ascent of our savior Rustin Cohle. How Christlike was he in that hospital gown at the end?
GS: I said "Jesus" aloud when they showed him in his hospital bed with his hair down. You agree that the scenes at Carcosa were pretty great though, right?
MS: Super great.
GS: Shades of Silence of the Lambs and this is a fucking television show. The quality is just so unbelievable.
MS: The set design was breathtaking. And then when Rust shoots off the "crown" of Errol's head—that was pretty gorgeous too.
GS: What do you think could've improved the finale? I feel so bad that we've been conditioned to expect twists. It didn't need a "twist" necessarily but . . .
MS: Honestly, after I realized things weren't going to end in Carcosa, I kept thinking something else would happen. I mean, Rust transformed from glass-half-empty to cup overfloweth. But I shared your feeling that some other shoe was gonna drop.
GS: Someone was coming for them in the hospital. Or something.
MS: Yeah, like Senator Tuttle comes into the hospital with a hatchet. To finish the job.
GS: Well, frankly, it would have been nice for someone to address the Tuttles's very real involvement.
MS: Besides just some dumb talking head on the TV news. That felt a little forced.
GS: Also seems like someone might've brought up Sheriff Childress strapped to a bed in a shed with his mouth sewn shut.
MS: That was an amazing plot point that was totally underutilized.
GS: Ultimately, I love the story. I love all of the ideas.
MS: Yeah, I need to stop with the complaining.
GS: You really get the feeling this is old, old bayou shit. It doesn't begin or end with the Yellow King (aka Errol). Time is a flat circle, Mara.
MS: The end is the beginning and the beginning is the end.
GS: So that means season two already happened, right? I hope it was good!