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True Detective: Night Country

Supratik Bhattacharya Featured Reviews
2.5 Star popcorn reviewss

True Detective: Night Country is the fourth season of True Detective, an American anthology crime drama television series created by Nic Pizzolatto. Night Country was created by Issa López, who serves as showrunner, writer, and director. The fourth season of True Detective honestly looks interesting on paper, it is set up in the land of long nights in Alaska at a remote fictional mining town of Ennis. It involves the sudden disappearance of scientists from the Arctic Research Centre near that town. Issa Lopez (creator of the show) has tried to retain the pessimism in the characters like the first season, which seems very phony and artificial from the very beginning in this installment. The lead character of Elizabeth Danvers played by Jodie Foster is not likable, but that’s not the issue, it is how the writers have chosen to justify her mannerisms through random flashbacks that fail to connect with the audience. Although it is revealed in the end, what changed her, people have already lost their interest in the show and the characters.

The central mystery involves some grisly crimes being committed, it is expected for those to have at least a psychological impact on the characters, which is surprisingly absent most of the time. Even the common citizens of the city are least bothered by those, which is just enough for viewers to feel disconnected. There was a sense of dread, and nihilism in the first season too but at least we got to see that impact on their personal lives, and how it distorts their mental peace. We never get to empathize let alone sympathize with any of the characters, even when the victim’s fate is revealed, it doesn’t hit us as it is supposed to. To establish the nihilism in the characters and the events, the writers have been indifferent to establishing the basic human instinct or impulse in the characters in the show.

The lead detectives are not even remotely close to being close to their counterparts in the first season which they are trying to achieve. The problem with the writing is, that it takes the template from the first season, and imitates the thematic elements but fails to fill the gaps properly with proper human elements. 

Every important character has a backstory, but none of them is presented ably to connect with them. The redundant complexities in some relationships are another sore point in the show. 

Amidst the negativities, Foster and Reiss as two leads have a decent chemistry between them, to some point their performances also eclipse the blemishes in the abysmal writing. But the graph of Jodie Foster’s performance is not always high, it remains hardly remarkable throughout despite a few instances where she truly chews in her character with sheer believability. Kali Reis was able to bring her A-game in her role, she seems natural and committed to the character. 

As for other performances, nothing goes beyond passable. It might be a slight spoiler but the show promotes toxic work conformism like nothing else.

There is also blunt, heavy-handed social messaging which is unexpected in an HBO show nonetheless. 

The faint driving point that remotely even raises interest is the setup the story gets, the icy mining town with constant blizzards acts as a perfect alliance with the show. 

The sudden influx of shows to be politically correct has affected many shows for the past year. Fargo s5 has also been a victim of this but there were several aspects of the show which made the show watchable. This show hardly offers any redeemable quality to ignore its political correctness. 

True Detective s04 had a noble idea of bringing female leads, whereas all the previous installments had male leads but they squandered the opportunity. The leads fail to generate anything iconic which will engulf our attention for days to come.

The climax of the show is thoroughly underwhelming, the big reveal strides so far from the logic that it seems like the showrunners have run out of ideas. 

Also, Issa Lopez is again roped in as a creator of the fifth season of this series, and the decision to retain her is a much bigger mystery than the fourth installment has been able to offer. 

The fourth installment of True Detective is a forgettable entry in the franchise and a victim of being politically correct which many shows from the past few years have succumbed to.

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