We started discussing the show last week and one point that was made to me multiple times (not only here, but in real life as well) was that I shouldn’t reach any conclusions about the show until I’ve seen the finale. Our James Pearce said “Curious to see if your reaction is similar, and if the Lovecraft thing holds up after you watched the final scene.”
I went into the show thinking that it took place in a Lovecraftian (or, more specifically, Chambersish) universe in which there is something really awful going on behind the scenes and detectives investigating will find themselves inexorably drawn to learn more and more until they go mad. I had thought that Rust’s alcoholism was evidence of that and that we’d see, over the last few episodes, some truly horrifying truths that would drive these guys both nuts… or, if they happened to “win”, it’d be demonstrated that it was merely a pyrrhic victory in a minor skirmish in a dinky outpost that didn’t realize that the war is lost and the only remaining choice is to die fast or die slow.
Now, when JP told me that IO9 got it wrong, I had thought that he meant that the references to The King In Yellow and Carcosa and whatnot were red herrings and we’d find out that, for example, Rust was, in fact, in on it (the way the cops thought he was). As it is, I would say that IO9 got it kinda right (though kinda wrong).
This is a universe with Cthulhu cults but without any Cthulhus. Nothing supernatural or paranormal out there. No gods, elder or otherwise. It’s just us. Some of us are serial killers, sure. But some of us are cops. At the end of the day, as Rust said as the show concluded, “the light is winning”.
And, yep, that clinched it. That is not how a Lovecraft story ends. Like, ever. So it hit me: I’m not watching HP Lovecraft. I’m watching Frank Miller. This was an eight-episode story from Sin City. You’ve got the corrupt Roarkian politicians related to religious leaders, you’ve got the flawed protagonists who have all-too-human weaknesses, you’ve got boobage, and you’ve got the the almost-good guys having to work against not only the very-bad guys but the system itself. Hey, maybe you’ll never unseat the Roarks… but you can at least kill one of them from time to time and that’s victory enough.
So… what did you think?