The End is the Beginning is the End

True Detectives

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Hello, gentleman of Shat,

So, I want to say first and foremost. I was wrong. I was so damn wrong this whole season, and I am not ashamed to admit it. That finale absolutely blew me away, and it made my complaining throughout the season seem silly. Please take this email as my official retraction for all the complaints from earlier. Perhaps, TD is a series that has to be seen in its entirety. When it is, it is beautiful. In my final email to you all (eight in total for eight episodes), I wanted to offer what I like to offer most of all, some literary analysis.

Episode 8 sees us return to an older Amelia’s classroom and yet again, we hear her reading from a poem. This one is a rather famous one, Delmore Schwartz’ “Calmly We Walk Through This April’s Day.” Schwartz’ poem is all about the daily mundane aspects of life that trick us into thinking that time isn’t passing, that we have so much of it left. When, really, in the end, we are burning in the fire that is time, an all consuming fire that takes us down and turns us to ash before we are ready, before we know it is coming. In essence, thanks to time, we live in a great shadow of foreboding (our own demise), but we either choose to remain unaware of such fire or allow ourselves to be consumed by it because we have no choice.

Schwartz asks one thing in this poem that I think is so crucial to Wayne’s story. He writes, “What will become of you and me?” Wayne has been struggling with that all season, as he is unaware of what came before, much less what he will become after. Thus, when Wayne asks this question, it changes from what will become to what became of you and me? The season tried to answer that, tried to let us know what had happened to bring him to the end, to bring he, Amelia and their children to the point we find them in 2015. He didn’t know. We didn’t either, but what a beautiful journey to discover together. In truth, that is the power of season 3. It isn’t a who done it, but a who are we, or, for Wayne, who am I? I think we got the answer to that, and we got that amazing scene with Julie where he forgets (and I argue remembers and chooses to forget again).

The point we find out, though, isn’t the Purcell case. The lesson isn’t that we all get a happy ending. Instead, Pizzolatto is telling us and reminding us through Wayne that we get AN ending- whether we like that ending or not. And it is up to us to deal with what we are dealt as best we can before the fire truly consumes us.

To that end, I wanted to share the last stanza of the poem:

Each minute bursts in the burning room,
The great globe reels in the solar fire,
Spinning the trivial and unique away.
(How all things flash! How all things flare!)
What am I now that I was then?
May memory restore again and again
The smallest color of the smallest day;
Time is the school in which we learn,
Time is the fire in which we burn

This sums of the season for me. It sums up the point of the series, and I would have to say, I am going to be a fan of this season more so than the first because it is such a perfect message, a perfect delivery and a lesson we all can learn from, that the memory of what has come before is but a flash. That all we experience is just a spark, for, before we know it is gone and eventually us with it- a simple blip in what is the whole of human experience. It is the fate of Wayne. It is the fate for us all, and, perhaps the reason time is such a flat circle because the human experience is the same at the beginning and at the end because of its fleeting nature and because of its being shackled to the time we are allotted, and how short a time it always seems to be.

Again. Time is the fire in which we burn… How nice it’s been to burn alongside you three this season in analysis, theorizing and viewing. Until American Gods…

-Ash Schlafly

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