What to expect in True Detective finale this Sunday

All the clues have been laid out and the answers are supposedly right under our nose for HBO’s True Detective finale airing tonight (March 9 at 9pm ET/PT). Much speculation and online chatter has centered on whether Rust Cohle (Matthew McConaughey) or Marty Hart (Woody Harrelson) are somehow connected to the Yellow King in this eight-episode, eerie chiller, but that would be way too typical for series’ screenwriter Nic Pizzolatto and not the core of the story — which is really about who Cohle and Hart truly are.

McConaughey actually told Channel Guide’s Lori Acken at the start of the series, “Never once did it get typical. Never once does it play out how you think a normal scenario will play out and how two people should interact.”

He’s referring to the turbulent relationship between Cohle and Hart in an almost 20-year-old span investigating the murder of Dora Lange and ritual abuse. “In ’95, Rust is a guy who has to have a case, has to have something to be obsessed with, just to keep on the rails, to keep from boiling over, to keep from dying! Even if he does want to leave this life, he knows he’s too much of a chickens@#$. So he knows that this life is almost like his penance,” McConaughey told us. “In 2012, he’s back to trying to be a part of humanity, but he knows who the hell he is and he knows who he’s not. Now he’s shaking hands with his fate — ‘OK, this is my lot in life. Let it rip!’”

And so it will rip tonight. But before the True Detective finale, Pizzolatto wanted to make sure fans knew he wasn’t going to disappoint and ended a lot of speculation telling Buzz Feed’s Kate Aurthur: “Going into the final episode, I wanted to end any audience theorizing that Cohle or Hart was the killer, and also provide a concrete face to the abstract evil they’re chasing. So, wild speculations aside, we showed the killer’s face in Episode 1. Though we know that as this ‘third man,’ whose face was scarred by his father, Errol is himself a revenant of great historical evil. There’s enough fragmentary history in Episode 7 that, like Hemingway’s iceberg, what is obscured can be discerned by what is visible. We have further context and dimension to explore with the killer, but the true questions now are whether Cohle and Hart succeed, what they will find, and whether they’ll make it out alive.”

Season 1 True Detective finale airs Sunday, March 9 at 9pm ET/PT