True Detective Final Scene (SPOILERS. EMOTIONAL SPOILERS)
Marty:“Talk to me, Rust.”
Rust:“There was a moment, I know, when I was under in the dark, that something… whatever I’d been reduced to, not even consciousness, just a vague awareness in the dark. I could feel my definitions fading. And beneath that darkness there was another kind—it was deeper—warm, like a substance. I could feel man, I knew, I knew my daughter waited for me, there. So clear. I could feel her. I could feel … I could feel the peace of my Pop, too. It was like I was part of everything that I have ever loved, and we were all, the three of us, just fading out. And all I had to do was let go, man. And I did. I said, ‘Darkness, yeah.’ and I disappeared. But I could still feel her love there. Even more than before. Nothing. Nothing but that love. And then I woke up.”
(Rust breaks down, sobbing)
Marty:“Didn’t you tell me one time, dinner once, maybe, about how you used to ... you used to make up stories about the stars?”
Rust:“Yeah, that was in Alaska, under the night skies.”
Marty:“Yeah, you used to lay there and look up, at the stars?”
Rust:“Yeah, I think you remember how I never watched the TV until I was 17, so there wasn’t much to do up there but walk around, explore, and...”
Marty:“And look up at the stars and make up stories. Like what?”
Rust:“I tell you Marty I been up in that room looking out those windows every night here just thinking, it’s just one story. The oldest.”
Rust:“Light versus dark.”
Marty:“Well, I know we ain’t in Alaska, but it appears to me that the dark has a lot more territory.”
Rust:“Yeah, you’re right about that.”
Rust insists that Marty help him leave the hospital, and Marty agrees. As they head to the car, Rust makes one final point to his former partner.
Rust:“You’re looking at it wrong, the sky thing.”
Rust:“Well, once there was only dark. You ask me, the light’s winning.”
On being a pessimist whilst longing to be an optimist and relating to Rust Cohle
Deep down I’ve always liked the idea of being an optimist but for several reasons I’ve always seen myself as more of a realist or pessimist. One of the huge reasons is that my constant worrying and anxiety about things has made me always fear for the worst and expect it so that when things inevitably go wrong I have a coping mechanism. I have expected life to screw me over; I have thought of all the worse case scenarios and prepared for them. If somehow things go right it is a pleasant surprise though one I still naturally wary about.
I am also a pessimist because well it is hard not to be in this modern world, there are just too many awful things happening that is difficult to find any faith in humanity.
This is why the character of Rust Cohle has deeply affected me because really as much as I am cynical about things, as much as I complain that the world is screwed, that as a race we are destined to destroy ourselves - I like the idea that maybe just maybe lightness and goodness is winning the long battle.
I’ve seen some complaints about Rust’s ‘conversion’ at the end of the series but it is not like he has found religious faith, he has just realised that having some hope isn’t a bad thing. That for all his talk of mankind being useless that deep down he just cares too much about the world. See this is the reality of being pessimist it isn’t really about disdain for your fellow human no it is about the despair that we don’t do better as a race, the disappointment that we allow ourselves to be caught up in wars, in abuse scandals, in the constant violence against one and other.
Some people think it is easier to be a pessimist than an optimist because when you’re reading the paper and see yet another article about a child murdered by its own parents as a pessimist you can easily dismiss it as mankind doing what it’s born to do. This isn’t true though, really we want mankind to do better, we really do and its incredibly frustrating when it doesn’t so we build up these walls of cynicism, of ‘Same shit, different day’ attitudes because if we didn’t then we would probably go mad at how messed up human beings can be to one and other.
So back to Rust Cohle, a man who has spent the years since his daughter’s death engulfed in grief but masking it in pessimism. Rust lets his mask slip and shows a touch of optimism when he declares that “the light’s winning” because he has seen firsthand the good work they achieved, that even if they didn’t catch all the monsters, even if darkness will always be out there lurking and dominating the very fact that they stopped the darkness spreading just for a little while is an achievement.
Rust Cohle and his story may be fictional but I have spent the entire day pondering how he managed to find some optimism at last and I realised I want it for myself. I don’t want to spend every day despairing and cynical. I want to believe that maybe just maybe we aren’t lost to the darkness forever. I want to see the light winning because I care. I really do care. If I didn’t it wouldn’t upset me so much when we fail.