True Detective Season 2 has raised a lot of questions over the course of its eight-week run, but one has loomed larger than all the others: 

Will this installment succeed where season one failed and deliver a conclusion to make all those twists, turns and philosophical diatribes feel worthwhile?

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If you haven't watched the first seven episodes of True Detective Season 2 in preparation for tonight’s 90-minute finale, consider this your spoiler alert.

If you have been keeping up all along, then you know such a warning isn’t really necessary, as few viewers have any idea what the hell is going on, and the solution to the central mystery doesn't matter much, anyway.

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At last week's Television Critics Association press tour, HBO president of programming Michael Lombardo assured a panel of reporters that critics who have been mercilessly drubbing True Detective all season will regret it once they see what creator Nic Pizzolatto has up his sleeve for the show's finale.

Unfortunately, Lombardo is falling victim to the Shyamalan Delusion.

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The second half of True Detective Season 2 is, in some ways, a different beast than the first - or so showrunner Nic Pizzolatto would have us believe.

This was signaled last week in everything from the loss of Velcoro's old school mustache to Bezzerides' return to old school cigarettes of the non-electronic variety.

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Say what you will about the second season of True Detective (and the Internet has expressed a wide array of opinions), Nic Pizzolatto and company have proven undeniably adept at delivering some seriously intense white-knuckle finales.

Of course, whether they're nothing more than cheap shocks used to distract us from the lack of a compelling central storyline is another issue.

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Gotcha! If you paused the opening moments of True Detective Season 2 Episode 3, you could probably hear showrunner Nic Pizzolatto celebrating one of the great fake-outs in recent TV history.

Last week, we were led to believe that Detective Ray Velcoro (Colin Farrell) had been murdered - shot dead by a bird-masked assailant who finished the deed with a point-blank coup de grace that seemed to all but ensure that Velcoro's number was up. 

Posted in: True Detective