True Detective Season 4’s ‘Woke’ Complaints Explained

True Detective Season 4 has angered a particular subsect of the internet, with detractors of the series calling it ‘woke.’

The hit HBO anthology returned after four years, this time taking its signature brand of thrilling mystery to the chilly tundra of Ennis, Alaska, as a pair of detectives look into the bizarre disappearance of some local radio tower operators. 

Early in its run, Season 4 – subtitled Night Country earned near-universal acclaim, being heralded as a return to form for the series, and garnering an impressive 93% critic approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Is True Detective Season 4 ‘Woke’?

True Detective, Jodie Foster
True Detective

While critics seem to be loving True Detective Season 4 thus far, the same cannot be said for a certain contingent of fans. 

This latest story in the beloved crime anthology has been deemed ‘too woke’ by some, with fans leaving negative reviews online of the series to show their disdain. 

These ‘woke’ comments are assumed to be referencing the series’ leads this time around.

While previous seasons have featured male leads (ex. Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson, Colin Farrell, and Mahershala Ali), Night Country puts Oscar-winning actress Jodie Foster and former professional female boxer Kali Reis in the forefront. 

Where most of the hate seems to come from looks to be rooted in the fact that Foster and Reis are both members of the queer community and it also looks as though their on-screen characters are as well. 

Detractors have been quick to latch onto this fact, calling out the castings and prominent representation of powerful women as a part of the series. 

Users like Johnny Nil have thrown around words like “woke propaganda” to describe Night Country:

“Watched episode one of ‘True Detective’ season 4. Disgusting, uninteresting, visually unappealing, woke propaganda. Skip it.”

Some (including X-user Noonan Labs) have even called the real villain of the show “the woke mind virus:”

“Spoiler Alert: the bad guy in the new season of True Detective is the woke mind virus.”

These sorts of complaints have sadly become commonplace with any sort of media that is not heteronormative or male-led, with any sort of inclusion or on-screen diversity setting these sorts of bad actors off. 

True Detective: Night Country Creator Calls Out Haters

In response to ‘woke’ comments circling True Detective Season 4, series showrunner Issa Lopez has called out those criticizing the series in bad faith. 

While critics have seemed to love the series so far, a review bombing campaign commenced for the series, dragging its audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes down to 69%.

To battle this Lopez took to X (formerly Twitter), telling fans to “if you liked last night’s [episode] of [True Detective: Night Country]” head to Rotten Tomatoes “and leave an audience review” (via Variety):

 “So, if you liked last night’s [episode] of [‘True Detective: Night Country‘], and have a Rotten Tomatoes account, maybe head over there and leave an audience review?”

She continued, calling those who have disliked the ‘woke’ direction of the series “bros and hardcore fanboys” who have made it their mission to drag down the review score:

“The bros and hardcore fanboys of [Season 1] have made it a mission to drag the rating down, and it’s kind of sad, considering all the 5 star ones.”

Lopez has since deleted the posts, citing generalizations with her “bros” comment, but that has not stopped the review score from creeping down.

Yes, there may be some legitimate criticisms in those audience scores on Rotten Tomatoes (with some fans taking issue at the show’s new supernatural twist). But it is pretty easy to tell what sort of bad-faith actions are at play when looking closer at said reviews. 

Breaking down the 1000+ audience scores left on Night Country, there are plenty of four or five-star reviews praising the series, but the majority of the scores lower than that sit at half-a-star or one-star a telltale sign a review bombing campaign is at play. 

What is noticeable is with most review bombing campaigns the audience scores dwindle below 50% and even lower. But due to the significant amount of glowingly positive reviews, it sits at that fine 69%. 

As it stands, from a critical standpoint on Rotten Tomatoes, True Detective Season 4 sits as the highest-rated season of the HBO series thus far (1% above acclimated Season 1).

So, whether one thinks the series is ‘woke’ or not, Lopez and the Night Country team are getting their flowers as the show is likely viewed as a success by the entity that signs their checks, HBO. 

True Detective: Night Country is streaming now on Max. 

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