By Justine Sterling
Updated March 04, 2014
Ellen was right: Mcconaughey is dirty pretty.
© Lacey Terrell / HBO

The incredible tension in HBO’s True Detective has probably already driven you to drink or, if you’re like Detective Rust Cohle, to slam down a handful of quaaludes. But if you’re the type who prefers to drink with structure, here are some guidelines for the probably insane final episode.

1. Take a shot whenever you see one of those weirdo dream catchers. Oh god, what do they mean? They’re like something that Damien (a.k.a. Satan, Jr.) would make at summer camp!

2. Have a long, slow, contemplative sip of your drink every time someone mentions the Yellow King. Because what if you’re the Yellow King? What if everyone is?

3. Whenever there’s one long, uninterrupted tracking shot that lasts for more than that 10 seconds, drink until it’s over. Then go back to episode four and rewatch that six-minute continuously shot raid scene and pass out.

4. Take a sip when Marty gives Rust an angry and incredulous look for saying something cryptic and/or erudite. Usually, this means he’s quoting something from Nietzsche or using the word accretion.

5. Whenever Marty loses his shit or acts without thinking, take a shot and shake your head in disapproval. The man just never learns to take a deep breath and count to 10.

6. Drink an entire bottle of Southern Comfort if Rust actually turns out to be the Yellow King. Because why would the show do that to you?

7. Every time a prostitute nonchalantly says something terrifying and awful, take a sip. Oh, you know: “They’re all 14 around here. It’s fine.” No, it’s not!

8. If the other detectives at the station ever look like they’re actually working on something, take a big sip. If the other cops/detectives took just one second to stop making fun of or congratulating Rust and Marty and do some policing, the county would be a lot less crime-ridden.

9. Drink every time Rust smokes a regular cigarette like he’s smoking what the kids call a jazz cigarette. No one smokes cigarettes like that. No one.

10. Take a long sip, then let out a long “ahhhhh” whenever there’s a picturesque shot of a bayou and/or swamp. It’s almost pretty enough to make you forget about the horribly disturbing mental images the show has forced into your nightmares.

Recommended Beverages

Watching Rust plow through a six-pack of Lone Star beer sure made us crave a couple. Whiskey is also appropriate, but only if you drink it like you’re trying to erase a terrible memory. You can’t actually appear to enjoy it.