True Detective is truly a show that can’t just be watched once. After re-watching the last two episodes, I saw at least a dozen things I never saw before. My theories shift ever few seconds. In one viewing, I’m convinced that Hart is the killer, due to his volitaile behavior, MESSED UP daughter, and eagerness to kill LeDoux in an instant. In the next viewing, I fully believe that Hart and Cohle are faking their rift to continue their investigation. Every viewing and new scene changes my perspective in almost every way.
One thing that never changes for me: True Detective is a show unlike any other. It may share tropes with other mystery and detective shows, but it is unique in the best way possible. It’s tough to choose only a few best moments in every episode. Here are a few highlights from “Haunted Houses:”
The Fall of Hart
Matthew McConaughey gets all the buzz for the show, especially since his character is one of the most complicated on television. But Woody Harrelson is doing some great work portraying the pure insanity that is Marty Hart. He’s never been a likeable character, which is what makes every ounce of pain Hart experiences cathartic for the viewer.
In “Seeing Things,” Marty was first called out for his ridiculous misogyny in a memorable speech by a local madam. Hart saw himself as a sort of savior for an under-aged prostitute, Beth, handing her a few bucks and a few uninformed words of wisdom about how she should live his life. Seven years later, he comes across Beth again and it doesn’t take much for him to go back to his philandering and drunkard ways. (Having to buy tampons for the women in his life may have been the tipping point.)
I may have jumped off the “Hart’s The Killer” train, but I will still take too much enjoyment in life kicking his ass. Harrelson’s performance is what makes a completely despicable character so compelling.
“In a former life, I used to exhaust myself over crude men who though they were clever,” Maggie says when she’s first brought in to talk to the detectives. Her 2013 mom hair aside, Maggie has managed to continue her streak of awesomeness. We get to see Maggie more than ever before. One of the major complaints of the show is the lack of fleshed out female characters (there are more naked butts in the opening credits than there are women with speaking roles in any given episode.) Maggie nearly makes up for that egregious lack of the fairer sex.
After finding naked pictures of Beth on Marty’s phone, Maggie decides to have an affair of her own. She fails at a stranger hookup in a bar, so she heads towards Rust’s house. (In the 2013 scenes, she mentions that she knew Rust less than most. But really this episode proves that she knows him more than anyone in this world ever could.) They fumble in a quick, but heart wrenching hookup that is clearly marks the end of the Hart/Cohle partnership forever. Or at least until 2012.
Maggie’s final words to Cohle are particularly upsetting. “This will hurt him… This he can’t live with…Sorry but thank you.” She’s willing to ruin Cohle’s life to hurt her husband. But damn, can you blame her?
“If you get the opportunity, you should kill yourself.”
That line was only the first of many of Cohle’s signature gut-punch quotes of the episode. It comes at the end of an interrogation of a young mother who killed her babies due to her Munchausen’s by proxy, a mental disorder that causes people to hurt others for attention. Cohle holds her hand and walks her through her confession in the sweetest way possible, even mentioning that he lost his child. Then, bam! He drops that line on her. It’s surprising but perfectly Cohle.
Other amazing Cohle quotes from the night:
- “You people. This place. It’s like you eat your f***ing young as long as you have something to salute.”
- “Without me, there is no you.”
- “I’m the person the least in need of counseling in the f***ing state.” Preach.
- “People who give me advice…I reckon their talking to themselves.”
Cohle’s Continued Investigation
As we’ve known all along, Cohle’s investigation of Dora Lange’s murder didn’t end with LeDoux’s death. His 2002 scenes are consumed with piecing together more clues. First he questions the reverend from Dora’s revival church and discovers that the Tuttle religious schools were filled with molested children. Cohle later speaks with the little girl he and Marty saved from LeDoux’s house. She hauntingly describes a suspect: “The man with the scars was the worst…The giant. He made me watch what he did to Billy…his face…his face…” Whoever this mystery suspect is will clearly be formidable, unless that was all just the perspective of a scared young girl. It’s the closest I’ve felt to the investigation since the show started.
In 2002, Rust and Marty have a blow out fight. Marty, fresh from the news that his partner had sex with his wife, attempts to pummel Rust in the police department parking lot. They both get their blows in, although Rust is clearly more in shape and has seen far more fights. In the scuffle, Marty flips over and busts Rust’s taillight with his body. It was a hilarious moment in the scene. The acrobatic flip was seemingly out of place in this brutal fight. However, in 2012, it’s revealed that Rust has never gotten his taillight fixed. That fight was the moment when things went down hill for him, especially since he quits his job straight after. The broken taillight is clearly a constant reminder for him of his guilt. It’s a small detail that so encompasses the character and another reason why True Detective is the best.