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Matthew McConaughey as Rustin Cohle in HBO's True Detective
"Why" may be just a word, but it's one of the important words in any language. Pondering why things occur is the basis of science and philosophy (both secular and religious). Why does the sun rise in the east? Why does humanity exist? Why is there so much suffering in this world? So many questions and feelings of so little certainty. At some point in our lives there comes a moment where we are confronted with a situation that seems wrong, that seems unfair, that we feel deep down in our bones it shouldn't be happening. And in that moment we are alone, helpless in our thoughts, thinking about all the terrible possibilities while wondering "why?"

I think the appeal of the mystery genre is that it acknowledges the apprehensions about the unknowns of life while also giving us a fantasy where things can be solved and order prevails over chaos. Through mystery fiction and crime procedurals, we are rewarded with motives, purpose, and reasons that explain the real-life horrors of the world and play into either a faith in justice or a despair about human nature.

HBO's anthology series True Detective, written by novelist Nic Pizzolatto and directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, is very much an examination of those themes. The show follows Detectives Rustin Cohle (Matthew McConaughey) and Martin Hart (Woody Harrelson) as they investigate a brutal, ritualistic murder of a woman in 1995 and are also questioned by two other detectives 17 years later after a similar murder, even though Cohle and Hart supposedly caught the original killer. Both detectives are remarkably different in worldview, but similarly flawed. And it's through those flaws, and the filter of their worldviews, that we see the evolution of the mystery at the heart of the series and the toll it takes on their lives.

Please read below the fold for more on this story.

"You think, you wonder, ever, you're a bad man?" —Martin Hart

"No, I don't wonder, Marty. The world needs bad men. We keep the other bad men from the door." —Rustin Cohle

Just to be clear, everything that follows is going to be a discussion of what's happened from the beginning to last night's show (episode 6). So if you're not caught up, and don't want to be spoiled, this would be the place to stop reading.
Back in the '90s, after the success of films like Jonathan Demme's adaption of Thomas Harris' The Silence of the Lambs and David Fincher's Se7en, there was a glut of thriller/serial killer films. And with each new film, there was a tendency to make the killer a more flamboyant genius psycho, the modus operandi more complicated and gory until they reached points of ridiculousness.

Unlike most of those movies of that era, True Detective is not really about the killer or the murder that is at the center of the story. It's an important part of the story, but the series is really an examination of two characters that have a yin-yang relationship to each other and how the circumstances of the investigation filters through their worldviews, flaws, and how that affects everyone around them.

"They saw for the very first time how easy it was to just let go. And they saw, in that last nanosecond, they saw what they were, that you, yourself, this whole big drama, it was never anything but a Jerry-rig of presumption and dumb will and you could just let go finally now. That you didn't have to hold on so tight. To realize that all your life, all your love, all your hate, all your memory, all your pain, it was all the same thing. It was all the same dream you had inside a locked room – a dream about being a person. And, like a lot of dreams, there’s a monster at the end of it.”
The show's framing device (i.e. multiple interrogations in 2012 which color the flashbacks of what exactly happened over the course of 17 years) allows the audience to discern not only the difference between what the characters say happened and what did happen, but also contrasting perceptions about life itself.

The amount of critical acclaim and public word of mouth this show has achieved over just six episodes has been pretty amazing. It's the best show on television at the moment, riveting and rich with allusion, and has featured some amazing performances and cinematography. Matthew McConaughey is already having an amazing year with Dallas Buyer's Club, and this show has seemed to cement his reputation as a top-tier actor in Hollywood. Over at Grantland, Andy Greenwald described McConaughey's performance as Rustin Cohle as “a rubber band wrapped tight around a razor blade.”

  • Rationalization and Denial: The difference in perspective between the two lead characters is that one of them comes at everything from his own ego and rationalizes all the crappy things that he does and that happens in the world. The other gives not one fuck about what people think of him, but denies that both the crappy and the good matter for a damn thing in the long run. Woody Harrelson's Marty defines himself by how society perceives him, wanting to conform to the structure and role of what he thinks being a "man" means within it. But the character is always rationalizing his own shitty behavior or shifting the blame when he steps over the lines of society and family. Marty thinks he "deserves" to let off some steam by fucking the hot court stenographer, or using his badge as a means to roughing up the guys that had sex with his daughter. On the other hand, McConaughey's Cohle professes a belief in the futility of life and denies that anything has meaning. But whether the character truly believes that, or just wants to believe it as a coping mechanism is one of the issues in interpreting him.
  • The Difference Between Appearances and Reality: Marty always attempts to project an image of being a good guy and having a life that fits his perceptions of "the way things are supposed to be." Even during his interview in 2012, Marty always presents himself as a genial good ole boy and can't say a bad word about anything. And the reason he can't do that is because his ego won't allow it. Rust was a great investigator, not only because Rust is a great investigator, but because Marty was the lead detective and Rust is also a reflection on him. And it's not just that Marty fucked around, and loves indulging in "big dick swagger." He was (at least in 2002) violent with everyone in his life, wife and daughter included, whenever things in his life didn't fit his vision of how they're supposed to be. ("Don't mow my lawn!") I actually think in a lot of ways Harrelson's perfomance is the tougher of the two leads. Marty is a "straight man" to Rust's metaphysical ramblings, but Harrelson still gives a modulated performance that shows a character that clings to control, but at the same time is out of control.
  • What Makes "The Taxman" Tick?: To call Cohle a pessimist is a bit of an understatement. The character's existential/nihilistic philosophy is a creation of tragedy (losing a daughter, which the show has never fully explained the circumstances of the death, and his marriage) and the terrible things he's seen and done as a cop. McConaughey plays Cohle as a man always standing on the edge. You always feel like he's a hair away from violence or self-destruction through alcohol, drugs, or just take your pick. But even in all of his metaphysical commentary about how worthless human existence is, I think Cohle is just as much a hypocrite about acting differently from what he projects as Marty. For example, even before what happened in last night's episode, in all of Rust's interactions with Maggie you get the sense that he envies the home life Marty has and on some level desires a life where he could come home to a wife and those girls. In fact, I think he resents that Marty throws that life away to go chasing skirts. Beyond that, there's the dichotomy of a character that professes that human consciousness is a delusion that has no purpose or meaning becoming obsessed with solving a crime. If this existence is deterministic and an illusion, why give a shit about a murder, or even a series of murders, that you believe have, are, and will happen for all eternity? Because Marty is absolutely right that Rust spends a lot of time fretting about life for someone who claims to think it's bullshit.
"Time is a flat circle."
"I think human consciousness is a tragic misstep in human evolution. We became too self aware; nature created an aspect of nature separate from itself. We are creatures that should not exist by natural law. We are things that labor under the illusion of having a self, a secretion of sensory experience and feeling, programmed with total assurance that we are each somebody, when in fact everybody’s nobody. I think the honorable thing for our species to do is deny our programming, stop reproducing, walk hand in hand into extinction, one last midnight, brothers and sisters opting out of a raw deal ... This is a world where nothing is solved. You know, someone once told me time is a flat circle. Everything we've every done or will do, we're gonna do over and over and over again ... I think about my daughter now and what she was spared. Sometimes I feel grateful. The doctor said she didn’t feel a thing, went straight into a coma. Then, somewhere in that blackness, she slipped off into another deeper kind. Isn’t that a beautiful way to go out — painlessly as a happy child? Trouble with dying later is you’ve already grown up, the damage is done too late. I think about the hubris it must take to yank a soul out of nonexistence into this. Force a life into this thresher. As for my daughter, she spared me the sin of being a father." —Rustin Cohle
  • Reading Between the Lines: When it comes to the family storyline, there's the contrast between Rust, whose worldview is shaped by the effect of losing a child, and Marty who has two children that he's never home to see. While the show hasn't confirmed it (yet), it seems to be implied both in behavior and actions (like the drawings below) that Marty's daughter Audrey has been sexually abused by someone.
"My true failure was inattention. I understand that now."
  • The Suffering Wife: The episode that aired last night totally changed the way I looked at Michelle Monaghan's Maggie. Before this episode, the character had been described as a well-justified "nag" to Marty. Maggie is not a fool, and she's written as someone who's smart enough to know that her husband is full of shit when he claims to be working and doesn't come home at night. But I dreaded the turn in the plot where she would sleep with Rust. The show has been telegraphing some attraction between the two in all of Maggie and Rust's interactions going to the first episode. An affair between the two always struck as being a little too obvious and a hacky direction. But I was surprised at the depths of the character's vindictiveness and her ability to manipulate the situation. Maggie uses Rust as a means to an end, since she knows that if she just kicks Marty out again he'll come back again and again begging for another chance. By fucking Rust, Maggie knows it's something Marty can never forgive or forget, and I think that's what pisses Rust off so much. Down under the nihilism, Rust cares about Maggie. And after the sex, when Rust realizes that she used him for spite, not because she actually cared about him, that's what sets him off.
"With all the dick swagger you roll, you can't spot crazy pussy?"
  • Women as Trophies: True Detective has been criticized for the depiction of its female characters, which have been described as "a parade of scolds, sluts and the strung out." Emily Nussbaum at the New Yorker has written an article complaining that the show presents women as "disposable female bodies." But Willa Paskin over at Slate argues that is the point. The depiction of women on the show is not a flaw, it's one of the main themes of the story. Women are missing. Women are being tortured and murdered and no one seems to notice or give a shit. The fact that Marty treats the women in his life as either disposable pieces or things to be controlled is part of his major flaw. If Marty had shown Lisa (Alexandra Daddario) just an ounce of respect and let her live her life on her own terms, instead of breaking down her door, she probably wouldn't have called Maggie (at least not yet). According to Paskin, True Detective is "a man’s story taking place in a man’s world, a world in which ignoring women has been the cause of untold horror—and has probably delayed that horror’s resolution as well." The subtext for this has been there since the early episodes. Just as an example, there are scenes of prostitutes, some of them children, walking the streets in droves for everyone to see, and no one gives a damn.

From Andrew Romano's interview of True Detective creator/writer Nic Pizzolatto at The Daily Beast:
Pizzolatto: I think my serial killer’s personal pathology is wrapped in very culturally relevant symbols that may not be immediately apparent. Not just hunting, but the idea of woman as trophy to be stuffed and displayed. The idea of prayer, and one of the necessities of the prayer pose being the blindfold: in order to effectively pray you’re going to have to ignore some very basic facts about the world.

So to me it’s not just that Cohle and Hart are hunting for their savage id or their most destructive portion. It’s that the killer has some resonance in the kinds of shows we’re talking about. We only have the one murdered woman at the crime scene in the entire series. It’s not an unrelenting horror show. It’s meant to stand in for the universal victim in this type of drama. Because while I think we’re doing a good job of telling the story that this genre demands, I think we’re also poking certain holes in it and looking at where these instincts begin, both in the type of men that Hart and Cohle represent—and in ourselves as an audience.

"This place is like somebody's memory of a town and the memory's fading. Like it's nothing here but jungle."
  • Setting as Character: One of the great achievements of this show is how it uses the Louisiana setting at establishing the mood of the piece. There's an unsettling feeling throughout in the depiction of decay and a dread for what the future holds, with Hurricanes Andrew and Rita being name dropped at various times.
  • One Writer, One Director: The show is a bit unusual in its auteur-anthology format. There is no writer's room on this, and every episode is directed by the same director. It's just one guy writing it all, 38-year old Nic Pizzolatto, who was a college writing professor four years ago. Cary Joji Fukunaga directs every episode, which are all shot on 35mm film. There's a singular vision given to the work, and Fukunaga has been lauded for stunning visuals. In particular, Fukunaga received high praise for a complicated six-minute long "oner" take that ends the fourth episode. When I first watched it, I thought there had to be some digital stitching that edited together the sequence (like the way Alfonso Cuarón did the sequence in Children of Men). However, the take in True Detective was actually six minutes long and carefully choreographed.
From Kevin P. Sullivan at MTV:
To cover as much ground as he wanted to in the sequence, Fukunaga needed to shoot in an actual housing project, and that was the first complication in planning the oner. It took weeks to even get permission to film on-location, but once he received it, Fukunaga went straight into mapping the shot and finding "the most interesting path, but also the most logical path" for Cohle to escape with Ginger. That interesting and logical path eventually takes Cohle and Ginger over a chain-link fence, a maneuver that proved to be the most complicated of the intricate sequence.

Watching just the fences portion of the oner back, the camera floats over the high barrier in a movement that almost looks effortless. Getting the shot, however, was anything but. Because the location was an actual housing project, the "True Detective" crew wasn't allowed to take down any portion of the fence, so they had to improvise. "At one point, we were going to build a ramp, and the operator was going to walk up it," Fukunaga said. "But that wasn't very safe." The solution ended up involving placing the Steadicam operator on an elevated jib, or a weighted crane, which carried him over the fence and back down to earth.

Songs that the Hyades shall sing,
Where flap the tatters of the King,
Must die unheard in
Dim Carcosa.
  • The King in Yellow: At various points in the story of True Detective, there are references to Robert Chambers’ 1895 collection of short stories, “The King in Yellow," in which several of the stories are connected by a fictional play, about the titular ruler, which drives to insanity whoever reads it. The novel was an influence in the creation of H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos," with Lovecraft taking "Hastur, the unspeakable one" from Chambers' book. The murder victim in True Detective, Dora Lange, had said she had met a “king.” In her diary, she mentioned “the Yellow King” and “Carcosa,” which are all references to "The King in Yellow."
  • "We Are Nobodies Not Somebodies, Puppets Not People": Given the references to an Eldritch Abomination, many have noted that Cohle's philosophy seems to be taken from from Thomas Ligotti's nonfiction novel The Conspiracy Against the Human Race. In the book, Ligotti lays out an argument for why the reality as it currently exists is as horrific as anything dreamed up by Lovecraft.
  • The "True" Monster at the End of the Dream: The murder and its strangeness led Marty and Rust to Reggie Ledoux, who had already killed one child and seemed to be preparing to kill two more. The pieces of the crime seemed to fit together. Charlie Lange, Dora Lange's husband, had talked about her in prison, causing Ledoux to take an interest in her, and he ritualistically killed her. But since we know there were many more murders before and since Ledoux's death, that leaves a bunch of possibilities. Was Ledoux really Lange's killer in 1995, and there's someone new copying his work in 2012? Was Ledoux working with others, as part of a cult that's been responsible for all the murders? Could Ledoux have been innocent of Lange's murder, and it was always someone else that Rust and Marty never caught on to? The fact that almost all of the missing person reports are marked "report made in error" seems to suggest that someone within law enforcement is covering up the murders and attempting to shift blame elsewhere.
  • Edwin Edwards Merged With Jimmy Swaggart: One name that keeps coming up in the investigation is Tuttle. In the True Detective universe, Reverend Billy Lee Tuttle (Jay O. Sanders) is the cousin of the governor of Louisiana, which is attempting to use his influence to start his own charter schools and is able to force through an investigation of "anti-Christian activities." But all indications and suggestions are that the killer (or killers) are somehow connected to Tuttle or possibly being protected by him.
  • The Suspicion of Rust: From back in episode 1, you get the feeling that the investigation in 2012 is directed at Rust, and that's confirmed by episode 5. The detectives in 2012 believe Rust may have been the killer all along and directed the investigation in a way to divert attention. However, their theory doesn't match up to what we see in the flashbacks to 1995. The question then becomes whether you can split the difference and believe that Rust has been driven so far over the edge that he snapped and is the killer in 2012? I don't buy it for a couple of reasons. For one thing, it's been such an obvious direction from the get-go that I don't think it's the resolution that Pizzolatto will choose. Moreover, of the two lead detectives, I could see Marty being the killer before I would think it of Rust. Marty is violent with women, has a daughter with indicators of sexual abuse, and he spends a lot of nights away from home. But even that feels like a stretch and hacky. My own theory is that it has to be some sort of cult run by Tuttle. And Tuttle's people are using their connections to direct the investigation toward Rust as a distraction.

Originally posted to 医生的宫殿 on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 09:37 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (44+ / 0-)

    It'll be interesting to see whether HBO submits True Detective as a drama series or a miniseries. They have a better chance of racking up a lot of awards if they submit it as a miniseries. But if they submit it as a drama series, I think McConaughey is the only actor I could conceivably see beating Bryan Cranston for Breaking Bad's final season.

    I'm not saying I would vote that way, but it wouldn't surprise me if it happened, given how good McConaughey has been in this show.

  •  You should probably put NSFW in the title. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wader, side pocket, ER Doc, susans, cosette
  •  this is almost enough to make me (13+ / 0-)

    get HBO

    Dawkins is to atheism as Rand is to personal responsibility. uid 52583 lol

    by terrypinder on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 10:00:09 AM PST

  •  Best line of last night's episode/maybe the series (20+ / 0-)

    "If you get the opportunity, you should kill yourself." -  Rust Cohle

  •  The questions are more rooted in reality (9+ / 0-)
    At some point in our lives there comes a moment where we are confronted with a situation that seems wrong, that seems unfair, that we feel deep down in our bones it shouldn't be happening. And in that moment we are alone, helpless in our thoughts, thinking about all the terrible possibilities while wondering "why?"
    That is simple sophomoric theodicy, as unanswerable as it is irrelevant.  The better, more applicable questions raised by the characters are not why bad things happen but what are the actions and reactions those things compel from rational men.

    Justice and justification.  Reason and rationalization.  Questions of perspective and ethical view that is or is not dependent on the self being the central basis for decisions.  And the inherent human condition of being able to adroitly espouse one worldview and then not be emotionally equipped to act on it when shit goes down.

    It may yet devolve into a more straight-forward whodunnit in a thrilling race to catch a killer.  But the relentless reflection on these detached pockets of maladjusted self-sustaining morality and the lacks thereof, I think are the true heft of the narrative thus far.

    ...all that being said, the riot scene in the projects when Rust escapes with the biker was unlike anything I've seen in a while.  It was like some mix of Mad Max and Black Hawk Down.

    Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

    by Wisper on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 10:27:22 AM PST

    •  I Agree (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KayCeSF, dewtx, yoduuuh do or do not

      I think this show is aiming for larger, more complex questions.

      But what I was going for in the text in the blockquote is that I think the mystery/crime genre begins at that "simple sophomoric theodicy, as unanswerable as it is irrelevant." But how the stories use that as a jumping off point to ponder "the actions and reactions those things compel from rational men" is what separates the great stories from simple narrative procedurals.

    •  On that note: (4+ / 0-)

      I can't always tell if the show is giving us Cohle's viewpoint because it endorses it, or to tear it down progressively.  There's a really telling moment when Ledoux is spouting his "time is a flat circle" shtick and Cohle tells him (rightly) something like "Shut up with that Nietzsche shit", which is something I've been yelling at Cohle since episode one.  Then, a few minutes later, Cohle is saying "time is a flat circle" to the detectives as if it's capital-T Truth.  So his worldview seems more permeable than he lets on, and I hope the show keeps poking holes in his dogma as it continues.

      Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

      by pico on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 07:19:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I think it's the best series I've watched (12+ / 0-)

    in a long time.  It keeps me sitting on the edge of my seat, the script is awesome, and the acting is superb! I must say, it puts me in such a dark mood and I have to turn to Downton Abbey to turn off the dark. Even so, after watching True Detective, I continue thinking about what Rust has inferred with his esoteric commentary.

    Excellent review and your examinations of the characters seem spot on to me!  Thanks!

    I would rather spend my life searching for truth than live a single day within the comfort of a lie. ~ John Victor Ramses

    by KayCeSF on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 10:51:43 AM PST

  •  So much to think about. (SPOILERS!) (14+ / 0-)

    When I saw the name of your diary in the sidebar, I was afraid you were going to be bashing the show. I'm was so happy to find such a thoughtful exposition.

    This is one of the most amazing shows I've ever experienced (and, yes, for me it is an experience). I've had to go back and watch each episode numerous times, and each time I see something in the backround, or catch a bit of conversation, that seems crucial, but that I missed before. Obviously, I haven't re-watched last night's episode yet, but I intend to do so tonight.

    I totally agree with your spot-on descriptions of Marty and Rust. Although Rust's philosophy of despair is depressing, Marty is one out-of-control SOB. I was really upset by his actions last night - especially his sleeping with the same young woman who was the under-age prostitute he tried to help in 1995. While it's true that she's now an adult, she still very young and very damaged. And then of course, there's the whoe issue of the continuing damage he wreaks on his wife and daughters.

    What Maggie did to Rust was cold! I think she was the one person Rust felt a human connection with, and she used that for her own purposes.

    From the very beginning, I've suspected that Rust may have accidently caused his daughter's death, and cannot forgive himself, thus leading to the contradictions in his character that you point out so well.

    I'm very worried about Marty's daughter. There's been something grotesquely wrong in her life for years, and neither parent has seemed appropriately concerned about what that might be.

    Brilliant show! Thanks for posting this diary.

    Let's dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world. Let us dedicate ourselves to that, and say a prayer for our country and for our people. - Robert Kennedy

    by bogieshadow on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 12:25:42 PM PST

    •  yes, yes, yes, and yes. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Doctor RJ, dewtx

      My thoughts, too.

      I would rather spend my life searching for truth than live a single day within the comfort of a lie. ~ John Victor Ramses

      by KayCeSF on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 02:23:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  "What Maggie did to Rust was cold!" (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Doctor RJ, followyourbliss, dewtx

      Keep in mind that Maggie had gone to Rust for something like human compassion during the first separation from her husband, and Rust treated her with the usual cold affectation.  I don't really pity him, given how much he covered for his partner, and treating her as something more like a necessary damage control.

      Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

      by pico on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 07:10:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  He Was Trying To Keep Marty Centered Though (4+ / 0-)

        The scene in the bar where he talks Marty down after the incident at the hospital and the scene with Maggie after the first separation was right in the middle of when they were making progress towards Ledoux. Rust was trying to keep his partner's mind settled enough to where he could be useful, and not get them killed.

        From Rust's perspective (and probably most people's), catching a murderer is more important than Maggie's domestic troubles.

        In his all of his interactions with Maggie, Rust seemed like he wanted to make a connection with her. In fact, I think it's one of the dichotomies of the character, in that as much as he professes that life has no meaning and there's no love and it's all bullshit, whenever he's with Maggie, he seems to envy Marty's personal life. I think deep down he wants to come home to someone like Maggie, to love someone, and have two little girls waiting for him.

        So when Rust finally realizes that she used him for spite, not because she actually cared about him, that's what sets him off and causes him to throw her out.

        •  She's not a tool, though. (5+ / 0-)

          That's the point she makes to him in the diner: he's a guy, he thinks it's okay to treat women a certain way, and (most offensively, because it's probably correct) he probably made a terrible husband.  The Ledoux case is not her concern - she has two kids at home, one of whom was probably abused - but she's being "managed" at that moment, and she knows it.

          I think he gets what he deserves.

          Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

          by pico on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 07:21:34 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  "Rust has integrity" (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Doctor RJ, tommymet

          Maggie says in her 2012 interview with the new detectives, and I think that - his integrity - will turn out to be a key piece of this whole 'mystery'.  

          Just now caught up with Ep06. I have a slightly different read on a few things from some of the views in comments here, should be very interesting to see how it all plays out over the next 2 (last?) episodes of the first season.

          McConaughey's performance .... just really wow, he nails it.

          Great diary, thanks.

          If I can't dance I don't want to be part of your revolution. ~ Emma Goldman

          by Lady Libertine on Tue Feb 25, 2014 at 11:18:23 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  No one has mentioned that the appearance (0+ / 0-)

            of the former young prostitute from the brothel is too convenient. I'm thinking she is involved with the cult somehow, possibly to get info on Russ and his independent investigation. Sort of a when you peer into the abyss too long the abyss will stare back kind of thing.

        •  Rust Wants a Family\Who killed Rust's kid\other (0+ / 0-)

          Like this very much.  I had thoughts to do something similar but had no computer knowledge to do the screen shots.  A few thoughts/ideas/my $.02:

          1)  I think Rust wishes he had something like Marty's family, not so much attracted to Maggie in particular.   A few times Rust chides Marty for ignoring the blessings of his young kids.   Both Marty and Rust are protective types, children in particular.

          2)  Did Rust kill his own daughter?   We learn Rust's 3 year old daughter was killed while outside playing in front of their house and there was "a little bend."  Around that time, Rust was a drinker.  My guess is that he or his wife at the time accidently ran over their own child (likely Rust).  

          3) Dissembling:   All the characters do a bit of it, usually to avoid making themselves look bad.   Fun to watch how the show plays with these lies and makes little inside jokes.   Rust, Marty and Maggie all lie about the partner split--and its funny to see how Rust gets sick of doing all the work and Marty stops backing Rust up.

          4)  All the background shots of oil refineries.  We see backdrops of the very rich and the very poor, some of whom are getting killed.   Its like there is the very rich and the rural poor and the cops and that's about it.

          5)  Proverbs 3:5--  In the tent revivalist scene, the tent reads it. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart
              and lean not on your own understanding;"    

          Don't think!

          6)  Tuttle Ministries--  We have the sincere Preacher vandalized at least 3 times and he gives up.   Meanwhile, Tuttle's office is larger and richer than most people's houses--and he sports a heavy gold rolex.   Since he was working off public money with his school outreach program and is tax exempt, doubtful he'd be at a loss.  We know his brother was governor.  School program has some mysteries for sure.

          7) I guessed early on that Rust was on a 7 year undercover lurk.  We see  apartment is barren except for 1) Christ on a cross; and 2) things from the early case.   We never see any reports from the Tuttle task force

          8) the investigators following up on Rust-- is it any wonder they've chosen some coloreds?  Rust is after the Tuttles and they are after him.  

          9)  Rust uses a lot of the same tricks the preachers are taught to use on their flock to get his confessions.  I'd be curious to compare the transcripts of the Tent Preachers sermon compared to Rust going after that broken down young kid suspect.

          10)  Had not caught the molestation of Marty's kid but Yeah.  Think that makes sense.  I can't see Marty doing it, though.  Someone else.    

          11) For sure Maggie used Rust.  Sneaky.  

          Thanks for this diary.

          “Everyone is ignorant, only on different subjects.” ― Will Rogers (Of course this also applies to me.)

          by MugWumpBlues on Wed Feb 26, 2014 at 05:38:52 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Women Will Always Get Their Revenge (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LI Mike, dewtx

      The good ones will get you for things you actually did, the bad ones will get revenge for things you only did in their imagination.

      Men are so necessarily mad, that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness. -Pascal

      by bernardpliers on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 07:22:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It is an incredible series. (12+ / 0-)

    Woody Harrelson has impressed me for a long time, but Matthew McConaughy has been blowing me away in everything he has been in recently: Dallas Buyers Club, The Wolf of Wall Street and this series. He is just amazing!

    "Well Clarice, have the lambs stopped screaming?"

    by buffie on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 02:23:14 PM PST

  •  Obviously a genius. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Doctor RJ, pico, greenbird, dewtx, LI Mike

    Lone Star belch.

    After 65 years, the ONLY thing I know absolutely and positively about life is that the check is SUPPOSED to be in the mail. That's it. Nothing else. PERIOD.

    by franklyn on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 07:08:31 PM PST

  •  Matthew McConaughey is becoming a favorite (8+ / 0-)

    Ever since "Dazed and Confused" and "A Time to Kill", I have thought Matthew McConaughey was something good. Now, seeing "True Detective" and Dallas Buyers Club", he is becoming one of my favorites.

    Every time my iPhone battery gets down to 47%, I think of Mitt Romney.

    by bobinson on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 07:08:44 PM PST

  •  This seems like the year of Matthew McConaughey (5+ / 0-)

    He is absolutely amazing in Dallas Buyers Club.

    He is very believable in that role.

    He won SAG and Golden Globe and he is poised to win the Oscar for Best Actor.

    Keystone Liberals on Twitter @ KeystoneLibs , Join PA Liberals at

    by wishingwell on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 07:09:05 PM PST

  •  I have become addicted to True Detective (7+ / 0-)

    Another HBO hit.

    It's way over the edge and the progress of the script is a bit of torture but as I say addicting.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 07:09:58 PM PST

  •  Really enjoying the show so far. (5+ / 0-)

    I'll admit, what brought me in was The King in Yellow: I thought it was an unusual point of departure for what looked, in all its trailers, like a standard procedural.  The King in Yellow is a shit book, by the way, but even the possibility of something contemporary informed by decadent horror?  Yeah, there was no way I could avoid it.  

    (That I'm recognizing a lot of the filming locations is icing on the cake... Their stop at a roadside Banh Mi joint might be the first pop culture recognition of Louisiana's rich Vietnamese culture in... ever?)


    Edwin Edwards Merged With Jimmy Swaggart
    Heh, did you see my comment at the AV Club about this?  The Tuttle character is such a delicious retread of two of Louisiana's most loathsome power players.  

    Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

    by pico on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 07:16:24 PM PST

    •  The King In Yellow (4+ / 0-)

      Back in episode 2, when Rust was having hallucinations and saw the birds form a spiral outside the abandoned church, I wondered whether the show would go Twin Peaks and introduce a supernatural element that's behind it all. I like the allusions, but I'm glad they've kept the story grounded in reality. There are monsters in True Detective, but they are human monsters.

      Heh, I just went and looked at your comment at the AV Club, and I agree wholeheartedly with your observations. With Tuttle, he's only appeared twice on the show in two short scenes, but his presence has been felt throughout. The investigation always seems to bump into someone or something connected to him. So I have to believe the answer to this puzzle involves him. Although, he's supposedly dead in 2012.

      Beyond that, something about Reverend Theriot (the revival minister, who studied under Tuttle) has always struck me as strange. We know from this latest episode that he saw strange things while with Tuttle. But if you listen to Theriot's sermon from episode 3, it's a bit odd. It's not exactly scripture based ("the wind between the stars"). And he seems to be a Protestant evangelical, but makes the sign of the cross like a Greek Orthodox when told of Dory Lange's murder.

    •  Uh, Treme? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LI Mike, chaboard
      Their stop at a roadside Banh Mi joint might be the first pop culture recognition of Louisiana's rich Vietnamese culture in... ever?
      Treme got into the fisherman angle a bit for a few seasons with the euro druggy guy heading out there...

      What would Bulworth do?

      by Progrocks on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 11:50:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Loved your analysis (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Doctor RJ, followyourbliss

    Almost as much as I love this show.  It's become must-see TV for me.

    When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That is my religion. - Abraham Lincoln

    by EntrWriter on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 07:16:54 PM PST

  •  This is how tv drama should be (6+ / 0-)

    I was never fan of McConaughey...until True Detective.

    The way they are doing it is more of a mini-series than  tv show, which means it has a long enough narrative to be very satisfying but without overstaying it's welcome (Heroes, I'm looking at you.)  It lkooks and feels like a good movie with interesting characters, a twisty storyline, and plenty of drama.

  •  Maggie's using of Rust.. (12+ / 0-)

    was a first for the series, in my opinion.  It's the first time since the start of True Detective where you saw Rust lose control of a situation, or not have read it right, at least.  At all other times in this series, despite the danger and friction of his work environment, you sense Rust is always a step ahead. This ONE time, he isn't, and his reaction reflects almost as much fear as it does betrayal.  

    This show just sucks you into it from the beginning.. and I wait each week for the next episode.

  •  Oddball Pair Of Cops, Serial Killer, Small Town... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Doctor RJ

    Is David Lynch getting royalties for this?  

    Men are so necessarily mad, that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness. -Pascal

    by bernardpliers on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 07:33:46 PM PST

  •  This show is flat out AMAZING (5+ / 0-)

    The chase scene alone (from 2 weeks ago) was so real.  I've been on the other end of that and it felt real.  They do a very good job replicating the tension and pace of a situation like that.  Also Marty (Woody Harrison's character) is so on point. Working the investigations side of law enforcement or just urban policing in general sometimes means you frequent some very dark places literally and figuratively.  It can permeate evey part of you and if you are not careful it can really make you do some grimey reckless things personally. His family dynamic is sooooooo common in the proffesion.

  •  good diary, good thread: thanks. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Doctor RJ, LI Mike, dewtx

    guess i'm hooked now, damnit, and i hate being scared.
    i have a mustang imagination.

    just keep talking, so i won't jump.

    TRAILHEAD of accountability for Bush-2 Crimes? -- Addington's Perpwalk.

    by greenbird on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 07:46:28 PM PST

  •  HBO? (0+ / 0-)

    Are they still around?
    I've never been interested enough in their offerings, to pay their exorbitant fees

    Severely Socialist 47283

    by ichibon on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 07:50:00 PM PST

    •  This show, (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      skybluewater, LI Mike, dewtx

      True Blood, and Game of Thrones make it worth it!

    •  um, netflix. Video stores. Most library video (5+ / 0-)

      collections, eventually.  You only need the exorbitant fees if you have to watch the shows in real time (and even then there are hacks for those motivated enough).

      But, even prior to this current generation, it's kind of a shame not to take a look at The Wire, or Deadwood, or Six Feet Under. Or, shit, Sopranos, which started it all.  Big Love is worth a look to see if you like that.  John from Cincinnati.  Luck, for it's one season.  Boardwalk Empire...

      There would certainly never have been a Breaking Bad, or Mad Men, or Justified, or whatever we like on more "basic" cable if it weren't for the HBO shows since 2000.  Certainly AMC has given them a run for their money in recent years, but yes, HBO is clearly still around and, it seems, still breaking new ground.

    •  Well, if I had my choice, I'd pay for (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LI Mike, dewtx

      only about ten channels. The money for HBO is and has been for quite a while well worth it.  To me, The Wire is the finest show in the history of television.  I loved the Sopranos and Big Love (big surprise--I'm an atheist) and Six Feet Under and Game of Thrones and others.  I wish I could just pay for HBO, news, science and channels that show Tennis.  I don't need anything else.  HBO does drama the right way.  I watch so little network drama these days it's ridiculous.  I'm down to The Blacklist (guilty pleasure) and Law & Order series.  I'm not sure what you're watching, but without HBO, I nearly can't imagine needing cable at all.

      "Jesus died for somebody's sins but not mine." -- Patti Smith

      by followyourbliss on Tue Feb 25, 2014 at 03:17:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm not a watcher of (0+ / 0-)

        many TV dramas, and the few times I do watch something, I go to Netflix.
        I have just enough Dish for me to watch the Rachel channel, and thinking of dumping that, and catching hers and the rest on computer.

        Severely Socialist 47283

        by ichibon on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 01:22:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Great job and great analysis (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skybluewater, Doctor RJ

    and the women are H-O-T

    ...the GOP seems perfectly willing to hold their breath until the whole country turns Blue.

    by tommy2tone on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 08:34:56 PM PST

  •  Have to say, this is a helluva diary series too, (5+ / 0-)

    Doctor.  Keep it up.

  •  i watch it because i have "free cable" (0+ / 0-)

    It's included in the rent here at the ymca. Amazing a young mens CHRISTIAN association  would permit such devilishly good tv show in such a holy place, huh? I should protest and demand non stop 700 club reruns.. ...  ...nahhhh!

  •  Don't have HBO, but loved your synopsis (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Doctor RJ, dewtx

    of this show.  It sounds like a great and compelling story.

    One point about shows like these, and the use of two male protagonists/antagonists as the identities by which viewers see the world, written entirely by a man, is the use of women as vehicles by which that male/male drama and relationship is explored and defined.  

    Discussions about the wife Maggie as "a tool" or "a cold" woman who "uses" Rust must be framed or considered within the context that a man wrote her character, and that she is not a "real" woman, but "as a woman as described by a man".  

    There is that old saw in scriptwriting or screenwriting that women can write both male and female characters more realistically than men can write female characters, but most studio execs are men and see their views of women (often not fully dimensional or identifiable) reflected by male writers.  Same saw for black writers who can write both black and white characters more realistically than white writers can write black characters.  If you live in a society in which you are not the dominant force, you have to learn both that dominant forces ways (and language and world view) as well as your own to survive.  Hollywood is still very much, a white man's world.

    But the show sounds like a spectacular vehicle for how two male archetypes live in the world, and McConaughey has really grown as an actor and this sounds like tremendous opportunity for him in his career.

    Thanks for the vicarious (and free) thrill!

    "Out of Many, One Nation." This is the great promise of the United States of America -9.75 -6.87

    by Uncle Moji on Tue Feb 25, 2014 at 03:43:40 AM PST

  •  My wife and I watch Downton and I record (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Doctor RJ, dewtx, Shrew in Shrewsbury

    True Detective for later viewing. Bit of a contrast. These 2 shows make it difficult to get through the Sunday NYT.

    Great analysis. Thanks. Never a fan of McConaughey but he's killing it this year and has changed my mind about his abilities.

  •  Thank You (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Doctor RJ, dewtx

    My wife and I love True Detective. Thanks for a very thoughtful and interesting discussion of it.

  •  great show (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Couldn't believe when I watched the preview for next weeks show, it said "Only 2 episodes left"?? For good? Are they really going to wrap this up in two episodes, or leave everyone hanging until "next season". I really hope not, I hate that, but can't imagine this ending so soon.

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