As True Detective moves into its second act, its central mystery has come into focus, and it is not who killed the girl in the opening, but what went down between Cohle and Hart to end their partnership. The guys are still investigating the murder, but the case is not progressing as a typical drawing-room type mystery. Rust spends sleepless nights working the case, but he’s not puzzling over the creepy stick figures, or the cryptic symbol on the back of the corpse. Those are the type of mysterious, distinctive “clues” we are accustomed to watching TV detectives follow from plot point to plot point like bread crumbs. But in TD, those most outlandish aspects of the crime things are largely ignored while the detectives pore over other unsolved deaths looking for a connection and doggedly, methodically try to find anyone who knew the victim well. This is probably more realistic, but that doesn’t mean it’s more interesting to watch necessarily. But as I mentioned last week, the limited series nature of this show makes this intriguing rather than frustrating to me. On a network or ongoing series I’d probably view this with a skeptical eye and assume that they were reaching for “new” mysteries to distract us and put off having to resolve the show’s primary dramatic engine as long as possible.
That schtick wearing its thinnest so far in “The Locked Room”. His circular statement, featured so prominently in the promos for the show, about Bad Men being needed to “keep the other Bad Men from the door,” is sophomoric in a way that I was hoping the show would acknowledge, but I’m not sure it realizes how corny it sounds. And the episode-ending monologue that leads up to “and like a lot of dreams…there’s a monster at the end of it…” is going for portentous, but I can’t get over the weird assumptions underlying it. Is this an accepted fact about dreams? Does everyone else tend to have Godzilla step on the school at the end of the “test you didn’t study for” dream? Or have sex dreams where Alison Brie morphs into a Swamp Thing right as you finish? Maybe I’m the strange one here, but when I have a straight-up, classical nightmare, the monster is usually there the whole time, not just popping up for a cameo at the end.
Maybe he would. He’s feeling beset from all sides, right from the opening at the revival tent. Cohle has some predictably, amusingly pessimistic things to say about religion, and Hart can’t help but get riled even though he knows his partner well enough by now to expect it. His objection doesn’t seem to arise from any genuine religious conviction, but rather an instinctual defense of tradition and order, concepts which Rust dismisses out of hand. But maintaining surfaces, be it a lawn or a vague Christian identity, is important to Marty. He’s not comfortable with what he might find if he looked inward (hence the Bad Men question), so he ties up as much of his self-worth as he can manage in maintaining appearances. And he doesn’t like his partner because he’s given up on pretending he’s anything but a burned out shell of a man.