Spoiler Alert: Read no further if you don’t want HBO’s True Detective premiere maniacally analyzed and spoiled
It occurred to me that most of what I think, feel, and ultimately write – it’s pointless. We’re floating on a giant space rock – all of us, literally depressed – pinned to this ground in the succubus of a habitable gravity well’s bosomy embrace. You know, they just found a piece of rock recently, and they carbon dated it to 4.4 billion years ago. A tiny crystal or two from somewhere in Australia: these pieces have been around the block exactly almost four and one half billion times. Man, if those shards could talk..
This is all just to say that murder mysteries have been done before, and they’ll keep churning them out until such a time as homicide no longer comports with our human social reality. But because I believe this here Earth’s been around awhile, and that people? We’ve been stomping through these grounds but a fraction of said while – right quick bit, yes’m. In our wrinkle of time, however, we’ve mostly reproduced and killed, reproduced and killed each other ad infinitum (but minus all the gay subtext).
There’re always gonna be murders, whodunits and suspenseful stories, and they’re always gonna put ’em on TV (again, until such a time as TV is no longer culturally relevant). You tell me. Why can’t I add my voice to the ever-growing sea of
human word vomit television commentary? Because who cares. Point. Less.
My first in a however-many-True-Detective-episodes-*God-will-grant-us part series, let’s begin with the premiere.
From Episode 1
- Rust’s word choice: minutes after arriving at the scene where Dora Lange’s body was found, why’d he say that “she’d been on her back awhile, before he moved her”? He, who? Note Marty’s reaction. Minutes later, when Rust’s explaining to Marty what a “meta-psychotic” is, again Rust speaks familiarly: “he’s done this before.” Hm.
- Rust’s Notepad: when Marty & Rust first saw Lange’s body – stomach stabbed, posed in prayer by the oak tree – her face was covered by her wavy auburn hair, almost entirely; a mysterious whirlpool tattoo on her upper back featured prominently. After we come to appreciate just how much time Rust has spent looking at dead women’s faces, researching homicides in the archives (that “relief” he saw in them, in those women’s final moments, that he talked about?), should we be concerned about how long Rust spends facing her body? Is he sketching her from a forward perspective because it’s relevant to the case, or..?
- Dora Lange’s legs and feet: Notice in the opening montage that we see the lower half of a woman, wearing spiked heels. Her silhouette, sort of. Now, recall Dora Lange’s lower half – as Dets. Hart & Cohle came to find it, with the rest of her parts, in that cane field – it would look just about identical, if she we wearing those spiked heels. OK, that’s obviously a stretch, right? And immediately after the camera pans out wide enough that I’ve noticed the similarity, what do I hear Rust Cohle (Matt McConaughey) say? “I mean, you never know what the thing’s gonna be, do you? A little detail somewhere way down the line that makes you say, “Aah!” Breaks the case.” Indeed.. I’m putting a pin in this one. It would be hilarious if a clue to the whole thing was stashed in the part most people fast-forward through (right under your noses, amateur detectives).
- Marty’s Initial Suspicion Mongering: “Past a certain age, a man without a family can be a bad thing.” Is he trying to distance himself from Rust or making a veiled reference to the regret he holds for how his own family fell apart? The camera pans over Rust’s cop-related books (sitting on cardboard boxes, in his empty apartment) and other forensic texts; implications: Rust is fiercely dedicated, or Rust is suspiciously aware.
- Marty-Quesada Flashback: When Rust & Marty’s boss asks Marty, in private, in his office at the CID whether Marty would “keep him on” and working cases – he was giving Marty an opportunity to ask for a new partner, because Quesada favors Marty – how should we interpret Marty’s answers. Approving of Rust for the foreseeable future, he gives us these: “He’s got a real mind for it,” gesturing to his temple; “he’s already running with it.” On the word “mind,” it comes out of Harrelson’s mouth with either distaste or compunction, as if it were forced. The words themselves are meaningless, but the tone feels intentional. And this’s all really just to ask, did Rust maybe have something on Marty from the get-go? Imagine for a moment that Rust Cohle is very smart (oh, he is); imagine he’s distraught over the implosion of his marriage after someone’s car ran over his young daughter (OK, check). D’you think a man like Rust ends up anywhere by chance? I mean, how reckless really is it to make these leaps:
- Because Rust is smart (and because maybe Rust’s daughter did not die as he said), Rust learns about the “Yellow King,” all the dead women/children
- For revenge or whatever, Rust becomes determined to kill who’s in charge or expose the crimes
- Using said intelligence, fakes NARCO squad back story/uses other influence to secure job at Louisiana State CID
- Pairs with Martin Hart on purpose, because he did probably half-an-hour’s worth of true work on Marty to detect alcoholism/infidelity/hypocrisy AND because he understood how malleable Marty could be AND because he realized it would be useful to always have detective work to do but never need to do the “paperwork” for it all
- Manipulates Lange murder, as wedge to steer focus onto Tuttle, “Wellspring” program, and the missing women and children
Cue Detective Gilbough in 2012, questioning Marty: “[with respect to the direction of Lange murder investigation] do you ever think he pushed things where he wanted them to go?”
More unjustifiable rambling and baseless dot-connecting to come, episode by mother-loving episode.
*God, as you understand him/her/it/them/the machines