True Detective Discussion: 'A Man Remembers His Debts'

03.03.14 403 Comments

Well, here we are. After last night we all should have a good idea as to what’s going on on True Detective. Sure, there are some dots that still need to be connected, but we now know definitely who some of the bad guys are. What we’ve left to learn are essentially two things: 1) who are the others (Marty’s ex-father-in-law?) and 2) how will Cohle and Hart bring them to justice.

So let’s get right to it, shall we? Here are a few notes I made during last night’s True Detective about characters, scenes, etc. I found interesting for one reason or another.

– “A man remembers his debts.” — Rust Cohle.

– The band is back together again. Hart took some convincing, naturally, and though he may have still yearned to throw a Cohle a “f*cking barbell” if he were drowning after all these years, being shown a video of Marie Fontenot being ritually sacrificed by a gang of freakishly masked men was the ultimate close, essentially making Cohle’s pitch from the inside of his storage unit crime lab the offer he couldn’t refuse. Before seeing the pictures and the video, Hart had a moment of being overcome with doubt: “Do you know how f*cking crazy that sounds? It’s like maybe you told yourself that story and kept drinking it until you believed it.” To which Cohle replied, “Marty, I had my time wondering if this was all in my head. That time passed.” We’d all soon find out why.

We now know without a doubt that Billy Lee Tuttle was one of the men involved in the multiple disappearances and murders over the years, and it’s pretty much served to us on a silver platter that Errol, the Forest Gump-esque lawnmower man, is the mysterious Spaghetti Monster with the bad facial scars we’ve all been having nightmares about. (More on Errol and the actor who plays him here.)

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With the exception of the flashbacks to 2010 showing Cohle breaking in to Billy Lee Tuttle’s home, the entirety of episode seven took place in 2012, offering us a much more detailed, layered look at who Rust Cohle and Marty Hart are in 2012. And physical appearances aside, they’re a lot alike. Both of them appear to be loners. They live alone, keep to themselves, do their jobs and “go home” at the end of the day instead of chasing tail in whiskey-soaked bars. Is Rust’s case, this isn’t exactly unexpected, as his most obvious changes are in the way he looks. But Marty, the one previously prone to waxing poetic about the importance of family and being a “family man,” is essentially estranged from his family (his ex hadn’t seen him in two years and it’s obvious he has little contact with his daughters) and that was something I didn’t see coming, but something that makes total sense at the same time.

Rust and Marty in 2012 strike me as an accurate depiction of two men changing/evolving as they age. When we met the 1995 versions of Cohle and Hart, they were probably both in their mid to late 30s, Cohle was more outwardly even-centered, while Marty was the one most likely to come unhinged at any moment. Now we see them in their late 40s, possibly early 50s, and the reverse seems to be true. Marty seems to be the one who knows the most calm, while Rust appears wild-eyed with side of crazy. But then again, he knows a lot more than Marty does and has for some time.

In a way, the way they’ve both evolved has brought them closer together than ever before. It’s like the universe has brought them back together and they’ve met in the middle to do what they were put on Earth to do: bust and expose the secret Tuttle cult and in doing so save future generations of women and children from the bayou from suffering the same fate as Dora Lange and Marie Fontenot.

“Angel of the Morning” by Juice Newton playing on the jukebox in the bar where Rust and Marty first meet was an interesting choice, I think. And a beautiful song.

– When Marty goes to visit Maggie, he indicates that he no longer drinks coffee and prefers green tea because it’s “healthier.” I couldn’t help but wonder if that wasn’t just for show, as he was clearly drinking whiskey and beer in the shots of him sitting alone at home eating TV dinners and cruising Also, 2012 Hart has a bit of a belly.

– Something I can’t stop wondering about: what did Maggie mean when she asked Marty, “Did you come here to say goodbye?” Has Marty been suicidal at any point between 2002-2012? It just seemed like such an odd thing to say. Adding to the oddity was Marty not directly answering the question.

– “My life’s been a circle of violence and degradation long as I can remember. I’m ready to tie it off.” — Rust Cohle.

– I thought it was a nice bit of foreshadowing when Rust handed Marty that flask before he watched the snuff video. Kind of let us all know that what was to come was not for the faint of heart.

– I really hope Rust does break out the battery and jumper cables for the Iberia Parish Sheriff dude. I don’t like that guy one bit.

– How fitting was it for “F*ck and Suck,” as Hart termed them, to run across Errol cutting grass in the course of their own investigation? I take this as an indication that the two aren’t totally pawns for The Man and are actually attempting to do some investigating of their own. It possibly sets the stage for them joining forces with Cohle and Hart, I think.

– “My family’s been here a long, long time.” — Errol the lawnmower man.

– 2012 Rust should really have a dog.

Your own thoughts/feelings are welcome in the comments.

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