‘True Detective’ Discussion: ‘There’s A Monster At The End Of It’

An admission: I was not ready for what what was revealed at the end of last night’s True Detective. I’d had a lot of water to drink and I needed to pee quite bad, but I couldn’t pull myself away from the TV to go to the bathroom. “Just hold it until the end of the show,” I said to myself. And then that thing — that goddamn machete-wielding monster wearing nothing a gas mask and jock strap — flashed across my screen and, well, there might have been a little bit of leakage. Not a lot, mind you, but enough to be able to definitively claim that the third episode of True Detective made me piss myself.

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.

– “If the only thing keeping a person decent is the expectation of divine reward then, brother, that person is a piece of sh*t and I’d like to get as many of them out in the open as possible.” — Rust Cohle, dropping truth bombs, as always.

– The actor who played the tent preacher — Shea Whigham from Boardwalk Empire — was so damn good. I couldn’t take my eyes off of him and didn’t want him to stop preaching. It was a reminder of how easy people can become spellbound by charismatic religious figures to the point that they dedicate their lives and significant portions of their income to them. Also, the pork chops were a nice touch.

– Last night we finally saw Burt — or, as Marty Hart calls him, “the retard” — the bowl-cutted freak seen giving praise toward the heavens in the opening credits of the show. Though we hadn’t seen him prior to last night, I’ve been thinking that he has to be vital to the show in some way for the producers to put him in the opening credits. He wouldn’t be in the opening credits if his role were not ultimately significant, right? We’ll have to wait and see, obviously, but the reveal that he’s castrated feels like a red herring to me, something designed to make us all think, “It can’t be Burt…the Bloods sliced off his balls in Angola, after all.” Not sure how, but I just feel he’s involved in some way.

– “People incapable of guilt usually have a good time.” — Cohle in what struck me as a subtle dig aimed in Hart’s direction.

– If there’s one thing we learned last night it’s that Hart likes mowing his lawn. I mean, he really like mowing his lawn. He seemed more pissed about Cohle mowing his lawn than he did about Cohle being in the house with his wife when he wasn’t around. Personally, any man who wants to come over and mow my lawn is more than welcome to. There are few things I find more loathesome than yard work. Come on over and have at it, fellas. I’ll provide the cold lemonade.

– Unless creator/writer Nic Pizzolatto is just f*cking with us, it’s becoming more and more apparent that Cohle is so going to bang Hart’s wife at some point.

– In that scene after the confrontation with Cohle in the front yard, the one in which Hart is laying on the sofa and watching a basketball game on the TV, that game was an LSU basketball game in which Dale Brown was the LSU head coach, which would have made it circa the time this scene took place in the mid-90s. Give Pizzolatto and director Cary Fukunaga credit for their attention to detail.

– “Most times, you just look ’em in the eyes and the whole story is right there.” — Cohle, describing why he was so good at interrogations.

– Woody Harrellson is a lucky man. First a love scene with a very naked Alexandra Daddario last week and now a love scene with a very naked Michelle Monaghan this week? Dude must be living right.

– Was I the only one who came close to having to mute the TV when Cohle was cutting the beer cans with his pocket knife? Geez, few sounds are more terrible than that.

– We started to see the cracks in him last week, but this week we saw Hart all-out coming apart at the seams. First, over Cohle being at his house and mowing his lawn, then later after he spots Lisa dancing with another man while he was out with his wife on a double date with Cohle and her friend. We see what we’ve been suspecting — that the man who paints himself as a sane, down-to-earth family man is anything but. Conversely, he’s a f*cked-in-the-head, philandering, delusional loose cannon. I absolutely cannot wait to see where this all is leading.

– “I’m not a psycho.” — Hart, just after he forced his way into his mistress’ home to assault her lover.

– While in college I had a job working for a medical supply company that often led to me making runs to Central Louisiana. In such, I’ve driven through Cottonport, home of the Avoyelles Correctional Center — where Dora Lange’s ex-husband is locked up and where prime suspect Reggie Ledoux once served time — and passed the prison many times. Never would I ever have suspected that that rinky dink little correctional facility in the middle of nowhere would one day serve as a key location of an HBO series. Few places have depressed me more than Avoyelles Parish, though, so I suppose it’s fitting.

– Reggie Ledoux? If this guy doesn’t fit profile of serial killer, no one does.

-According to IMDB, Alexandra Daddario only appears in three episodes this season. Last night was the third one we’ve seen her in. Is this the end?

– Finally, on a personal note, as someone who grew up in South Louisiana and is intimately familiar with the places this show exists in, Cohle had a line that resonated with me when he said, “Pipelines carving up this coast like a jigsaw. Place is gonna be under water in 30 years.” I had a science teacher in high school predict that my home town would be underwater in 50 years, so that prediction seems about right.

– Just a reminder, due to the Super Bowl being next Sunday, the next episode will air two weeks from yesterday.

UPDATE: Via commenter LT…”I don’t see it mentioned here but it’s a good bet that Reggie Ledoux with the elongated hose on his gas mask is the “spaghetti monster” that the girl described to the sketch artist.” I’d completely forgotten about that. Makes a lot of sense now after seeing him.

Your own thoughts, feelings, questions etc. are encouraged in the comments.

(All screengrabs via HBO)