First, a disclaimer…
I’m not entirely sure what most of True Detective is about.
But with that being said, I effin’ love it.
Despite not understanding the majority of words coming out of Matthew McConaughey’s mouth and being a little foggy on the litany of references from obscure literature that weave in and out of the show’s plot, I’m currently inclined to say it’s the most entertaining show on television. And that’s with all due respect to The New Girl. If that show were to introduce things like rural Louisiana, a looming shadow of a character named the Yellow King and ritualistic killings, it might be a different story. Seems doubtful, though.
Up to this point, episode five, the fifth of eight, True Detective has been a slow burn. The first couple of episodes were deliberate, meditative and at times, kind of boring. What kept it interesting was McConaughey. His character, Rust Cohle, could be my favorite television cop since Jimmy McNulty. Cohle’s eyes are magnets of my attention, his gait and delivery of some of the craziest, philosophical ramblings this side of a coked up Don Draper are damn near impossible to steal your attention from. And it’s great because there’s not one Rust Cohle in True Detective- there’s
two three. The first Cohle is on the case of the Yellow King in 1995; the second is being grilled about it in 2012. Then last night we were introduced to 2002 Rust Cohle, a man trying to come to terms with the tumultuous aftermath of the case and the unsettling potential of it being re-opened. Meanwhile there’s Woody Harrelson, playing Cohle’s partner, Marty Hart- a rock to Cohle’s scissors. The odd couple pairing is familiar, but there feels like there’s something more to it with this one. I’m just not sure what this is yet.
And that seems to be the draw of True Detective– that it seems familiar, but there’s something keeping it from being familiar. The show has a murky tone- as if it were happening in a dense fog. Looming danger lurks on the fringes like Cohle’s soul does at the edge of his eyes. There is a uncertainty to True Detective; an uncertainty that was compounded during this week’s episode with the blatant diverging of the story Cohle and Hart are telling 2012 and the actions that actually happened in 1995. They aren’t exactly narrators, but they are story tellers on the show and in the first ten minutes of “The Secret Fate of All Life,” their reliability comes into serious question.
It is not an especially violent show, but it feels like an especially violent show. But more specifically, it is a show that feels like both the calm before the storm and the hellish aftermath of violence. True Detective keeps you attentive; keeps you with your dukes up. It is the dark alley, it is the hours after midnight, it is the expiration date on a carton of milk. It’s all looming danger, man. All looming danger.
That looming danger has three episodes left; three episodes in which I have absolutely no idea what’s going to happen. All I know that will happen is that True Detective will have my undivided attention until the end, and until I re-watch the eight episodes again, and until I research things like the Yellow King and then until I watch all eight episodes again.
And probably one more time for good measure.