TV - True Detective Season 1, Episode 2

True Detective

Steve Taylor-Bryant continues his journey into darkness with True Detective and wonders whether he is Seeing Things...

I don't like to pigeon hole shows into categories but when a new show hits these shores, I do like to compare it to something that has been before to give you some idea of whether it is your kind of thing or not. The problem with True Detective is it is impossible to do. This show isn't a Gothic horror, sci-fi/fantasy or an adaptation of a classic novel (although large parts of the plot are based upon the short stories found in the 19th Century collection by Robert W. Chambers – The King in Yellow). It is also not your quintessential Detective show either. With no direct comparison available I can only tell you that I get the same buzz from True Detective that I got from Twin Peaks all those years ago.

Rust Cohle is truly a tortured soul. As the show flicks between 1995 and 2012 we see two Cohle's played out by Matthew McConaughey in equal brilliant ways. During a car ride with Hart (Harrelson) he explains about his 2 year old daughter dying and his struggle with alcohol and loss, explaining that's why he was very inebriated during a visit to the Hart family home. The 2012 Cohle is a man comfortable with his torture, almost having his emotions as well as his drinking on a weekly rota. He is a man obsessed with the ritual involved in killing Dora Lange.

If you follow the clues given to us by the 2012 investigators, you could be forgiven for thinking Cohle is the perpetrator here, back nearly 20 years later for a victory dance. Yes, he seems to understand what's going on, know where to look for things, but these are A – Too early in the show to be real and B – The writing is far too superior for something as simple as that. I also don't believe it it is the work of the Klu Klux Klan (or another Louisiana version. My apologies, I am not knowledgeable enough to differentiate between different cults that well) it is more likely to be Hart but the fact that is at the front of my inferior mind means its not.

This second episode is as slow burning as the first, which allows plenty of time to soak in the brilliance of the performances. McConaughey steals every scene. His two versions of Cohle as different as they are similar and it is a joy to see him act. Harrelson, himself an actor of superb genius, plays the more understated Hart, a role not usually given to a man of Harrelson's magnetism but this week we discover that Hart isn't all he seems either. The affair he had comes to light, showing an deep seated anger in him. His marriage is crumbling but he is still trying to exert control over his wife and children. After a scene where he boasts to colleagues about a threesome he had in college you get to see how disgusted he his with himself over his eagerness to fit in. Maybe he is indeed as tortured as his partner? He is certainly a lot more of a loner than we at first anticipated.

“Seeing Things” is an apt title as we discover more about our duo this week than maybe the Dora Lange case. This episode is all about relationships and what is occurring underneath the façade, about the hidden meanings in the words we use, what we believe versus what we actually see.

The show will get darker. The twists more elaborate. Bring it on.

Image - IMDb.

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