True Detective Review: Observation and Deduction

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Marty and Rust tracked down the last inhabitants of the burnt down chapel this week on True Detective, paying a visit to the Friends of Christ and its minister, played by Boardwalk Empire mainstay Shea Whigham.

Marty characterized the scene under the tent as viral ministry, old time religion. The spectacle encountered gave Rust a stage of his own to sound off on religion and its devotees.

What's it say about life hm? You gotta get together, tell yourself stories that violate every law of the universe, just to get through the goddamn day? Nah. What's that say about your reality Marty?


Evidence at Hand

Rust and Marty's debate about the value of faith on True Detective Season 1 Episode 3 illustrated again the stark contrast between the two partners, but also showed glimpses of their developing rapport.

Rust commented on the congregation's collective IQ and propensity for obesity - from up on his high horse - but Marty was quick to call him out. Despite having his comments picked apart, Rust couldn't help but crack a grin when Marty remarked about how he thinks his partner spends his time.

Your fuckin' attitude. Not everybody wants to sit alone in an empty room beatin' off to murder manuals. Some folks enjoy community. Common good.


Rust does not believe in God or any kind of afterlife.

People passing on their fear and self-loathing to a divine figure is just passing blame and accountability to someone else. Rust would have zero time for athletes who thank their god for their successes. It fits with his disdain for the self-entitlement he thinks it gives people, as if all of this if for them.

Like God has nothing better to do than to make sure someone wins a big football game amidst all the other issues facing mankind.

As articulate as Rust's argument was, all Marty heard in his partner's voice was panic. For someone who doesn't seem to care much about existence, Rust sure does fret about it a lot. Marty wasn't arguing for the value of religion necessarily because of his own beliefs, but rather because of what he imagined the world would be like if people didn't believe in the wrath of God or eternal salvation.

I thought it was interesting how Marty had his sunglasses on the entire time, while Rust's eyes were uncovered. Seemed to suggest Rust sees things clearly while Marty tints things to his liking, which is ironic given how Marty later accuses Rust of being myopic.

Martin: I mean can you imagine if people didn't believe? All the things they'd get up to?
Rust: Exact same thing they do now, just out in the open.

After questioning the minister and his family Marty and Rust had a lead on the "tall man" who they were told was seen with Dora. 

Rust was convinced Dora was not their killer's first and suggested they go back to the beginning. Flashing forward, the two detectives questioning Marty asked if he felt like Rust was trying to push the case in a certain direction back in the day.

Marty said they went where the case lead them, but could both he and Rust have been pushed in the wrong direction by the minister, his family and even Bert?

Their story of Dora hanging out with the tall burn victim could have been a misdirect. With just a few more days to find a break in the case before having to turn it over to the task force, Rust and Marty were sort of spinning their wheels, but then gained traction after visiting the ministry. When pulling away from the tents, they literally were spinning their car's tires in the mud, until some of the Friends of Christ members gave them a literal push.

Was this meant to symbolize how they were being manipulated?

Lead on or not, Rust and Marty still had to find out the identity of the so-called tall man, but the minister could have figured if they were good enough to find him, they were good enough to find the man whose scent he put them on. The minister did mention how he came up with Billy Tuttle and even attended his school for a couple years.

This could all be part of a larger cover up, with ties reaching all the way up to the Governor.

As Rust and Marty ate some food after leaving the ministry, their relationship showed again a hint of understanding and appreciation for each other... in a sort of comical agree to disagree moment.

Martin:You know the real difference between you and me?
Rust:Yup, denial.
Martin: The difference is that I know the difference between an idea and a fact. You are incapable of admitting doubt. Now that sounds like denial to me.
Rust: I doubt that.

That was all shot to hell later when Marty came home to find Rust and Maggie talking. It was pretty evident what really had Marty so upset during the exchange about Rust mowing his lawn when he wasn't at home.

We saw that all the years being married to a detective may have rubbed off on Maggie as she analyzed Rust. She noted how Rust's lifestyle accommodated him by making him free from worry about loss. Rust seemed to say she was right with his glance over at her daughters, calling to mind his own lost child.

Marty and Rust parted ways tensely, but the night was just beginning for Marty. When Maggie and Marty had sex after their fight, I was confused as to why she was so suddenly willing to embrace him. Then I revisited the last part of their conversation before the clothes came off. Marty likening himself to Wile E. Coyote running off a cliff was superb.

He then broke down and claimed he was simply messed up. Maggie agreed that he was and the rest resulted in wrinkled sheets. Given Maggie's interest in Rust, it would seem she has a soft spot for broken men. If Marty won't let her put him back together, maybe Rust will. Paging Dr. Ama!

Shifting back ahead to the office with the detectives, Marty was in a daze. As the detective brought his attention back into the room, Marty made a fist then looked down as his left hand before tucking his unadorned ring finger below the desk.

As they got back to discussing the case, we learned when it came to breaking down a witness in the box, there was no one better than Rust. It was interesting to see Rust invoke religion as he got that one suspect to agree to admit to whatever Rust wanted to hear.

Just gotta look a man in his eyes. It's all there. Everybody wears their hunger and their haunt you know? Just gotta be honest about what can go on up here. The locked room.


From there, Rust put his insomnia to work and came up with another potential victim of their killer. Marty rolled into the station, still banged up from the night before, where he accosted his mistress's date in her home.

Up until that morning, Marty had always driven the two of them. This was Rust's hunch, though, so it was him behind the wheel as they left to look into the death of the apparent flood victim Reanne Olivier. Either that or Marty was still half in the bag.

On their way to question Reanne's  grandfather, Marty's guilt poured out of him as he asked Rust a question.

Martin: You wonder ever if you're a bad man?
Rust: No I don't wonder Marty. The world needs bad men. We keep the other bad men from the door.

Note how he said "we." Both he and Marty are bad men, but serving a just cause.

Reanne's grandfather told them she went to Light of the Way school while it was still open, Tuttle's school. More ammo to throw toward a possible conspiracy. Of course, the biggest takeaway from their chat on the dock was the name of Reggie LeDoux.

So finally we arrived at Reginald LeDoux. The way Rust said his name to the detectives just oozed with intrigue. Before he was willing to talk about he and Marty's big moment, he wanted to talk about the most recent murder because the evil they were trying to stop was still out there.

The way he described the feeling of relief all these victims felt, the moment before death, was unlike any account of death I have heard before. To realize in that last instant that all your life was a sham, a dream about being some idea of how a person was supposed to be.

Outside our locked boxes exists the world where the bad men Marty and Rust keep from the door hunt and prey. Perhaps Rust thinks the killers he chases are closer to what man's natural state would have been had not humankind taken an unnatural turn toward things like religion.

Evolutionary misstep or not, the resulting world does not accept monsters like the ones responsible for the bodies Marty and Rust encounter.

As the episode came to a close, we got our first glimpse at one of those men. The gas mask swung from Reggie's head like a trunk. The elephant they had been looking for in all those interrogation rooms, a hunting trophy of their own, was within reach as the stage was set for what should be a pivotal episode to follow.

The Locked Room Review

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True Detective Season 1 Episode 3 Quotes

Martin: I mean can you imagine if people didn't believe? All the things they'd get up to?
Rust: Exact same thing they do now, just out in the open.

Your fuckin' attitude. Not everybody wants to sit alone in an empty room beatin' off to murder manuals. Some folks enjoy community. Common good.