True Detective Review: A Man's Game

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Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, I'll sleep with your partner.

There's no denying it now: Rust finally went ahead and mowed Marty's lawn, the result of which had both men cursing out Maggie. 

Rust and Marty in 2002

Marty was shocked to learn about Maggie's betrayal, and despite having just been caught cheating for a second time, had the gall to call his wife a whore. Let ye without sin cast the first stone and all that.

Marty dished out one of life's hard truths to his daughter's friend, but was arrogant enough to think it wouldn't apply to him. 

A man's game charges a man's price. Take that away from this if nothing else.

Martin Hart

Rust denied knowing about the new affair when Maggie asked him, but I'm pretty certain he was aware. I think that was the source of the tension between him and Marty early on in True Detective Season 1 Episode 6.

During their argument - which followed Rust asking Marty to type up the baby killer's confession - Rust sarcastically asked Marty why he didn't have the time to do it. Rust wanted to hear what lame excuse his partner would give. He looked at Marty with disgust and called him stupid because he knew he was cheating on a life with an amazing woman.

Rust had feelings for Maggie and she for him, but when Rust realized Maggie had slept with him just to get back at Marty, he went into a rage. She used Rust not to feel better about herself or to just fill a void. After almost going home with the man at the bar, she realized Rust would cut Marty so much deeper.

Maggie had a good grip on how both men worked.

Rust knew exactly who he was and there was no talking him out of it. You know Marty's single big problem was that he never really knew himself. So he never really knew what to want.

Maggie Hart

Initially. Maggie wanted to fix Rust. Marty may have been a lost cause, but she saw a chance with his partner.

At some point, though, she realized both were beyond help, so when the opportunity came to hurt Marty, she used Rust, even though it would end up causing him harm as well.

While things on the home front were cold-blooded as ever, Rust still had the pedal to the floor trying to expose some bigger conspiracy behind the ritual murders. After talking to the reverend from the tent revival, he set his sights on Reverend Tuttle whose name has been mentioned a few times ever since Marty and Rust met him back at the station. 

Rust was off the job, but not the case, not ever. That fading billboard with the missing girl's face on it always reminds him how nothing ever gets solved, yet he still pushes on. Life may be a flat circle, but he seems driven to remove as many bad people from it as possible, even if they will be added back again the next time around.

One of my favorite scenes was when he told the mother who killed her babies to kill herself.  Now I don't think this means he was the one who called the other prisoner from that remote pay phone, but I think he sort of borrowed that page from the playbook of the men he is chasing.

He saw that mother as unworthy to go on living, so he merely suggested she end herself.

His visit to the girl he and Marty rescued from Reggie Ledoux's compound also yielded something interesting. Once again, we heard mention of the man with the scars. Reverend Theriot's daughter mentioned a man with scars, as we all remember. Rust and Cohle had been looking for a man with burns before they made they got onto Reggie Ledoux's scent. 

Marty wasn't buying the detectives trying to paint Rust as the killer and or the man behind Tuttle's overdoes. He has had some time to look back on that part of his life.

While I'm sure the thought of Rust and Maggie together still turns his stomach, it looked like he had come to grips with all the mistakes he made which brought about that encounter.

As the episode ended, Rust and Marty came face to face again. Hopefully this means the walking lie detector and the human tampon will go back to working with each other. 

Things should certainly get interesting if they do. First because they both are no longer lawmen, but also as the tail light on Rust's truck illustrated, still broken after all these years since their parking lot fight, there are still plenty of things between them to work out.

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True Detective Season 1 Episode 6 Quotes

A man's game charges a man's price. Take that away from this if nothing else.

Martin Hart

In a former life I used to exhaust myself navigating crude men who thought they were clever. So ask your questions or I'm leaving.

Maggie Hart