A decade after supposedly getting their man, Rust and Marty sat across from one another and discussed the possibility that they left a few stones unturned in the case of Dora Lange and potentially many other women and children.
The six previous True Detective episodes all featured numerous flashbacks. And the disjointed nature of each seemed to reflect Marty and Rust's efforts as they pieced together cases from the past, which previously had not been linked to any larger trend or motive.
What we got with True Detective Season 1 Episode 7, though, was the most linear episode yet. Rust knew the man at the black heart of all these disappearances was still out there.
His first obstacle, of course, was convincing Marty to help him.
Marty: If you were drowning, I'd throw you a fuckin barbell. Why would I ever help you?
Rust: Because you have a debt.
Rust had spent the last 10 years functionally drunk, but hammered all the same. The one thing he couldn't find at the bottom of any bottle was a way to shake the feeling that he and Marty had left something undone all hose years back after killing Reggie Ledoux and his partner.
Several times during their investigation into Dora Lange and Marie Fontenot's murders, they heard mention of a group of powerful men who supposedly were into human sacrifice as well as a man with scars on his face.
But after killing Reggie and finding the two children, everyone seemed content thinking they had gotten their man. Everyone except Rust. Friedrich Nietzsche said "convictions are more dangerous foes of truth than lies" and Rust had finally realized this applied to him and Marty's case.
Marty agreed to go check out Rust's storage unit with him, but still drew his gun when they got there, showing he didn't fully trust his former partner's motive.
As Rust turned the lights on inside the unit, I half expected to see a web of strings linking together a room full of Post-it notes and newspaper clippings, like John Nash's shed in A Beautiful Mind. There was no such thing, though, because Rust wasn't delusional, he was seeing clearly.
He knew there was a connection between the Tuttle schools and all the disappearing women and children.
Even after the hearing about Rust's conversation with "Johnny Joanie" - the former student at Shepherd's Flock - Marty wasn't willing to rate what he heard above conjecture. After seeing that tape, however, there was no way Marty was not going to agree to help.
The same kind of image that made him walk away from the job years ago was what ultimately convinced him to partner up with Rust once again to finish what they started.
I had my time where I wondered if this was all in my head. That time passed.Rust
Marty finally could see that all Rust's rants and ramblings had actually been closer to the truth than anything else. This time around, though, it was up to Marty to do the homework, the file searching. It was he who still had connections to the force, so it was up to him to uncover the next break in their case.
Their roles sort of reversed, but Marty showed how he had just as good an eye for spotting the irregularities in cases as Rust. Thanks to him they ended up on the boat with Sheriff Steve Geraci.
Both men seem to be preparing for the end. Marty visited Maggie, who noted that it sounded like he was saying goodbye. Then Rust made a comment that seemed to hint that he might be thinking of taking his own life.
My life's been a circle of violence and degradation, as long as I can remember. I'm ready to tie it off.Rust
Neither man will rest until the man with the scars is found. When they do finally catch him, I wonder how it will sit with them, when they realize how close they were to him before; heck that one of them had actually spoken with him, years ago at that abandoned school where he was moving the lawn.
The symbol left on the bodies by the killers can be looked at in two ways. Either it started in the center and spiraled outward, reflecting the view that life is a circle and we are meant to live the same life again and again for eternity... or it is flowing in the opposite direction and spiraling toward an ultimate end.
Rust and Marty had spun out of control and out of each other's lives, but now seemed to be spiraling toward some final resolution with just one episode to go.