Spoilers. Obviously. If you don’t want spoilers, tough.
I’m a little behind on this show, but that’s changing. Fast. True Detective revolves around two, shockingly enough, detectives in Louisiana reliving a case from 1995 to police almost ten years after the fact. This premise begs a few questions: How did the case resolve? Why are the police asking these two guys (played by Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaghey acting their asses off) to recount something that they already have files on? Who did this horrible crime?
The format also has one fatal flaw: We know that the two leads survive. After an episode, that’s not as big as issue as it could be.
Harrelson’s Martin Hart is a great everyman, just wanting to get home to his wife and daughters. McConaghey’s performance as Rustin Cohle, both past and present, is fantastic thus far. He goes from brooding statue to guy spouting psychotic drivel (“This is like someone’s memory of a town and the memory’s fading.”) like it’s nothing. Like I said, I’m in.
In this first episode, we’re shown the weirdly placed body of a woman, who turns out to be named Dora Kelly Lange, bound naked to a tree. Stabbed a few times. Strange symbols drawn on her naked frame. You know, as you do. She’s also got a crown of deer antlers (with blue paint on it) and is surrounded by little “My First Cauldron” style…um…things? Wikipedia calls them “latticework”, but I have no idea what that even means so I’m not going to use the word. Anyway, Marty and Rust are understandably weirded out by the scene and promptly speculate about what it all means. They seem to settle on Satanists, which works for the predominantly Christian force and the reverend that is friends with some of the higher ups. Makes sense. Only thing is, from my perspective, is that if you know anything about stuff going sideways in the South in the early to mid 90’s, it was always Satanists. I digress.
While searching for leads about their then Jane Doe, Rust ends up at a bar talking to two ladies of the evening. Not a big issue, except that he’s already on the brink. Not only did he see one hell of a messed up crime scene, he also had it sprung on him that Marty’s wife wants Rust to come over for dinner. Normally, not an issue, but this isn’t normal. It’s also Rust’s daughters birthday. That becomes a big deal.
Rust shows up on the Hart family doorstep blitzed out of mind. Turns out, his daughter is dead because of course she is. And Marty and his family, two of which are young girls, ask him to dinner. See the issue? No? I hate you. Yes? You restore my faith in humanity. Anyway, during the dinner, we find out that Rust and his wife divorced shortly after their daughter caught her case of rigor mortis (too much?), so he tends to turn to his old friend booze around this time. Marty tries to get him out of there, but not before leaving quite an impression on the rest of the Hart clan.
While investigating, Rust and Marty come across another case of a little girl who had disappeared years earlier. On a hunch, or wanting to speak to the locally famous uncle of the girl (a former college pitcher know suffering from some kind of neurological…thing), they go to the home and find the same “latticework” thing in a shed in the backyard. Why is it there? Who put it there? What’s the connection?
Flash to the present. Interspersed through the show, we see footage of Marty and Rust being interviewed by two new detectives about the case. After avoiding questions from both Rust and Marty about why they are there recounting the story and going on a beer run for Rust (no joke, they get him a six pack of Lone Star tall boys), they finally reveal that someone matching the same MO as the the Lange site has struck, matching things that never hit the media.
Hell of a first offering to a series that is only eight episodes long. Well, at least in this iteration. I can’t wait to watch the next one, I can’t wait to write about it, and I can’t wait for you guys to talk about it with me in the comments. And please, try to keep it as future spoiler free as you can, out of respect for the people like me who are behind. Also, that’s a total dick move. Don’t be a dick.