True Detective: Sn. 1 Episode Four Review

By Eleonora Iafano on Feb 11, 2014 to True Detective

TrueDetective_logoEpisode # 4 – Who Goes There. There were many underlying themes prevalent in this episode. Themes of personal relationships eroding, professional relationships becoming strained and the dangerous side to being in the line of undercover detective business were all evident.

Hart is a man who is conflicted. He feels that he can have his cake and eat it too, as if nothing or nobody will shatter his world. Wake up call comes in the ugliest and yet, not surprising of ways. The ex-mistress decides to take matters into her own hands after a particularly snide and sarcastic encounter with Hart outside the courtroom. You just know what is going to happen and in a way, we all know that Hart deserves it. He wife leaves him, leaving Hart full of rage and abuse. It was only a matter of time before that ticking time bomb went off.

Cohle, on the other hand, states that during a break in their case with a very good lead, he has to leave for ‘personal reasons.’ His father, whom he was estranged, had leukemia. Allegedly. During part of his interrogation scene, I got the sense that the two detectives who were interviewing TD_HartandCohleCohle knew he was lying. Just look at the body language and the glances they gave each other. How does that make sense, while working on a high pressure case, that a detective just happens to up and leave, stating personal reasons? I know that in my line of work, I would have to be providing a whole lot of paperwork to support my claim. Those detectives later tell Hart that they could not find any trace of Travis Cohle, or any hospital records that would support Cohle’s reasons to leave.

We also hear, first hand from Dora’s ex-husband about the kind of man Reggie LeDoux is: violent, a criminal record that was filled with drug related busts and sexual assaults. Amongst other things, apparently the man is a genius when it comes to mixing illegal substances together: he can ‘cook’ up all kinds of drugs with household solvents and products, producing some of the best drugs to sell. Charlie shared a cell with the man, and in the course of their many conversations, some very weird things came up: people who worship the Devil, women and children being sacrificed in these ritual type killings, the kinds of drugs he cooked and the fact that he only made drugs for one particular client. Chilling and eerie. Charlie even stated he was scared of Reggie, because Reggie was a big man, not the kind you wanted to anger, especially when you are the cell mate. I guess life in prison is all about survival and self-preservation.

In a very bold and dangerous move, Cohle and Hart stake out an undercover operation, with Cohle doing most of the dangerous dirty work. When Cohle was an undercover narcotics officer, he made a contact by the name of Ginger, who is a very violent and dangerous man who runs with an Eastern Texas motorcycle gang. A thug who “embraces the outlaw life.” Knowing full well that things could go wrong at any time, Cohle, who Ginger knows as “Crash,” has to put an onTD_CohleEp04 extremely convincing act. He dresses in a leather jacket, sniffs some drugs, puts on some gangster swag and tries to feel out the situation. He gives a large packet to Ginger, like a token of goodwill, to bring Ginger around. Testing the product, Ginger realizes it may be worth his while to come in for “the deal” that Crash is suggesting. Eventually, Ginger and Cohle come to terms: Ginger will let him in on the link to Reggie LeDoux IF he comes along to do a break and enter ride along with a few of Ginger’s men, to a projects style area in Beaumont. Of course, all this goes down, after Cohle has been to Ginger’s trailer and sniffed a small quantity of drugs.

You just know that something is going to go awry during what should have been a simple in and out, robber mission. Lot of guns, lot of men and a lot of tension and hostility do not make for a successful snatch and grab mission. At this point, viewers see an all-out shoot out, in which Cohle, realizing that he may not get out alive, has to blow his cover and he ends up taking out a lot of guys in the process. He takes Ginger with him and they go in and out of these project houses, all the while screaming and gun fire echo in the distance. At any given moment, those guns could be turned on Cohle and Ginger. Ginger realizes that Cohle isn’t what he seems, especially when Hart rolls up in the car.

Several questions go through my mind as the episode fades to black: are Cohle and Hart lying to the detectives? It seemed to me that both men have things that they are desperately trying to cover up. Why? For what purpose and for whose gain?

Cohle said he needed to take a leave for personal reasons. What were those reasons? Did he really go see his father?

Hart’s domestic drama: if Cohle doesn’t want to get in the middle of Maggie and Hart’s train wreck of a marriage, why did he decide to speak with Maggie in the diner? Why did Maggie make the remark to Cohle that he must have been some kind of husband? Low blow, if you ask me.

Why did Cohle deliberately lie to Hart about his marriage and if it could be salvaged? I understand that Cohle wanted to make sure that Hart was focused on the undercover job they were about to pull, but why lie and give someone false hopes?

TD_confortationOne line in particular resonated with me throughout the episode. The line where Cohle says to Hart about the time he was working with a cartel on the border of Texas and Mexico and the torture methods they employed. They cut around your face, pull your skin by the scalp and peel off, while there is a mirror there, so you can see. In this episode, many people are wearing ‘faces’ in order to hide behind.

Hart wears a different face: one when he was with his mistress, one when he was with his wife and one on the job. Cohle wears one on the job and the other when he was conducting business with Ginger and his crew. What is it that both these men are not telling and what really happened 17 years prior that put an end to their professional relationship?


  • HeyManNiceShot

    Why does it say Episode #3 in the first sentence?

    • Jef Dinsmore

      Because errors can be made. We will correct it.

  • DFord

    Maggie’s dialog is pretty much “take no prisoners”. Good writing. Ok, I’m suckered into this. I’m from that area. Most of the accents don’t sound right, but, that particular patios down there is insidiously difficult to get right.

  • lezboyd

    A lot of things that did not make sense to the author made sense to me. Cohle lied about going to meet his father because he wanted to go underground again with the bike club and did not want it to be official.

    Hart was involved in this too, and so lied to the detectives too, according to what they had decided all those years ago.

    I don’t think the whole mask thing was a metaphor for them lying. It was just another example of the rationalistic nature of Cohle’s thoughts.

    Loved the single-take shot towards the end. Was truly epic.

  • bubbahotepp

    Love the acting in this series, from the stars to the supporting characters, and the sleazebags are truly unnerving. But to me it’s the writing that stands out the most. The dialogue just crackles with menace and dread. It’s like listening to dark, irresistible music, delivered by a crew of first rate performers.

  • Kevin Cartwright

    This series is very engaging…
    Can anyone recall why the police were at the scene so fast (last scene in episode 4)? I remember seeing a helicopter following some vehicle that I can assume was the Iron Crusaders/Cohle vehcile, but I don’t recall why they were following it; I might have missed something obvious. Perhaps the local law enforcement was monitoring the neighborhood and routinely follows veihicles in and out…?
    I admittedly am a little slow on the “pick-up”, but if I knew that there was going to be an inevitable third party in the conflict, that would have tweaked an already “intense” scene to an “11”.

    Can’t wait for episode 5.

    • Mark Fahey

      It was in the middle of gangland territory the police probably had a lot of people around anyway

  • bob l

    Congrats HBO on producing one of the finest dramas on television.fascinated with the interaction and conversations. You can be sure the plot will involve underhanded politics involving power at the highest places, and the governors manipulation. Can people really elect,(the gullible ones) monsters like this? Hope this is all fiction???

  • Eleonora Iafano

    So true, Jef! I was on edge throughout that last scene with the guns blazing and people running around. I thought what if Cohle didn’t get out alive….but then I knew he would, otherwise, we wouldn’t have a few more episodes. Speaking of monsters, I really hope that there are no skeletons in Hart’s or Cohle’s closets. I am disturbed by that possibility!

  • Jef Dinsmore

    A lot of questions left unanswered aren’t there Eleonora?
    One question that was clearly answered in this episode, for those who missed the clues, is that there is a cover-up happening; that there is more under the surface than we are being told. Detectives Papania & Gilbough know it and we have only four more episodes to get it as well.
    I loved the way the action of the projects shootout played out and was shot.

Find an HBO Series

More HBO

Subscribe to HBO
Countries HBO Is In
Watch Game of Thrones Online
Watch The Leftovers Online
Watch Silicon Valley Online
HBO Premiere & Air Dates
True Detective Streaming
Other Streaming Television
HBO Boxing Live Stream
Game of Thrones on DVD & Blu-Ray
Watch Cinemax Online