TRUE DETECTIVE: Sn. 1 Episode Three Review

By Jef Dinsmore on Jan 29, 2014 to True Detective

TrueDetective_logoOkay, I wasn’t assigned this post but the computer gremlins were taking over the intended writer’s computer so I had to watch the episode again and get it fresh in my mind before I took the review over; thus this reviews delay. So, here we go. As you remember our detectives have to come up with results soon as the occult task force is ready to take over the case. Luckily for them a depiction of the crime is found in the burned out church. It is a lead, but is it enough? We also got quite a bit of background about Hart and Cohle. How about Gilbough and Papania? Are they getting all the background they need? Exactly what are they looking for? The questions could go on all day.  Let’s get to the episode.   


 Episode # 3– The Locked Room A hidden image at the burned-out church leads Cohle and Hart to Joel Theriot, a tent-revival minister whose parishioners finger a scarred “tall man” seen with Dora Lange. Brought in for interrogation, a sex offender matching the description is quickly dismissed by Cohle, despite offering a confession. Hart gets sidetracked after Maggie sets Cohle up with a friend at a C&W bar. Looking to establish a pattern of murder, Cohle pores over old case files, finding a connection with a woman assumed to have drowned years earlier. Truedetective_ep3(Written by Nic Pizzolatto; directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga.)

Man, they threw a lot at us this week and it wasn’t much to do, as usual, with the crime. What we got was more stuff from ‘the locked rooms.’  You did catch that, right?  You are missing quite a bit if you don’t listen to what these guys pontificate on, especially Rust when he sits with Gilbough and Papania. The ‘locked room’ is your mind; it is a space that you can’t get out off and if you let it it can be quite dark in there. Trust me, Rust knows. But, ease up; let’s save that moment for later.

 One great scene was at the tent revival. Standing at the back of the crowd Martin and Rust wrapped their minds around religion and was a great scene. Just to pick a quote how about this one from Cohle – “If the only thing keeping a person decent is the expectation of divine reward then, brother, that person is a piece of shit. And I’d like to get as many of them out in the open as possible. You gotta get together and tell yourself stories that violate every law of the universe just to get through the goddamn day? What’s that say about your reality?  The duo also had thoughts on ‘love’, ‘good guys and bad guys’ and the ‘easiness of death.’ But, it only sinks in if you really listen. To me, those ponderings make each episode that has them in plenty worth watching a second time. No other HBO show gives you dialogue at that depth – NO OTHER. Kudos to Nic Pizzolatto for his writing and the actors who just make the characters click.

 Besides those riffs there is more on the relationships in this hour and as a result we really see Martin Hart conflicted and messed up. Let’s spend a moment on the family issues. First, is there more to the Hart family than we realize? Do you remember the scene where Martin looked into the girl’s bedroom and saw the toys on the floor? They showed male action figures standing around a face down naked Barbie doll. I thought it odd but thought it was just the girls reenacting Daddy’s job, but now with the scene in this episode I just am not sure that is all it was. We learn that Audrey has drawn out naked people in her notebook. Now, all kids go through that curiosity, but where did Audrey get that imagery? Did she see something she shouldn’t? Hey, if I am going to read too much into all this – how about the picture below.


It is when Martin comes home to see that Rust is comfortable with the family and mowed his lawn. Now all kids post the pictures that they doodle, but notice the one drawing on the wall that looks like the ritualistic circle pattern that was found on the victims? I didn’t notice it when I watched the show live on Sunday but only after I viewed it the second time on my laptop that I saw it.  Is there something in all this or is it just to prove the dysfunction of the family? I mean Maggie and Marty could not even properly handle the parenting chore which should have been a simple one to handle. I’m probably reading too much into all this, but you can explore all that in the comments below.truedetective_theharts

The second side of the relationship thing is Lisa Tragnetti, the mistress. It is safe to say that she is no longer going to dally with Martin after the incident at her place. Martin clearly cannot handle it at all. Nor can he handle the third part of the equation that is Rust Cohle. Come on, it wasn’t over the mowing of the lawn, though it was clearly a territorial dispute. Notice how relaxed Rust is with Maggie? Notice how he always looks at the girls? Though I don’t think it has been officially stated it has been suggested in comments that the ‘big fight’ coming down the line is going to be the two of them over Maggie.    

 I’ve got to move on and mention the interviews that have been conducted by Gilbough and Papania in the present. They are searching and finding holes in the stories of Hart and Cohle. You have to take note of when they are giving little side glances to each other. All that stuff is telling if we can just pick up on it, which is hard to do, with all the exposition going on. Are they out to find who is to blame for possibly hunting down the wrong man? Are they trying to pin a breach of conduct?  They have got to come to a conclusion soon. Just remember though those guys are mostly silent and you are hanging on Rust and Martin’s every word, the 2012 detectives need to be paid attention to.TrueDetecive_Ep3

Let’s wrap this up with one final thought. We have already seen the pattern of something intriguing being said or shown in the last minutes of every hour. When I watched this episode again on my laptop I played the last scene over a couple of times. Have you ever done that? The last section of Rust’s monologue cutting to the image of the odd nearly naked man at some compound and the beating throb of the score just sent my mind awhirl. I was trapped in my ‘locked room’ pondering the imagery as the music played out and the credits became a blur then I watched the final minutes again.

“…there’s a monster at the end of it.”


Instead of the recap here explaining some of this better than I is the creative team with an Inside Episode # 3 followed by the action packed peek at Episode # 4.


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4 Comments on "TRUE DETECTIVE: Sn. 1 Episode Three Review"

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Man, I just can’t get the last two episodes of “True Detective” out of my head! I don’t know how to even qualify and classify it!!!! It is like a long narrative interceded by odd external poems and delirious inner monologues… I feel like I’m on drugs when I watch this show, or that I perhaps should be, or end up being should I continue to watch!

It has an almost unreal and dreamy quality to it! It reminds me in equal parts of “Appocalypse Now” and “The Usual Suspects”…yep “True Detective” is that and more….

bob l

This is an amazing piece of work. Reminds me of an old film from a novel by Thomas Harris called The Red Dragon. The film was called Manhunter directed by Michael Mann. The similarities are in the characters and conversations of two detectives, who are able to focus so well as to assimilate into their minds the mind of their terrorists, then move on them. This is smart tv for smart tv viewers. Congrats to all involved. The writing,directing,cinematography, and especially the acting is exceptional. Keep those episodes coming. MM and WH are great at their craft.


What is it with the chronological showing of the episodes? I watched S1 E1, then it listed S1 E3. This was on HBOHD On Demand. No other episodes were listed!

Eleonora Iafano
I find myself drawn to this series. I also feel that it has a bit of a “Se7en” feel to it and this gives me some anxiety. My husband and I like watching this but I feel like there are too many curve balls for me to guess who did what and what will happen next. I like the unpredictability – it’s what draws viewers in. That, and the duo of Woody H and Matthew McC are great! One so droll and apathetic; the other a bit self absorbed and stressed out. The last scene with the mysterious man in… Read more »

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