Doubting Thomas of TRUE DETECTIVE
“We are things that labor under the illusion of having a self, this accretion of sensory experience and feeling, programmed with total assurance that we are each somebody when, in fact, everybody’s nobody.” — Detective Rustin Cohle
“I wouldn’t go around spouting that shit, I was you. People around here don’t think that way.” — Detective Martin HartAbout 15 minutes into the first episode of TRUE DETECTIVE, Rust and Marty have an exchange that revealed the core difference in the values of the detectives and the locals. Like most everyone else, I thought this exchange was setting up the driving force of the series. We have Rust espousing that he thinks none of us are special but he dedicates his life to catching and punishing those who actually act on that philosophy. The people who treat others like they are nothing, who use and abuse them for their own sick pleasures, those who live with a total disregard for the value of others, THOSE are the people Rust (and Marty) spend their lives trying to capture. In episode 7, Rust says, “Be careful what you get good at.” They both got good at collecting debts. But those debts are only owed if each life is valuable, if each life is *not* nothing.
So, in the sixth episode, when we were introduced to Telios de Lorca, I hoped that Pizzolatto was setting up the competing value systems and the big reveal. To me, Telios de Lorca signaled that there was a group who used mysticism and the compulsion of ecstasy to justify their kidnapping, raping, and murder of women and children. Dozens, if not hundreds, of women and children. A group would have to have a powerful and compelling belief in a Supreme Deity and their Supreme Right to use these women and children in any manner they saw fit. This need for ecstasy was coupled with the connection to Garcia Lorca and his explanation of the “dark soul” that arises and makes you act and create in unimaginable ways. We always hope that the uncontrollable inner drive is for good but, as we all know, that hidden soul can create serials killers and ritual abusers, too.
In the case of TRUE DETECTIVE, it appeared that Pizzolatto put Reverend Billy Lee Tuttle and his cousin (Governor then Senator) Eddie Tuttle in the group committing compulsive, dark crimes. I could easily imagine Billy Lee Tuttle arguing that their cause was just because God had put him in a position to set up all these schools that provided the many sacrificial lambs the group required. I could imagine Eddie Tuttle arguing that his high political position was proof that they were God’s chosen ones. And Miss Dolores told us to “Rejoice” because Death was not the end. She knew Carcosa and thought it brought divinity.It was perfect. The argument between those who use the disenfranchised and those who protect them. The collision of the righteous and the right. I was delighted. Delighted, I tell you. And, I believed Pizzolatto to be the new Messiah of series television.
And then I watched the last to episodes. I had my “come-to-Jesus” moment and it was a savage, abrupt, and brutal loss of faith. I languished in the pits of hell for most of Monday, wailing and gnashing my teeth. It was not a pretty sight. I felt like SATURN DEVOURING HIS CHILDREN (painting above by Goya, created late in his life when he was surely going mad, yet still compelled to create art). I wanted to chew up and spit out TRUE DETECTIVE. I mean, seriously, I am supposed to believe that Errol was the criminal genius who was at the heart of this madness?!? Clearly, the mad fool was me!
I read Pizzolatto had given an interview about Season Two. He said, “I am still fleshing it out. The basic idea: Hard women, bad men, and the secret occult history of the U.S. transportation system.” Sadly, I am the Doubting Thomas of TRUE DETECTIVE now. I do not believe Season Two will deliver a truly satisfying story. Oh, there will be great characters (women this time) and a flashy bunch of chatter that suggests there are dark forces at play. The first half will be brilliant but the second half will wither like the penis on a devout priest. In the final episode, after chasing a giant conspiracy, there’ll be ONE LONE metro driver, standing on an underground track, spewing nonsense while the girls blow him away.
I am the fallen apostle. I am the Doubting Thomas of TRUE DETECTIVE.