Telios de Lorca Haunting Me

“I knocked over a very old volume. The Letters of Telios de Lorca, a 12th century Franciscan mystic. Very obscure.” — Fallen Evangelist Joel Theriot during his interview with Detective Rustin Cohle

Like so many others, I’ve fallen down the TRUE DETECTIVE rabbit hole, searching for clues in every word uttered with measured intensity. This week, like everyone else, I am caught in Nic Pizzolatto’s psychic devil trap on the hunt for Telios de Lorca. Later today, I’ll post my discovery (I spent way too many hours last night reading the translations of several ancient texts) after my writing session and meeting. I don’t even want to go to either because I want to get this down while it’s still clear but a commitment is a commitment. Time may be a flat circle to Rust but in my world, it’s still linear.

TRUE DETECTIVE Mural looks more like a frightened child than a woman with a crown.

TRUE DETECTIVE Mural looks more like a frightened child than a woman with a crown.

And while we’re laboring over every uttered word, we watch every costume, every set, every tattoo for hints as to the deeper meaning. Surely all of this cannot be happening by accident. And, by the way, am I the only one who thinks the mural on the wall looks a lot more like the frightened Kelly Rita (December Ensminger) than a woman with a crown of antlers?

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  • Great catch. I just went down that rabbit hole…and this was the first hit.

    The symbols are fascinating!

    Some things I think a lot of people missed were:
    O – the owl in the burned out church. Look up in the rafters right when they enter. The Owl is a major occult symbol and if you think it’s there by accident, well…you’re a Marty and not a Rust. Also note fallen ruins of church form a bird/devil trap (as does the architectural structure on Rev. Tuttles main building. Rust takes note of both…rewatch)

    O-Karla (Lang’s “friend”) has black star neck tatts, yellow stars on her sweater and a padlock necklace with skull and (cross)bones charm.

    O- in ep. 1 I believe, Marty is in a bar telling a story to his fellow cops. He goes out to a pay phone and calls his mistress. She akes him where he is. He replies “Elks” as in, an Elks lodge. Look up the Elks logo. Look into what the individual symbols mean in that logo. Note Rusts aluminum can people…they have a star for a head.

    O- Sheriff Tate. First man on scene at Lang homicide. Beefy hick in a cowboy hat. He is also questioned later in his office by Marty and Rust. Note the office decor. Note his dismissive attitude about the early disappearances of young girls.

    O- this is a tale of sacrifice…on many levels. Note Rusts references to Jesus, the time in the garden, and crucifixion. Note that he turns his cheek at Marty’s rage. He even presents himself to Marty as if posed as Jesus. Make no mistake. Rust will be the final sacrifice…he is going willingly to his own crucifixion…if it will serve to save the boys and girls falling victim. Note that the current day Rust almost looks like a world weary Jesus.

    I believe that Rust is still…in the present day, an undercover detective. I believe that, yes, he did transfer out of TX to LA. But not from a state police to state police transfer. I believe he is FBI or DEA out of Texas. No state or local agency could give him the cover he has and has described other than FED.
    I believe he was perhaps with a DEA task force that got wind of something very evil and corrupt going on in LA. All the LA CID detectives distrust him. Call him “taxman” or “IA (Internal Affairs)” and “rat”. They are right, they just don’t know how right they are.

    Just some observations from a being in the fourth dimension, viewing this flat circle as it spins endlessly.

  • Good catch on the Kelly Rita/church mural connection! I never would have put those two together, but now I can’t un-see it. That’s one of the really impressive things about this show: the layering of parallel images and ideas that keep coming the more you watch. Each episode makes you want to go back and watch the whole thing (and I pretty much have every time) again to find new things that were there all along. I really hope that the conclusion is as epic as the rest of the show has been; after we’ve had eight weeks to process all the clues, read all the internet theories (and create a few of our own), and speculate on the meaning of it all, it would be really easy for the finale to be something of a letdown (it’s almost impossible that the ending isn’t something that someone out there has thought of, analyzed, and written on a website). I’m keeping the faith, but the expectations have been set awfully high by everything so far.

    I stumbled upon your blog while searching for clues about Telios de Lorca (could you tell that I’m obsessed with this show?), and I glanced over some of the older entries. Looking forward to reading more–please share what you found about old Telios if/when you have the time. I also write, but I never seem to finish anything and I almost never update my journal. I keep telling myself I’ll get to that novel or screenplay when the time is right, but I can find any excuse not to work, you know?

    If you’re still working creatively, I hope it’s going well. Thanks for listening.

  • Nice analysis and lots of great symbol catches IndyPat!

    • Agree and noticed how Rev. Tuttle’s main building looks like a bird trap/devil net. Noticed the black star tatt and yellow stars on Dora Lang’s “friend.”

    • Are you noticing how there are crosses on everything? Reflections while they drive, reflections in the water, and tons of shadows. It’s an easy symbol to keep referencing and, for a while, I was irritated because it was everywhere but now I’m stuck on the idea that part of the subtext is that IT IS EVERYWHERE. Rust may feel that religion and a superior being is human consciousness screaming for personal value and the visuals of the film are affirming that aching, eternal need. Intentionally or accidentally, it is everywhere.

    • Did NOT notice and LOVE how you noticed that Rust presents himself to Marty posed as Jesus at the crucifixion! That is wonderful!

  • @ Brock
    It is definitely a HUGE leap forward in the battle of the Hi Production mini series space. This…is the future. Give me this and that seat in the theater will remain empty. I had big hopes for “The Killing” series, mostly because I liked the mood, tone and was very much drawn to the characters. Both seasons failed to deliver anything close to a climax or a resolution…or some sort of synthesis. I still think it had some redeeming qualities….sort of a stillborn/porto True Detective. In retrospect, True Detective has taken a great deal of shine off of my Dexter collection. Seems cartoonish and superficial in the rear view mirror. The mood and character depth they have pulled off in True Detective is astounding. Leaves you hungry.
    I fear an epic ending almost as much as I fear a lackluster one. I fear.
    I think we will ultimately get the former. I fear.
    The reference to the fourth deminsiin looking down into the flat round repeating one….that fourth is where we sit. Rust breaks the fourth wall and says “howdy” when he crushes that Lone Star can and explains it.
    We are the True Detectives, in my opinion.
    Such a great project. Set design and dress, location, casting choices, filming and editing, and story telling never seen before….shhhheeeettt. What more could you want?
    Will this dethrone Breaking Bad? Dunno. Two more turns around the circle and we will find out. If fear darkness becomes us.

  • Brock — I will be horribly disappointed if the series finishes of with all of the traditional cop beats. It certainly feels like more is trying to happen visually, thematically, contextually! In two episodes, I will discover if this obsession is worth it (BREAKING BAD) or a bad dream I should have ignored (LOST). I’m hoping they really are creating something extraordinary here.

    I haven’t blogged for a while because I used to be super into the indie film world as a filmmaker and professor. I left that world to become an indie documentarian and writer. I couldn’t find anything that seemed to be compelling to anyone. (Does anyone really want to know what cameras we used or why we wrote this script from this point of view? It just all seemed too personal.)

    But, now, I seem to have found something to say. First, because I am captivated by what they’re doing with the one-hour format on television right now. Second, because this is EXACTLY the sort of series I’m developing right now. And, third, because Pizzolatto and Fukunaga are doing it so beautifully! I’ve been a fan of Fukunaga since SIN NOMBRE was at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.

    So, I’m finished with my writing session for today so I’m back to the theory of Telios de Lorca! Check back in a couple of hours! — cg

  • @ Cyndi Greening…
    Thanks for your reply…and….
    Yes, the crosses are everywhere. I don’t necessary believe Rust doesn’t believe in Christ. I think Rust has a big problem with religion, and in that, Rust and I park our trucks in the same garage. I have no use for religion, but as the black preacher says in the series ” I do love me some Jesus”.
    I find the “taxman” reference alluring, as well. Taxmen collect something owed. Taxmen are hated. Internal Affairs police are hated. Outcasts. The Apostle Matthew was a Taxman…and, incidentally, my favorite Apostle.
    Note the folks Rust is drawn to. Prostitutes, bikers, junkies and broken people. The “Holy” men of Jesus’s day called him out for that. He told them in no uncertain terms that these are the ones he came for. He had no use for those who thought they could save themselves. Jesus liked to kick it with “down home” sorts. That’s why he is number one in my book.
    I see the crosses everywhere in TD. Telephone poles, cranes, wreckage…and even a real cross on just about every wall.
    The movie “Seven” used that too. At its climax…Mills, out there asking what’s in the box? High tension electric lines form crosses behind him.
    Nothing we see in film is an accident. At least any film worth seeing.
    Kubrick would be damn proud, I’m sure…..

  • If this is the future, I’m looking forward to it.

    I’m trying to mitigate my expectations for the conclusion; no matter what happens, it shouldn’t diminish how much fun I’ve had these past weeks digesting the wealth of clues and symbols (as I said before, layers upon layers of imagery) Pizzolatto and Fukunaga have hidden. Maybe that’s the point: Rust’s obsession fuels our own obsession. Remember that Hart (a thick-headed mess, to be sure, but maybe right in this case) cautioned Rust against attaching assumptions to a piece of evidence: you start to bend the narrative to fit it. Maybe we notice these images (antlers, crosses, stars, crowns, spirals, the color yellow, etc.) more because Rust is noticing them more, seeing conspirators in every shadow. Maybe, in the end, he’s as crazy as everyone thinks he is. I don’t believe that, but maybe it’s because I’m crazy, too–the Yellow Sign is upon me, my dreams filled with black stars and lost Carcosa. In the end, I’m going to try not to let the destination spoil the journey.

    And, man, what a journey.

    Better than Breaking Bad? It depends. If the measure is my level of involvement, this is already better in my eyes. BB had brilliant writing, acting, direction, style…the works. It was layered and rewarded re-watching, like TD, too. However, I’ve personally been much more committed to TD and I’ve gotten much more fulfillment (I don’t know if that’s the right word, but I’m going with it) out of mining TD’s layers. Make no mistake, TD has not diminished my love of BB (I was right there speculating and analyzing and, most of all, anticipating with all the other fans, believe me), but it has tempered it a little: six months ago, I didn’t dream that another show would reach the level of quality set by BB for a long time, but the fact that we’re mentioning TD in the same sentence with BB (and after only six episodes) shows just how good TD is.

    If, however, the measure is consistency, the ability to elevate a genre–and, indeed, television as a whole–and maintain that level of quality over time, then the jury is definitely still out. Can Nic Pizzolatto (and the writing staff he has said he would hire for a second season) deliver another season of television that is this compelling, has a scope this broad, and is this well-executed? Only time will tell, but I’m certainly eager to see him try.

  • I’m thinking that the name “Taxman” may have a biblical reference:
    “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s”. There are many ways to interpret this. Rust is either agnostic or atheist, however, as somebody up top has said, he’s also a possible Jesus figure.

  • Telios de Lorca may be an anagram for celestial door. In Ambrose Bierce’s “An Inhabitant of Carcosa”, Carcosa lies in the seven sister stars of the Hyades, an area of the sky that is returned to again and again in the Cthulhu mythos.

  • This is me grasping at straws …

    Two Christian letter-writers of the 12th century are St. Hildegard, who was a mystic nun, and Peter/Pierre Abelard, a philosopher / theologian.

    Could “Franciscan monk” (I find it very hard to believe that placing a Franciscan monk in the wrong century was NOT deliberate) be a reference to San Francisco or something or someone else? It does seem way too important to be a mere detail.

  • The exact dialog was “The Letters of Telios DeLorca. Twelfth-century Franciscan mystic, very obscure.” It’s the Franciscan mystic that locks me onto nature loving, ecstasy in the woods with the Lord, Saint Francis. I tried looking at other mystics but keep coming up dry.

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