The Yellow King, spaghetti monsters, Carcosa, all of these fantastical ideas have been thrown around over the course of this series of True Detective, but in its final pivot before the series finale squashes the bug on any mysticism going on. Child pornography & murder by powerful people, killers hiding in plain sight, crushing loneliness, these are the horrors of True Detective, and while these things don’t carry the same value they have slowly broke down our heroes all the same.
Rust and Marty had been apart for ten years and more or less fall right back into step because they have nobody left in their lives but each other. That’s not to say they aren’t vigilant in their desire to solve the murder of Marie Fontenot and countless others, but neither of them has anything else to live for either. The isolation is so alienating that we have a hard time believing the grand conspiracy that Rust has uncovered and you couldn’t get that upset with Marty if he would have walked out on him. The convincing factor is quite powerful, but it is more or less confirming something the viewer already knows.
That was a weird thing about this episode, we know Rust is innocent of the murders, though he’s a hell of a B&E man, so there wasn’t a lot of suspense watching him and Marty get back up to speed. The show even acknowledges the silliness of Marty packing his side arm when heading in to Rust’s storage locker. The whole sequence seems a little redundant outside the contents/context of the safe, but at least gives us a few shreds of Rust’s sanity and how he isn’t entirely off the deep end.
It is exciting to see the duo working the beat again, but the look into their lives resonated the most. We get more of reality being worse than any fantasy, a microwaved baby being the thing that, rightfully, breaks Marty as a cop, sending him into PI work and a genius like Rust is a washed up, functional drunk who tends at a dive bar. You have to feel good for them as they get back into their groove, especially when they finally get the drop on a government official who they know is mixed up in the Carcosa mystery.
Still, for all the effectiveness that scenes had tonight, the series timeline structure puts the show in a weird position. The show is transitioning for most of its penultimate episode, convincing characters when the audience knows what’s up, and I wonder if season 2 won’t be better served to be a little more straight forward. Maybe it’s just because we are used to our penultimate episodes packing such a punch nowadays, but I was shocked to find this to be the least eventful episode. Maybe that is the point, though, things don’t get more exciting, sometimes it is a just a slow crawl to the painfully obvious conclusion, and how fucking horrible that can be. We will find out next week, but I am bracing for a fairly disturbing final act that will seem way too real to forget.