True Detective - "Haunted Houses" Review

SPOILERS AHEAD

I have recently written an article about how great HBO's new show, True Detective, is as I was told about it recently and binged watched every episode multiple times. It is one of the most engaging television programs I have ever watched and every episode is incredibly smart as well as shot incredibly well. It is an anthology formatted show, so the tension is always high as they only have eight episodes to tell this incredible story. The story is what keeps the plot moving, but truthfully the characters are what keep us hooked. Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson do a masterful job in their roles which keeps us enamored with each episode. As for the previous episode, we were led on by Detectives Gilbrough and Papania that Rust Cohle may not be the same person he once was and possibly a copy-cat killer from the Dora Lange murder in 1995. We saw in the episode that Rust decided to pick the case back up once he heard the name, "The Yellow King" mentioned by a convict asking for a deal. The Yellow King was mentioned multiple times throughtout Dora Lange's journal and by others that knew Reggie Ledoux. Thus in current time, Gilbrough and Papania ask Martin and his ex wife, Maggie, about why Marty and Rust had a falling out in 2002 when

The plot picks up essentially right where it left off last season as it shows Marty going back to his usual ways of dealing with things that he does not approve of. For instance, when he hated seeing what Ledoux was doing to the children, he put a bullet in the back of his head. When heard his daughter was being promiscuous, he slapped her and berated her. His usual response to things he does not approve of is always violence, so of course when he is locked in a room with the two kids that took advantage of his daughter, one can assume how he would treat them. This episode had two different focuses, one was on the end of Marty's marriage to his partner Rust and his marriage to Maggie. The other focus was that of Rust continuing to look into the Tuttle organization as he believes they had something to do with the murders of women and children over all of these years.

One plot-line that felt a little off would be that of Marty cheating on his wife with Beth, one of the children he had saved back in 1995. The cheating part is not a surprise, as once a cheater always a cheater, but the fact that he'd do anything with someone so young. It seemed just a little too on the nose as well as once as we saw him with her, we could pretty much see how the rest of the events would unfold from that point. Marty was also having a hard time at work as he felt belittled by Rust when he was ordered to type a fourty page confession that Rust had just gotten on the "Marshland Medea" who had been killing children. Marty asks Rust to treat him with more respect as he is the only one that gets along with him at the station, to which Rust retorts that without him Marty is nothing. Rust, being the reason as to why they are such good cops due to his inability to rest before a case is solved.

As for Rust, he looked further into the Tuttle foundation which ruffled a lot of feathers. He already suspected that the organization ran up high, but he still was not entirely sure how high. I personally have suspicions of the police station as well as Tuttle himself, but this elusive "Yellow King" I do not think exists. I think it is far more like that this Yellow King is indeed a supernatural deity that they are idolizing and sacrificing their victims too. Ledoux even told Dora Lange's ex-husband in jail that there were a lot of rich folk into Satan worship. If you even look at how Dora Lange was left at the tree it was as if she was there as a sacrifice with her hands clasped together above her head and her knees dug into the ground with her head down. It is almost as if she were praying, which again leads me to believe that the Yellow King is indeed a deity that this people are worshiping. As far as the man with scars that everyone keeps referring too, well just about every shady character we have seen has had scars and those people that describe this man are not in the best place mentally.

Anyways, back on track. After Rust meets with Tuttle he is chewed out by his new captain and suspended indefinitely. Marty even agrees that the punishment does not fit the crime of being a thorough cop. While he is suspended, he still continues to look into the case from his home trying to make sense of it over some liquor. By this point, Maggie had already found out that Marty had cheated on her again and tried to have a random one night stand with a guy at a bar but couldn't do it. Thus, she shows up at Rust's doorstep and throws herself at him and afterward shes explain it had to be with him as it would have hurt Marty more. Having found out that he had just been used, he kicks Maggie out. Marty and Rust fight at the station when he arrives to pick up more files. At this point with their friendship deteriorated he quits from the station and is never heard from again.

Back in present time, Marty walks out of the office when Gilbrough begins to further insinuate that Rust is up to no good. Maggie also in her questioning continues with the old adage at this point that the title of the show is a contradiction to how these people also interact with another. As Marty leaves the station he is driving down a very similar road as he hears someone beeping at him, only to see that Rust is driving behind him. Rust explains to him that the two need to talk and offers to buy him a beer. As Rust walks away, Marty takes his gun out to make sure it is loaded and continues to follow Rust.

3.5 stars out of 5
3.5 stars out of 5

Considering how the past two episodes were some of the best we have seen on television in quite sometime, we needed to have an episode come down a little bit and help plant the seeds for the final two episodes. I wouldn't be surprised if the rest of the way is set mostly in present time as we see Rust and Marty begin to work together again, with a little of distrust between the two. This was very much a necessary episode and despite how predictable and how much it felt like a normal procedural cop show, it still was a great episode.

I had a gut feeling that Marty and Rust were simply putting on a show and that they were not actually angry at each other but simply realized that the people in their station might have been corrupt. So the best way to throw them off is for one of them to take a fall. However, the aspect of Maggie and Rust hooking up brought out raw emotion in Marty, so that theory goes out the window. As well as Marty loading his gun in present time when meeting with Rust.

All in all, even in a straight forward episode like this, it is still a great show. They have set up an amazing tone and even in an episode lacking action, I still found myself glued to the screen waiting to see what was next. I love the story and want to know more, but yet when it focuses simply on the characters that is truly when it is at it's best. The three main characters are so perfectly written and portrayed that it will be really sad to see them go when this season is over. That being said, an anthology formatted show allows them to have a more focused season which is certainly benefiting them.

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