Blogger’s note: If you are one the legion still catching up on “True Detective,” be warned this blog contains spoilers for the first three episodes.
As it turns out, there was no need for HBO to give “True Detective” a week off against the Super Bowl. In fact, it might have drawn its highest ratings yet had it run. But if you’re jonesing for some theorizing, we’ve got you covered:
We wrote last week about the incredible streak character actor Shea Whigham is on, appearing in “Boardwalk Empire,” “American Hustle” and “The Wolf of Wall Street,” all within the past year. Now, Whigham’s Preacher Theriot just might turn out to be a pivotal character in the “True Detective” mystery.
But as good as Whigham was in the context of the episode pales in comparison to how good he is in an alternative scene released by HBO showing the six-minute revival tent sermon by Theriot in its entirety. Honestly, after watching this we were just about ready to jump up and scream “hallelujah.” It’s that good and it’s linked at right.
During this mini-break, our brain has been wandering pretty seriously. And we got to wondering why HBO would release that scene. Which got us wondering if there might not be a clue or Easter Egg in there somewhere. Then this sentence from the sermon grabbed us, “In the end, we will find ourselves at the beginning. And we'll at last know ourselves, and our true faces will weep in his light.” So let us ask you: Do you remember what the first scene of the show was? Take a minute. … Okay, it was a figure or figures moving through a cane field in the darkness, followed by the sound of a match lighting and then a line of fire moving across the field. Considering what happened shortly thereafter, we think you can infer it was Dora Lange’s killer dragging her body to the “altar” site. And now we’re wondering whether we might not see that scene again, only this time we’ll be able to see exactly who was involved.
Speaking of Easter Eggs, if you look at the still photo of the final scene of last week’s episode – you know the one of the jock strap-wearing, machete-wielding, gas mask-breathing man who might or might not be Reginald Ledoux and might or might not be “the spaghetti monster” and might or might not be a ritualistic mass murderer, that one – you’ll notice something interesting at the bottom right. It certainly appears that we can see one of those lattice work sculptures on the ground outside what we assume is Mr. Ledoux’s meth-making facility. You can view the photo by clicking the link at right.
In our blog on the “Locked Room,” we said the phrase doubled as Cohle’s explanation of the fragile human psyche, but in retrospect that’s not nearly specific enough.
His “locked room” reference relates back to his explanation earlier that he views human consciousness as a tragic misstep of evolution. In other words, nature intended humans to be creatures of instinct, like all other creatures, but we mistakenly obtained the ability to reason, which allows us to believe we’re different than the rest of nature. Cohle reasoned that the murder victims’ photos he examined all showed a peaceful realization before death that they weren’t special in any way and that everything they perceived as “important” about their life was just a trick played on them by this rogue consciousness we all have acquired.
Admittedly, that’s pretty heady stuff for a TV show and helps explain how Cohle’s dark nihilism has become a lightning rod for both praise and criticism of “True Detective.” It’s also opened a conversation about some of the dark modern authors, such as Thomas Ligotti and Robert Chambers (whose “King in Yellow” has actually crept into the show’s fictional storyline), who have expressed viewpoints similar to Cohle’s. There’s been talk that it’s shocking and revolutionary to see such a dark point of view in popular fiction. We’ve got three words in reply to such nonsense: Edgar Allan Poe.
So far “True Detective” has jumped back and forth between 1995 and 2012 but advanced press indicates we’ll soon see Marty Hart and Rustin Cohle in another time period, 2002. You’ll remember in the premiere that Hart noted he and Cohle hadn’t spoken in 10 years, and it doesn’t take much deductive reasoning (and a quick glance at 2012 Hart’s hands) to imagine what we’ll encounter in that timeframe.
Finally, we made a big to-do when we formulated a theory after only two episodes on how the show will play out. After a third episode, our theory is still plausible, but now much more formed, complex and plausible. In fact, if our theory is NOT correct, we’re willing to bet it’s as least as good, if not better, than what actually will play out. We’re pretty sure we’ll know within the next episode or two if we’re right. As John Doe said in “Seven,” we’d like to say more, but we don’t want to ruin the surprise.