July 19, 2024

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True Detective “Who Goes There”

Season One, Episode Four.

There’s a moment in this episode where Marty, talking in 2012, mentions the “detective’s curse,” which is basically when a really obvious clue is overlooked.  He’s talking about the way his marriage nearly blew up in 1995, but he’s also referring to so much more going on in this story.

Yeah, Marty’s cheating comes back to haunt him when his irate mistress tells Maggie what was happening, and Maggie, taking the girls, leaves Marty.  Marty acts like an ass trying to get to her, but really, I find it a refreshing change of pace for shows like this where a man’s cheatin’ ways aren’t tolerated.  Then again, having Rust act as a go-between is also a pretty dumb idea, since Rust is about as comforting as steel wool and as likely to bring about a reconciliation as a piece of anti-matter.

But that’s neither here nor there.  The guys got the name “Reggie Ledoux” last episode, and that means they can maybe track him down.  He seems like a prime suspect in the Dora Lange killing.  First stop is to talk to Dora’s ex-husband Charlie.  Charlie didn’t much like Reggie.  Reggie was bigger than Charlie, so Charlie didn’t want to get on the man’s bad side, especially since he was some crazy that would talk about things like hidden religious rituals attended to by wealthy men, or Carcosa, or the Yellow King.  Charlie can give up a name of one of Reggie’s old associates, and that guy they can maybe find.  It seems Reggie might be the one man in Louisiana without a single living relative.

Does it make sense that Marty finds some clues for that guy at a strip club?  Well, as much as it makes sense for series writer/creator Nic Pizzolatto to be a bartender there.  However, Marty does find the guy and learns Reggie doesn’t sell his meth anymore.  He just cooks it.  He has one client in the form of some bikers called the Iron Crusaders.

Yeah, Rust knows those guys.

Now, we get to see a bit of how good a liar Rust is.  Rust was deep undercover when he dealt with the bikers, and needs to go deep down for a week or so to get back into character.  That involves lying about why he’s taking time off (a story he and Marty both stick to even in 2012), then stealing cocaine from the evidence locker, and telling Marty that Maggie will probably come around so Marty can stay focused.  Then it’s off to an even sleazier strip club/bar and Rust goes to see an old contact.  How bad are these people?  Well, apparently, a bullet to the head is the better option if this disguise doesn’t work.

Rust manages to get in in part because Iron Crusader Ginger needs a fourth man for a planned raid on a stash house held by some African Americans in a housing project.  Did I mention the bikers were white supremacists?  Did I need to?  The bikers got a couple of cop uniforms, and in they go.

And it goes badly, though not for the viewer.  Once inside the stash house, the show goes for one long continuous tracking shot.  We follow Rust as he ducks around, hears the first shots go off, grabs Ginger, and then does his level best to avoid the bikers, the stash house people, and the actual cops while he puts in a call to Marty and the shot only ends when Rust pushes a stunned Ginger into the back of Marty’s car.

That’s some mighty impressive stuff.  I don’t know what went wrong with season two, but lacking a single, talented director like Cary Joji Fukunaga certainly doesn’t help.  Fukunaga directed every episode of season one, just as Pizzolatto wrote every episode.  That sort of thing helps create some sense of continuity of style.  That really helps.

And that tracking shot is just way too awesome no matter how you look at it.