‘True Detective’: Nothing is Ever Over

Published 1 year ago by

Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson in True Detective Season 1 Episode 3 True Detective: Nothing is Ever Over

[This is a review of True Detective season 1, episode 3. There will be SPOILERS.]


So far, True Detective has delivered as much of an investigation into its two lead characters as it has into the strange and horrible death of Dora Lange. In that regard, the show has presented Rust Cohle and Martin Hart as two men with wildly different attitudes toward the questions of the case and, more importantly, the questions swimming around their less-than-stellar personal lives.

Early on in ‘The Locked Room,’ their increasingly impassioned discussion on the topic of religion and the religious threatens to match even the fiery preaching of the self-described “independent evangelical” played by Boardwalk Empire‘s Shea Whigham, serving as yet another textbook example of the rapidly widening schism between the two.

Cohle’s various eccentricities and long-winded diatribes have so far only been a consistent but mild irritant to the “regular guy” that is Marty Hart. In fact, they’ve proven to be valuable in terms of Cohle’s willingness to doggedly pursue the untouched and undiscovered corners of the Lange investigation, no matter how potentially obscure the link may be. And as the hunt appears to have gone on for weeks at this point, leading Quesada (Kevin Dunn) to reluctantly give his detectives two more days to find a suspect before handing things over to Tuttle’s religious-crimes task force, Cohle winds up having a breakthrough, in more ways than one.

As much as the show offered up about Rust and his awful past in last week’s ‘Seeing Things,’ this time True Detective took a closer look at Marty and Maggie (Michelle Monaghan) and their crumbling marriage – which isn’t helped any by Rust showing up to mow Marty’s lawn and have the whole thing devolve into an exhausting euphemism; nor is it an encouraging sign that Marty flies into jealous rage after seeing Lisa at a bar with someone other than him.

Michelle Monaghan in True Detective Season 1 Episode 3 True Detective: Nothing is Ever Over

And yet, despite all the domestic subplots the show manages to convincingly string together, there’s still a breakthrough (or so it seemed at the time) in the murder of Dora Lange.

That brings the series back to 2012, where Papiana and Gilbough ask Marty whether or not he thinks Cohle’s refusal to hand the Lange case over to Tuttle’s task force could be perceived as an attempt to push the investigation where he wants it to go. Clearly, the two present-day detectives have their suspicions about both men and their handling of the case. Perhaps it’s just a bi-product of what Nic Pizzolatto has presented so far, but in terms of someone pushing the case where they want it to go, Papiana and Gilbough’s continued presence seems to ask the question: Is this an interview, or an interrogation?

The questions pertaining to the purpose of Hart and Cohle’s interviews – i.e., what end they actually serve and whether or not the intent is as upfront as the interviewees would believe – have been clouded to a certain degree. As a result, the doubt generated by Hart and Cohle in 2012 begins to retroactively creep into the 1995 storyline, proving Rust’s words – “nothing is ever over” – to be true.

At this point, the early success of the show seems predicated on the fact that there are two big stars in the lead roles, but after the last two episodes explored those characters in a way that’s normally unheard of this early in the run of a show that’s ostensibly about solving a woman’s murder, it would seem True Detective has demonstrated its star power isn’t the only incentive for the audience to watch.


True Detective will be taking next week off, and will return with ‘Who Goes There,’ on Sunday, February 9 @9pm on HBO.

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  1. best episode yet, this show was slow at first but the strong character development & semi-narrative-style plot is one of the best i have ever seen for a drama show, cant wait til the next episode. this is a must watch show!!!

  2. Does anyone know where I can buy each episode? I can’t find it on iTunes =/.

      • Thanks bud!

  3. Things I’ve learned about most cops and cop types from tv: all of their marriages are troubled and/or they always cheat. Tired of this cliche and kind of has been done to death. Would rather they focus on the investigation and murder plot. Show still has the stereotypical HBO elements. I dig the atmosphere and the setting though.

  4. Intrigued me from the moment HBO very purposefully gave the first four episodes for critical appraisal. Suggested purpose, that there is a mid-season flip. The masterful construction of the last five minutes verified that initial conclusion and the wait until episode four of this remarkable character study (the actual case here is completely secondary now) is going to be utterly torturous.

    Indeed, the two week break backs up my theory even more. There is little victory in this though as I loathe it when American TV continuously kills momentum. Especially after that last shot…

  5. As the reviewer said this episode expanded on Hart’s family issues more and his own hubris when it comes to women and whatever it is that he needs to feed by as he put it “loving two women”. It shows how both men are addictive and self-destructive in their own way and how that may have shaped the murder investigation they were involved in years ago. Despite their ideological differences on the surface, Hart seems to step back while Cohle plays worse cop to his bad cop and we see how he looks the other way or steps away when Cohle resorts to his more hardcore tactics.

    It is again more apparent during the current interview of Hart that he is always trying to deflect the focus away from him when talking about their partnership and the case, but the viewer gets to see his misdeeds play out during the flashbacks which starts to create doubts as to who is on the level or if they both have something to hide.

    I also thought it was clever that Cohle realizes Papiana and Gilbough are interrogating him and how they left the case folder for him to look at to get him talk about the old case and possibly get him to give some more information.

    • This show isn’t just entertainment it’s art. Maybe your just too slow to get it.

    • Evan stick to the Disney Channel ole son, the plots are so much easier to comprehend.

  6. Really liked all of Coles comments at the bible thumber tent.

    That and “don’t mow my lawn,” bit had me laughing.

  7. I love this show. This show reminds me so much of The Wire, both the case and the personal lives of the main lead drives a slow-burn story with quality writing.

  8. This show and Alexandra Daddario’s boobs are the best things I’ve seen all year.

  9. I love this show. This shows art reminds me of Hannibal in which the cinematography is just soo well done. This show is truely a work of art. Unfortunately I have a feeling it won’t get the viewership that it deserves like a GOT. I love this show and just hope it continues to expand

  10. This is the first time in my life that I’ve ever been upset about an upcoming Super Bowl.
    There’s no question that I’ll watch and I’m extremely excited for the game but I’m not happy about waiting 2 weeks for another episode of True Detective.

  11. I am really impressed so far with this show and especially Matthew McConaughey’s performance. I love the character and his writing.

  12. I’m calling it now: True Detective is the best show of 2014.

    I haven’t been this wowed by a tv show in ages—and that’s saying a lot, given how many great shows have been on in the last few years.

  13. Harrelson is excellent but McConaughey having the much more nuanced character is downright brilliant

  14. I laughed hard at the whole “don’t mow my lawn” bit. All I could see was Woody in Kingpin saying that same line! LOL

  15. all i know is i’ve NEVER in my life joined a tv series…uh…fan club? i’m NOT being flip. (well, i am, but not in a bad way, k?) this tv show blows my mind and i’m freaking myself out by my fascination with it.

    a lot of things (technical/emotional/spiritual) PULL ME IN so i can’t pick ONE aspect that’s got me hog. tied.

    watching this is as close to reading a book (if that EVEN makes sense), as i can get (without reading a book)…which is so gratifying and high fiber for ‘entertainment’…but don’t get me wrong…this is aerobic entertainment as all of my senses are ‘at work’ while i watch it.

    bravo! (hah! not exactly…:)

    peace and rant,