‘True Detective’ : A Man Remembers His Debts

Published 7 months ago by

Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey in True Detective Season 1 Episode 7 True Detective : A Man Remembers His Debts

[This is a review of True Detective season 1, episode 7. There will be SPOILERS.]

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As True Detective inches closer to next week’s intriguingly titled season finale, ‘Form and Void,’ the series has to answer several questions pertinent to its own mystery without leaning too far into the climax that there’s nothing left to go out on. Of course, if the rampant Internet speculation is any indication, the sudden but not entirely unexpected rise of the Cthulhu should serve as the pinnacle to all the literary Easter eggs, existential dreariness, and quasi-philosophical underpinnings that’ve been snaked their way through these initial seven chapters of HBO’s highly-rated cop drama.

While the appearance of a fictional cosmic deity would convincingly announce True Detective as anything other than a police drama about obsession and change – or, rather the dilemma of remaining a fixed individual in a world that is constantly shifting, transforming, and, most troublingly, changing the rules – the likelihood of that happening is (thankfully) looking slim to nil, as Rust and Marty close in on the answers to the questions they initially went looking for back in 1995.

For all it has going on, and all the questions it leaves open before the finale, ‘After You’ve Gone’ tells the audience two persuasive, and perhaps unexpected things, 1) Despite their differences as detectives – and the fact that they’ve never much liked one another – Rust and Marty make a fine team, and 2) Carcosa, in this instance, may or may not be something tangible, but when it’s brought up to a somewhat senile old woman with ties to the Tuttle family, the topic drives her into near-hysterics, uttering Cohle-isms like “him who eats time” and “death is not the end.” Questions of the woman having lost her sanity versus the devastating neurological effects of time keep things on a hypothetical bent (Carcosa included), but it’s still enough to generate a chilling reminder of what’s left for the former detectives to uncover. The woman’s reaction may simply be senility, but along with her former proximity to the Tuttles, her rational difficulty could be read as a warning to the investigators to take heed and avoid coming down with a similar madness – the kind caused by having seen too much.

Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson in True Detective Season 1 Episode 7 True Detective : A Man Remembers His Debts

Of course, it’s the “death is not the end” line, which fills Rust with all sorts of existential dread. As the episode rolls along, it becomes more and more clear that this mission he’s dragged Marty back into will almost certainly be his (and his partner’s) last. Pizzolatto sets “the end” up by having Marty pay Maggie a visit that quickly summarizes the utter completeness of their separation that’s later punctuated by Maggie asking her former husband, “Did you come here to say goodbye?”

With that question hanging over the proceedings, ‘After You’ve Gone’ essentially serves as an enormous info dump, bringing the audience up to date on how Cohle dropped off the grid for nearly a decade, and how he came to possess damning evidence of what Billy Lee Tuttle was involved in. It is the kind of info dump that not only sets up the finale, but it also helps confirm the audiences’ preconceptions about the protagonists of True Detective, in that it appears to substantiate the notion that Rust and Marty are who they say they are: Detectives with the misfortune landing a life-altering case that, on the face of it, proves the oft heard notion that whatever they have done or will do, they will do over and over again.

And speaking of faces, it seems the man with the facial scars was within Rust’s grasp back at the school he was called away from near the end of ‘The Locked Room’; the same school he later re-investigated and found was full of devil’s traps and imagery tied to the murders he’s been revisiting for almost two decades. If time really is a flat circle, then there just might be some familiar surprises in store for Rust and Marty come next week’s finale.

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True Detective will conclude season 1 next Sunday with ‘Form and Void’ @9pm on HBO. Check out a preview below:

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  1. This was the first time that I’ve thought the series would benefit from another episode.
    Being the 7th in an 8 episode season a lot of ground had to be covered and I have to admit that at times I was struggling to keep up.

    Until now I never really thought about either Hart or Chole dying at the end of the season but I’m starting to think that it may happen.
    What’s really depressing though is that at this point in their lives I don’t think either character would mind it. They’ve lived through and seen so much that their lives are already shattered but as we draw closer to the finale it seems as though they haven’t seen anything yet.

    • i’m hoping for a concluding hour that leaves my jaw nailed to the floor, but after last night’s episode i’m not emotionally investing myself in that. good enough will be good enough.

      the first six episodes were such high-quality television that Pizzolatto & company have more than earned my good faith for the last two. episodes 3,4 & 5 were positively genius. the last time i felt so viscerally involved in what i was seeing was during the opening of “Saving Private Ryan” – three hours of miraculous television.

      i think if “True Detective” suffers from anything it’s an embarrassment of early riches. those first six episodes were so good & so complex & so deep & so technically rich that we got a little spoiled. the wheels could come off completely in the final episode & i probably still wouldn’t want it to end.

  2. Hart and Cole will both live. Go back and watch the first eps. The very first scene will be the last scene in next week’s season finale. Both men will burn this place to the damn ground. And escape into the darkness.

    • Good call on that scene…
      My memory is terrible so I always forget details like that.
      You’re right, they apparently burn it all down but right before the match is lit it does look like one of them (Chole) is carrying the other (Hart) and he seems wounded.

    • Hmm not sure. When Hart and Cohle first arrive at the scene the cop says the field wasn’t scheduled for a burn, which implies that first scene is (one of)the killer(s) carrying the body for setting up the tableaux, then torching it, but then again the scene doesn’t look like it’s burnt much at all….and anyway why would they destroy their own little “show”? Either way, it looks like its just a burning field, not a house or anything. If it is H&C, then at least one of them looks in a bad way. Man I cant wait to find out.

  3. I totally agree with trying to keep up, Im still reeling from the last 10 minutes of the episode 3 weeks ago

  4. I would gander to say that Rust is probably going to die considering Matthew McConaughey isnt returning for season 2

    • I honestly don’t think anyone is returning. HBO has stated that each season would be a different story with different characters all along.

  5. each season is a story in it’s own. it shouldn’t be a surprise that McConaughey isn’t coming back. It’s going to be a case like American Horror Story where each season ties up cleanly at the end.

  6. I don’t think it bodes well for the two. What they’re up against…

    1. The powers that be have direct influence in the police force & other authorities/jurisdictions

    2. According to Rust they were able to silence the popular Reverend Tuttle, governors brother by making his death appear a drug overdose. If they can kill an individual of that status with ease what chance do these too guys have ?

    3. They’ve crossed the point of no return by forcibly confining at gunpoint the sheriff. They can’t let him live either.

    4. They’re already trying to silence Rust by implicating him in another case & he’s being actively investigated by the two detectives.

  7. The guy on the lawnmower being revealed as the man with the scars played well based on what Marty said in the beginning. The detectives curse is that the answer is right in front of them. Even the other two detectives looked right past that guy when he was talking to them. Best hiding place is right out in the open, and clearly nobody looked twice at a lowly landscaper riding around from parish to parish on lawnmower.

  8. I think Rust will not make it in the finale, while Marty will. Maggie showing concern for her ex, especially by seeking out Rust, makes me think that events will take place where Rust will sacrifice himself to save his partner. Rust just seems as though he would not have a problem meeting his maker, perhaps feeling death would enable him to once again join his deceased daughter. However things turn out, this was one heck of a series, kudos to all involved !