True Detective: The Best and Worst of “Seeing Things”

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Best: Additional Insight into Both Detectives

Holy cow. Matthew McConaughey’s performance really is incredible. It’s only been two episodes but I’d already put Rust Cohle on a list of the best fictional detectives. In “Seeing Things” we discover so much about Rustin, his past, and why he’s such a great detective. Cohle used to work in drug trafficking undercover and as a result often as flashbacks (resulting in a great sequence with a lightshow while he drove.) He believes that he is too toxic to be around people. (“I’m not good for people. It’s not good for them to be around me. I wear them down. They get unhappy.”) Cohle is the type of detective who will continue his investigation long after he’s clocked out.

Meanwhile, Martin Hart is the sort of man who believes his own bullshit. (About his affair: “It’s for your wife and kids too. You have to take your release where you can find it…In the end it’s good for the family.”) He’s the sort of man who can have a beer with his buddies at the end of the day, laughing about old sex stories, even though he spent the day investigating a brutal sexual crime. Mostly, he’s the sort of man who can turn a conversation with his suspicious wife around on her own flaws. And Cohle is the only one who sees through his serious family man façade.

While Cohle is the sort of detective who bases his investigation on intuition, Hart builds upon facts and what he sees on the surface. They’re absolutely perfect for each other, even if they don’t realize it.

Worst: Very Little About the Case and Victim

I like that the show is mostly about these two complicated detectives, however the case itself feels unfocused. In two episodes, very little has been learned about the victim, Dory, and the crime. Dory worked as a prostitute and, we learn, was beginning to go to church. Since her murder was likely ritualistic, it could have to do with her church, but the detectives have yet talk to anybody who would have seen her in church. There hasn’t even been a single suspect yet. (Although there was mention that her father may have abused her, it’s likely that was just another sad fact in her terrible life.)

However, Cohle may have the best insight into Dory and her crime. He says, “She sounds sad. Like a torn up person on her last legs. She was just an easy target for him.”

Best: The Detectives Begin to Understand Each Other

The dinner scene from last week was the first step to building a strong partnership between the two. When Cohle reveals to Hart that his daughter (Sophia) was killed in a car accident, Hart finally begins to feel some sympathy for him. “There were things he needed that he couldn’t admit to,” Hart says of Cohle.

The scene where Cohle mentions that Hart was not with his wife the right before is another fantastic moment between the two. They have a bit of a stand off, with their arms wrapped around each other in the most violent way, while Cohle explains to a heated Hart that he knows what he’s been doing. It’s a scene like that that shows why their partnership is doomed to fail, even if they do start to understand each other.

Worst: Gratuitous Nudity

I have no problem with nudity on television. Nor do I dislike sex scenes. However, when Woody Harrelson is wearing a full outfit, pants and all, while a naked woman writhes on him, it feels exploitative. Would it hurt to have some equal opportunity nudity?

Best: This Speech from a Madam

“Girls walk this earth all the time, screwing for free. Why is it you add business to the mix and it’ll like you can’t stand the thought. It’s because suddenly you don’t own it like you thought you did.”

Other Musings:

  • This exchange was gold: Hart explains that his mom was the Donna Reed type. Hart: “Your mom still alive?” Cohle: “Maybe”
  •  Cohle: “I’m police. I can do terrible things to people with impunity.”
  • It’s definitely going to turn out that Cohle accidently ran over his daughter, isn’t it? How much suffering can one man go through?
  • Cohle fights with men to get to the next part of the investigation. Another reason why Cohle is the best.
  • Cohle spent four months in a psych ward. Seriously, what a hard life this guy has lived.

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