With the new Season of True Detective hitting HBO at the end of January, we’re taking a look back at the series thus far. Today we continue with Season 1, Episode 5, “The Secret Fate of All Life.”
The first season of True Detective follows Rustin “Rust” Cohle (Matthew McConaughey) and Martin “Marty” Hart (Woody Harrelson). Two detectives for the Louisiana State Police Criminal Investigations Division. In 1995 they begin working on the case revolving around the murder of Dora Lange. She was found naked, posed to kneel at the base of a tree, with a crown of antlers on her head. In 2012 the former detectives are now being interviewed by current detectives Papania (Tory Kittles) and Gilbough (Michael Potts) looking back at the case after another body was found matching similar details to Dora Lange. The question that lingers now, “How could it be him, if we already caught him in ‘95. How indeed detectives?”
This episode essentially wraps things up for the 1995 storyline and we begin to see how everything led to 2012. While being interviewed by Papania and Gilbough both Rust and Marty give them the same story they’ve told everyone for years. They received a lead on Ledoux (Charles Halford), their lead suspect, and went to his compound. They get past traps thanks to Rust’s skills, and Ledoux begins firing a stream of bullets in their direction. Marty circles around and shoots Ledoux in the head. Dewall (Ólafur Darri Ólafsson), Ledoux’s partner, tries to get away and is blown up by one of the traps. They go inside and find two kids, a boy who is already dead, and a girl who is in a catatonic state. They’re commended for their work, and given medals and are considered heroes. The story in ’95 essentially ends there. Except that’s not the real story.
After escaping from the botched robbery with Ginger (Joseph Sikora), Rust and Ginger meet with Dewall and Rust asks to meet with Ledoux. Dewall shuts it down and Marty tails him back to Ledoux’s compound. Rust catches up and they sneak in. Marty searches around the inside of the house, with Rust checks outside. Marty finds Ledoux and brings him outside at gun point. He continues searching the site, while Rust watches Ledoux. Dewall exits a storage container, and Rust tries to hold. When Marty finds the two kids he comes outside, filled with rage and shoots Ledoux point blank in the head. Dewall runs off and explodes in his own trap. Rust begins covering their tracks, by shooting in the direction they came, crafting the fake story. They take the two kids out and the case is closed for now.
Marty ends up reconciling with Maggie (Michelle Monaghan) afterwards, thanks to the case ending and him being called a hero. Rust becomes more accepted by their colleagues and things begin to go well for the detectives. Their careers flourish as detectives. Rust starts seeing someone. Marty and Maggie are happy together. But then in 2002 Rust is pulled in to help with an interrogation. The guy tries to get Rust to give him a deal saying they never caught Dora Lange’s real killer. Rust tries to blow it off, only for the guy to mention the “yellow king.” A detail that was never once brought up to the public. Something no one should know about.
Rust loses it and realizes this guy has something. He’s pulled out but goes to see the suspect the next day, only to find he killed himself after being pulled out of his cell for a phone call. A phone call from a payphone in the middle of nowhere. Rust knows this case isn’t over and heads back to the school, Light of Way, that they went to when they first got the call about Ledoux. When the case essentially went off track. He finds tons of Devil’s Nests inside the school, a sign that there’s so much more here.
As the story of 1995 ends with the killing of Ledoux, Gilbough and Papania begin questioning Marty and Rust about Rust. Implying that he may have had something to do with the killings. That he’s how they were able to tie it all together back then. Rust storms out of the interview, but Marty seems uncertain about things.
“Time is a flat circle.”
The show thus far has lingered on the question of what happened in 1995. How did they get so close to the truth, and lose it. What made them think they could close this case. And we finally get our answer now, and finally understand why Rust has become what he has. Someone who looks torn apart after years and years of working on this dark and horrifying case. He’s known for ten years that they didn’t get it right, that they messed up, and they have a duty to go back, and solve this. But for some reason nothing has happened as of yet. Something happened in 2002 to tear Rust and Marty apart, and keep Rust from truly finishing the case. So what happened, and who is the real killer? Those are the questions moving forward. And once again we’re on the edge of our seat, nervous with anticipation.
The first season of True Detective is currently available on HBO Now, HBO Go, and HBO on Demand. Check back with us tomorrow when we dive into the sixth episode of True Detective Season 1, “Haunted Houses.”