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 6, “Haunted Houses.”
The first season of True Detective follows Rustin “Rust” Cohle (Matthew McConaughey) and Martin “Marty” Hart (Woody Harrelson). Two former detectives for the Louisiana State Police Criminal Investigations Division, whose first big case was the murder of Dora Lange. The detectives killed Reggie Ledoux, their lead suspect in 1995, but as time went on it became clear this case may not be over. 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. If Reggie Ledoux isn’t the real killer, who was, and why haven’t they been caught after all this time?
With the realization that the Dora Lange case isn’t completely solved, Rust begins looking into old evidence, hoping to find new leads to help close the case once and for all. As Rust goes back to old witnesses and evidence he continues to be led to the Tuttle Family Foundation’s Christian Schools. He meets with the powerful Reverend Billy Lee Tuttle (Billy Lee Tuttle), asking for old files on one of the schools that was shutdown due to a scandal surrounding sexual abuse by members of the staff. Tuttle begins to realize that Rust is digging up things he doesn’t want to see brought into the light, and has Rust suspended.
While Rust is suspended, Marty is working on being a better husband and father. He’s cleaned up his act in the years since his affair in ’95. But he ends up cheating on Maggie (Michelle Monaghan) again, this time with a girl named Beth (Lili Simmons), whom he meets at a cell phone store, and later at a bar. It turns out Beth was the underage girl at the bunny ranch him and Rust went to during the Dora Lange investigation in ’95. Maggie ends up finding pictures of Beth on Marty’s phone and in retaliation decides to sleep with someone to hurt Marty enough to end everything. She goes to Rust’s place, where he’s drunk and still working the Dora Lange case. She has sex with Rust and he realizes it’s wrong and she’s using him and kicks him out.
Maggie tells Marty what happened and they fall apart. Rust goes to the office to get files for the Dora Lange case and him and Marty end up fighting. During the fight, Rust throws Marty against his truck and breaks a tail light. When it’s over, Rust ends up quitting and leaves, heading to Alaska for a few years.
Papania and Gilbough interview Maggie, to try to find more pieces to the puzzle. She commends Rust for being a good man. And though she knows every detail, she never explains to them why Rust and Marty fell out, and in the end no one ever gives them an answer. When they talk with Marty, they begin to place suspicion on Rust for the Dora Lange case, and any connected murders. He tells them it’s impossible it was Rust and ends up leaving. Afterwards Rust catches up to him, and they agree to get a beer and catch up for the first time in 10 years. As they pull away we see that Rust’s tail light on his truck is still broken.
“There is no such thing as forgiveness. People just have short memories.”
The biggest highlights of this episode are truly finding out what has happened in the past, and how everything got to where it is in 2012, and the quick moment at the end with Rust and Marty in 2012. So much has been leading to all of it, and from here everything begins to fall into place and wrap up. That being said, this is maybe one of the lesser episodes of the season. There’s something that’s missing when we’re not seeing Rust and Marty together, or the two of them reflecting on ’95. Especially Rust. That being said, the material and the way the show is crafted is always strong enough that even when it’s not at it’s best, the show is still phenomenal.
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 seventh episode of True Detective Season 1, “After You’ve Gone.”