'True Detective' Episode 2 Review: 'Seeing Things'


The signature moment from the second episode of HBO’s “True Detective” was a flock of crows (I imagine they were crows because HBO has many deals with crow teamsters for all of their work on “Game of Thrones”) swirling in the sky behind Detective Cohle. They moved with such purpose, almost as if there were an unseen predator below the grass. In a brief moment the flock shifts and the birds take on the shape of the pagan symbol left on Dora Lange’s back. The vision was only one of many in the episode, titled “Seeing Things”. We saw Cohle’s devotion to the case deepen, and how Detective Hart isn’t all that Norman Rockwell after all.

After the first episode Harrelson’s Detective Hart appeared to be living the American dream. That illusion was shattered this week. Hart’s been having an affair with a woman who apparently doesn’t own any bras, and boy does he love her. Kudos to this actress who plays the sans bra girl in so many different shows. Hart tells the Detectives in 2013 that every man needs a proper release now and then. He likes to take the high road when he’s working with Cohle, but in reality he’s just as duplicitous as some of the criminals he’s hunting. Hart’s even not above yelling at his wife when she questions his recent time away.

Meanwhile we learn that Cohle’s been suffering from visions while on the case for Dora’s killer. Could the Detective Cohle of 2013 be such a heavy alcoholic again because it keeps these visions at bay? He told the interviewing team that when he’s not working, he’s drinking. We saw a few of his intense visions this episode. As the case deepens they will only get worse. The major lead in the case this week was finding Dora’s diary. In it she discusses someone called “The King of Yellow”. Also inside the diary they find a yellow flier for a church meeting.

The best one on one scene between Hart and Cohle was the near fight in the locker room. Cohle advised Hart to wash up because the smell of sex was on him, and not the smell of his wife. Hart shoved Cohle up against the lockers, but the physical fight went no further. In that one moment the mantle of white knight for the show was passed from Hart to Cohle. We know that the case was “solved”, but the murders continued to go on. In 2013 Cohle is in rough shape, while Hart seems secure. There was tremendous political pressure to solve the case. Did Hart manufacture a suspect to please the powers that be? Did that lie cause the riff between the two Detectives?

The show ended with an investigation of the church mentioned in Dora Lange’s diary. The church was a burned husk of a building. The roof is just black ribs of wood. On the wall of the leftover building is a disturbing mural of a woman with a crown of antlers. A big connection for the investigation, but once again this isn’t a show about partial fingerprints or DNA. Leave that to the pros at CBS.

“True Detective” just isn’t concerned with solving crime. There is much more meaning in solving Hart and Cohle. As the show progresses the real drama is not in finding the killer, but in the choices made by the two Detectives. Something completely destroyed the soul of Detective Cohle, but we’ve yet to discover the true culprit.

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Tags: HBO Recap True Detective

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