TRUE DETECTIVE Recap: “Who Goes There”

     February 9, 2014


In its fourth episode, True Detective showed a whole new side to itself.  Not only was the rhythm of the episode frantic instead of languid, but both Martin and Rust were in extreme turmoil.  And, for the first time, Rust lied to the police in the present time frame, to coverup his whereabouts in a drug raid that turned, as he suspected, “into Mogadishu.”  True Detective amped itself up for another hour of mesmerizing and heart-pounding television, the likes of which really haven’t been since — dare I say it? Breaking Bad.  Hit the jump for why “you are the Michael Jordan of being a son of a bitch.”

true-detective-posterYou know what doesn’t get proper respect?  Sound editing.  What made “Who Goes There” so rhythmic and hypnotic was excellent sound editing.  While the directing and writing were, of course, A+ as always, the sound really went above and beyond.  Rust’s adventures into the biker underworld were pulsated by his massive intake of drugs.  True Detective has shown us before that its able to find creative ways to illustrate the influence of drinking, but the muted bass of blasting stereos, the ringing after gunfire, even Rust’s mumbling during the initial stages of the heist were astonishing in their ability to transport us directly into his experience.

For the rest of it, this episode was a turning point.  After three weeks of routine police work, “Who Goes There” shot every plot full of adrenaline.  Martin’s marriage falls apart in short order, and he was devastating in his response to Maggie’s letter, and the fallout later at the hospital.  Here, the two men start to need each other: Rust rescues Martin from the hospital and making a bad situation worse with Maggie, while Martin acts as the getaway car for Rust after the drug raid went bad.  All off the books.  And now we are starting to see why there might be an investigation into their methods regarding this crime.

Though the first half of the episode focused on Martin, and seemed to be his hour, the back half was all Rust.  Both arcs this week illuminated things about their characters, but Martin’s idiocy and infidelity are hard to compare with Rust’s infinite layers of backstory and resourcefulness.  Reggie Ledoux is out there, without friends or family, cooking for a motorcycle gang.  Next week, it looks like he and Rust come face to face.  But we’re only halfway through the season — it’s practically unfathomable that there is still so much story to tell when so much happened.

true-detective-who-goes-there-tory-kittles“Who Goes There” was an extraordinary hour from start to finish, but time has to be spent discussing the sequences from the drug raid on.  Everything was chaos, everything was wrong, and then it all fell apart.  Everywhere Rust looked and headed, there were people gearing up to kill him without a moment’s hesitation.  The camerawork here was also exceptional — it was like being in an episode of Cops: Mogadishu.  Knowing, obviously, that Rust survives the encounter wasn’t even part of the equation of thought for those few minutes.  We were caught up in a walking nightmare in a war zone.  The final shot from the air of the insanity on the ground was the first tease at how completely out of control this investigation has already gotten.  Where else will it escalate to from here?

Another fine installment to a fantastic series.  I couldn’t pinpoint a single flaw.

Episode Rating: A+

Musings and Miscellanea:

— This was the first week I watched without a screener, meaning it’s the first time I saw the opening credits.  The southern gothic imagery reminded me a lot of True Blood, is it the same production house?

— “That must be hard, living with someone spouting insane shit in your ear all day long” – Martin, throwing shade at Rust by proxy.

— Rust, and then Martin, staring at the bit on the wall was hilarious.  The are the oddest of odd couples.

true-detective-matthew-mcconaughey-woody-harrelson— “Kiss me I’m an asshole” – T-shirt.

— When Martin got out of the car at the biker bar, did anyone else say, “don’t you fucking do it!!” to the TV? I did that the entire time he was skulking around there like a lost trucker.

— Rust, always the sunny personality, describing how the cartel would cut your face off, and make you watch as they stuffed your castrated genitals into your mouth.

— It was a nice juxtaposition to have Rust talking about a trip to see his father, to cover up for the undercover work (sampling cocaine, and then stealing it) and the drug raid.  Next week it looks like Martin starts to bristle at them working the Rust angle so hard … but is it a red herring? (All things are possible at this point).

— “You can’t spot crazy pussy?” – Rust.

— The bikers looked more Duck Dynasty than SAMCRO, but the fail of that raid was pure Sons of Anarchy.

— “We hit trouble, you’re just going to fuck it in the ass” – Biker.

— “There is no pageant to perform, your disappointment is irrelevant” – Martin to Lisa, and an example of some of the great dialogue.

— I think Rust is right that Maggie could forgive Martin.  We’ll see.

— “I will skull fuck you, you bitch” — Martin to Lisa.