'True Detective' Review: "Who Goes There"

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Following last week's emergence of a prime suspect in the Dora Lange case, this week's all-new episode of 'True Detective' finds Hart and Cohle tracking down leads to find their man -- presumably the creepy and mysterious gas mask-wearing man we saw walking through the field at the end of last week's episode. Read on for our full review of "Who Goes There."

At least Marty gets in a zing tonight as he tells Dora's ex-husband Charlie, "Gotta be tough sittin' in here, havin' someone talk insane stuff in your ear," looking deliberately at Rust. It's the one personal victory he gets this week. While Rust and Marty are tracking a lead to their suspect, Reginald Ledoux, Lisa's spilled the beans to Marty's wife and he's been kicked to the curb.

Early on in tonight's episode, Rust tells Charlie to cool it with the theatrics during their interrogation, and when Lisa confronts Marty, he gives her a similar directive -- we live our lives as performance, with every action and reaction built to outwardly express and reinforce the people we hope others will perceive us to be. There was some of this last week, the idea that much of the way Marty behaves is an overcompensation; that he is merely asserting himself as the man he wishes he was while repressing the man he hates that he is. Tonight it blows up in his face -- we watch him lash out, blaming Lisa, blaming his wife, blaming Rust; blaming everyone but himself for his marriage disintegrating. If only Lisa hadn't tattled, if only his wife had forgiven him and been more understanding and less of a shrew, if only Rust would be his sympathetic bro. He has the nerve to call Lisa a whore. And man, Marty is such a stereotypical aggressive alpha male -- territorial and philandering, painting a mirage of a white picket fence.

And even Rust is acting tonight, going totally method when he calls upon an old undercover connection to go deep in with a biker gang who uses Ledoux as their exclusive drug cook. It's so easy for Rust to take a few sips from his little pint of booze, and before you know it he's rationalizing cocaine up his nose as a viable cover to exchange one drug for another in an effort to make contact with Ledoux. This makes Rust not much better than Marty, who similarly rationalizes his immoral behavior away as an imperative, as something that keeps him sane enough from really going off the rails. And up until now, if you had compared the two, Rust might have been the better guy by a hair, but by episode's end, he's drugged out of his mind and agreed to go neck-deep on a robbery with an old pal. Judging by his earlier (and insanely lengthy!) description of what a cartel does to someone when they want them dead, it seems like Rust has a death wish.

Like Rust, "Who Goes There" goes off the rails a bit tonight, devolving into a totally different kind of show -- not that this is entirely a bad thing. There's this dark, frenetic energy to the back half, and if there's one complaint it's that Marty gets short-changed a bit and that by the end of the episode we still don't have our guy ... which dashes my hopes that Rust and Marty are going to be teaming up in present day any time soon. McConaughey is on fire tonight, though, totally ruling the episode from beginning to end. The good news is that the preview for next week indicates that we're back to business as usual in Louisiana (in 'True Detective' fashion, anyway), and that our guys will definitely be sitting down for a chat with Mr. Ledoux.

Filed Under: HBO, True Detective
Categories: TV News, TV Reviews
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