TV Review: True Detective: Episode 6: Haunted Houses (SPOILERS)
Episode Synopsis: Gilbough (Michael Potts) and Papania (Tory Kittles) bring in Maggie (Michelle Monaghan) to give them some perspective on why Cohle (Matthew McConaughey) and Hart's (Woody Harrelson) partnership came to an abrupt end in 2002.
REVIEW: The ending of the sixth episode of TRUE DETECTIVE marks a major change in the way the story is being told. While most of the episode is done in the traditional TRUE DETECTVE format, inter-cutting present day interviews by Gilbough and Papania with flashbacks, the finale suggests that the next two episodes will unfold in a much different way.
Before the major break, which sees the long awaited present-day reunion of Cohle and Hart, most of the episode is devoted to showing how their once-promising partnership was smashed. While one might assume Cohle's devotion to the Lange case, or Hart's bullying might have been the key, rather it turns out that Maggie was the key. With Cohle now firmly named as Gilbough and Papania's prime suspect, Maggie is brought in to fill in a few gaps. Like the other two, Maggie lies through her teeth, a fact the new detectives may or may not be aware of. We see that Maggie, having learned of Hart's ongoing philandering, decided to get some payback by recklessly seducing a drunken Cohle. Maggie, who up to now has been almost saintly in her patience, shows a surprisingly heartless side by taking advantage of the fact that Cohle clearly has feelings for her, leaving him enraged once it occurs to him how he's been used.
Otherwise, many gaps in the Lange case are filled, with Cohle's investigation bringing him into contact with many ghosts from the past, including a now dissolute Joel Theriot (Shea Whigham). While he initially seemed like a red-herring, the drunken, remorseful Theriot tells Cohle about how the charter schools run by the Reverend Tuttle (Jay O. Sanders) were ridden with sexual abuse, and that his attempting to expose this led to his downfall. Meanwhile, Cohle's long-awaited confrontation with Tuttle pays off, with it having a dark musical underscore (by the always awesome T Bone Burnett) that suggests his hidden sinister nature.
Last week's big revelation, that Cohle was the prime suspect in a new rash of slayings, is explored further here, although it's clear that Cohle is innocent (from the viewer's perspective) and being set up by some sinister machinery that hasn't been revealed yet. It would be easy to say Tuttle's behind all this, but it's revealed that Tuttle died several years ago of a drug overdose, with it being heavily suggested that Cohle was involved somehow. What's really clear this episode is that Cohle seems to know exactly who's behind the murders and abductions, and is settling scores on his own. The fact that he approaches Hart at the end of the episode suggests two possibilities. One is that somehow Hart is involved, or two, that he needs Hart's help in making things right. Either way, Hart knows something is up, with him loading is revolver after agreeing to meet Cohle for a beer.
I'm still not sure whether or not Hart is somehow involved with the killings, and it feels like show-runner Nic Pizzolatto is about to drop a major bomb on us. One thing's for sure, Hart's philandering is still going on, with him tracking down and seducing Beth (Lili Simmons) a formerly underage prostitute he encountered in '95. Now working a legit retail job, she's more than willing to allow Hart to get his rocks off, and as always, Hart is insanely reckless in his choice of mistress. His cruel streak is also on full display, with him severely beating the two teenaged boys found with his daughter at the end of last week's episode, and I'm sure it'll soon be revealed why in 2013, Hart's no longer on the force. At this point, it's anyone's guess as to whether his wandering eye or his ferocious temper led to his downfall. Either seems like a strong possibility.
Like last week's episode, this installment of TRUE DETECTIVE has a sinister vibe that suggests things are going to unravel in a really unconventional and disturbing way before the season is over. All in all, this is another utterly absorbing sixty minutes, with the knock-out brawl betwen Cohle and Hart being (arguably) the episode's highlight. I'd wager that in six hours of TV, TRUE DETECTIVE hasn't made a single misstep, and Pizzolatto and director Cary Fukunaga are ramping up the tension for the last couple of episodes something fierce. Is it Sunday yet???