TV Review: True Detective Episode 7: After You've Gone (SPOILERS)
Episode Synopsis: A reunited Hart (Woody Harrelson) and Cohle (Matthew McConaughey) resume their investigation into the events surrounding the Dora Lange murder, discovering a conspiracy that goes further than either man could have imagined.
REVIEW: After last week's episode ended with Hart and Cohle finally reuniting under tense circumstances, this installment (the second-to-last of the season) opens with the two men sharing a beer in a dingy roadhouse bar. While Hart initially just wants to leave the Lange case alone, it's clear that he knows Cohle is innocent of whatever Gilbough (Michael Potts) and Papania (Tory Kittles) think he's done, and soon he agrees to join Cohle's rogue investigation.
More than any other episode this season, “After You've Gone” seems to be about Hart's evolution, with time having clearly taking a little of the spring out of his step, with it revealed that his P.I firm is floundering, and that he spends his nights alone eating TV dinners and trolling dating sites, desperate to make a connection. We also learn that it wasn't his philandering or bullying that led to him leaving the force, but rather a traumatic experience where he found the microwaved baby of a strung-out tweaker. Clearly, he's a much different man than the one we saw in 2002, and it's heartening to see how quick Cohle is able to win him over, telling him that both of them – in their own way – are responsible for whatever murders happened since they executed Reggie Ledoux in 1995.
There's so much to love about this episode, with Harrelson's acting being a highlight here, giving him his strongest episode of the season. Meanwhile, more light is shed on Cohle's current mindset, with him freely admitting that he plans to kill himself once they've taken apart the cult of killers related to the LeDoux, Tuttle, and Childress family. One especially important scene features Hart and Cohle questioning Sam Tuttle's old maid, who snaps the second Cohle shows her photos and drawings of the talisman sculptures left behind at the killings.
The show wraps up with Hart and Cohle kidnapping their former colleague, detective-turned-sheriff Steve Geraci. After Hart's quiet – but failed – attempts at interrogation over a friendly game of golf, Hart lures him onto a boat where a gun wielding Cohle shows up threatening him with jumper cables and a car battery. With Geraci promising them that he'll have “a boss cracker splitting their asses open in Angola” one can assume things won't end well for the two, but each seems resigned to their fate. As for Maggie, she mostly sits the episode out, only appearing twice. Despite having remarried, she still clearly has feelings for Hart, begging Cohle not to let him get hurt, although both men getting hurt or killed by the time the season is over seems likely.
The last scene of the episode is particularly important, with Gilbough and Papania doing some investigating of their own, which brings them to Errol the lawnmower man, whose resemblance to the drawn-out spaghetti monster was noted by many fans a few episodes ago. With the final shot revealing scars below his mouth, which is the feature all of the survivors of Tuttle's schools remember, it's clear Errol is the man they're looking for. Whether he's the head of this cabal of paedophiles and killers has yet to be revealed, but with only one more episode to go, one wonders if the case will be wrapped up by the end of the season. With neither Harrelson or McConaughey back next year, will our next batch of detectives be working the same case? I'm starting to think yes, although given how wrong I was about Hart (up until this week's episode I was sure he was involved in the conspiracy) I may be wrong again. Nevertheless, this was another amazing episode.
And, here's a preview of the finale. Do we really have to wait a week?