'True Detective' Recap: Is Cohle Crazy or Just Really Good at His Job?
'True Detective' Recap: Is Cohle Crazy or Just Really Good at His Job?
Christine Petralia
Christine Petralia
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
The second episode of True Detective definitely gets down to business, though it takes a little while to get there. We learn more about why Rust Cohle is the way he is, even getting information on those sealed-up files on him. We also learn that straight Detective Martin Hart isn't so straight, as he has a distorted view of what it means to be a family man. And we also get a little more into the case of who killed Dora Lange.

This Reads Like a Fantasy

This week's episode starts off with the pair telling Dora's mother about her death. The mother, a little crazy herself, doesn't offer much insight, but does mention a church Dora recently started going to. The next person they interview, a friend of Dora's, mentions the same information.

While Cohle is off getting his Quaaludes from his favorite prostitute from the first episode, Hart is off with his mistress, which again they alluded to in the premiere. Cohle gets information from his prostitute informant about a bunny ranch where Dora may have been, while all Hart gets is a good time and a lecture from Cohle. The two agree to disagree and head off in search of the bunny ranch, where Cohle uses a little police brutality to get information on where it's located. At the ranch, which the madam implies is okay by the sheriff, they meet a young woman who knew Dora and gives them her diary. Again, they learn that Dora was spending time at a church.

Inside the diary, they find a flier for "Friends of Christ Revival," a Jesus-saving organization. Before they set off to find this church, at the precinct they learn that the governor has set up a task force to investigate crimes with occult nature. Cohle mouths off and gets a lecture from their boss. However, their boss agrees to give them two more weeks to solve the case before it's taken from them. While at the location of what was once this church group, now a burned-down chapel, they find a painting on the wall of a woman with antlers -- the same way Dora was posed.

A Little More About Cohle and Hart

In between the storytelling of the Lange investigation, we get bits and pieces on Cohle and Hart's past. Cohle explains that his marriage of three years fell apart after his daughter died at the age of two. He spiraled out of control, and spent time working in HIDTA (High-Intensity Drug Traffic Area) as an undercover agent, where he actually killed people. After one incident, he then spent time in a psych ward to which he was then transferred to homicide in Louisiana, where he was paired with Hart. He also explains that he used to hallucinate -- sometimes on the job -- which attracts the attention of the present day investigators.

Hart, on the other hand, is just a flat-out jerk, for lack of a better term. He explains to the present day investigators that sometimes he needed a little release before he headed home to his wife and children, basically saying his affair was only helping improve his home life. "It's for the good of the family," he says. However, his home life isn't great no matter how many women he sleeps with on the side. It seems he often fights with his wife about how many hours he spends on the job and how he doesn't have time for the kids. My take: his wife was on to him.

As the second of only eight episodes of True Detective, I think the plot moved along pretty nicely. We got to see a lot more of the Lange investigation, while getting insight on Cohle and Hart. I find it interesting that the present day investigators are very hard-up on Hart's take on Cohle, while they never ask Cohle questions about Hart. They are also very interested in Cohle's past, almost implying he might be involved somehow in either the Lange case or the present day case, which they mentioned in the first episode, but not this one. Hart also mentions something about a "big throw-down in the woods." I am wondering what that is.

I really love Cohle's character. It's almost as if he's crazy, but he speaks the truth most of the time. I love the line, "Sometimes I think I'm losing it, but maybe I'm just mainlining the secret truth of the universe." As he says this line, the shot is of Cohle and Hart finding the painting on the church wall. Pure genius.

I am curious to find out who did kill Dora and if all of Cohle's craziness pans out. I do feel as if the two are in over their heads with this case, as evidenced by some dead-end leads, which frustrates their boss. But I think that's what makes True Detective a unique show. Not everything is cut and dry and solve a case in three days, as it is on every other crime drama out there.

True Detective airs Sunday nights at 9pm on HBO.

(Image courtesy of HBO)

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