“The police do terrible things to people, with impunity.” These are the words from Rust (McCoanughey) in episode two of the HBO series. That is probably the key to the whole thing.
If you have watched the show up to the last episode, coming Sunday, some of the things I’m about to write might make sense. Otherwise, they could be a spoiler depending on what it is you’re looking for. True Detective is not a typical television show where things happen that can get spoiled – unless you’re talking about episodes 4 and 5 where the filmmaking itself is so surprising knowing anything about it going in could be a spoiler. But I don’t think either of those episodes have much to do with how the story turns out.
All of the clues you need to figuring out the plot is is, according to writer/creator Nic Pizzolatto. After watching the episodes many times and going back to episode one there are a few things worth noting.
First, an overview of what I think it all means. My reading of True Detective does not bog down in the particulars, not the Yellow King or the books or any other distraction that adds to the mystery. I’m sure there will be plenty of time to dig into those particulars – there are many and they are all vague. They are open to interpretation. There is a lot of weird symbolism throughout each episode. But there are also broad themes.
Trust is, I think, a Christlike figure (pure atheist, however) who is above the law. He appears to have suffered the sins of humanity and it’s destroying him. The institutions of religion and law enforcement are hypocritical, corrupt, not to be trusted. His life has been plagued by murder and torture of innocents. He has little humanity left. He is an avenging angel here to bring justice to the perpetuators by going outside the law.
The show operates on narration. The narration is kind of key to figuring out how it will go — I THINK. This is hinted at in episode 5 where we see Rust and Hart telling a false story to the police while the action plays out. This action was — justice taken into their own hands, going above the law. Why would they be doing this? Well, because the law is likely involved. We find this out in episode one and in episode 7 when the cop (Tate) is arrested. IN episode 1, Tate has deer heads with antlers mounted on his wall. It seems to be obvious to think there is a correlation but there likely is one.
Hart represents, I think, human foibles. He isn’t morally pure as Rust is. He lies and takes advantage of women. He blames everyone else for his misery. He is nowhere near as smart as Rust. His name — Hart — is about modern life, fresh blood pumping through. Rust is dead blood, perhaps the blood of Christ (?).
Those weird little structures are called “devil catchers” and they’re put at the bedside of children to catch the devil. This show is a battle between good and evil, and “good” and “evil.” You can’t trust people in power, not the church, not the government. Those shapes that keep appearing could be either for protection against the evil perps or it could be the evil perps using them to paint the victims as evil spirits. Either way, they probably come into play when the whole things wraps up.
So this is what I think will happen.
I believe that Tuttle – the governor and/or the religious leader – will be involved in a kind of “purity” of evil. That includes sacrificing of children and prostitutes. The details of which are likely to unfold in a semi-complicated way. The overall plot conclusion I think will include Rust and perhaps Hart murdering all of them. We then flip back to episode 1 where Hart is telling this story to the police, an unreliable narrator lying about what happened. The (flat) circular nature of it is confusing, even when you watch it back many times.
How do you think True Detective will end? And what are your thoughts overall about the series?