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True Detective Watch: Episode 4 - Who Goes There
The monster at the end of the dream. That's where True Detective left audiences hanging two long weeks ago. The stellar new show decided to take last Sunday off so as to not compete with the (super dull) Super Bowl and fans have been dying to get back into the action set up at the end of "The Locked Room." The final shot made it seem like HBO's slow burning series was just about to start cooking with gas and "Who Goes There" didn't disappoint with the drama heating up real fast. Creator Nic Pizzolatto said that the fourth installment would kick off 'Act Two' but no one could have expected True Detective to take that big of a turn. Or end with a shot so spectacular.
The climactic six-minute long take might be the most impressive feat I've ever seen executed on television. Director Cary Joji Fukunaga created a sequence on par with modern masters like Paul Thomas Anderson, Alfonso Cuarůn, Joe Wright and Steve McQueen except in what was likely much tougher conditions. Mostly due to the lack of time and/or money. HBO may not be "television" but, well, it's still television. MTV caught up with Fukunaga to discuss how he and the True Detective crew managed to pull off the brilliant scene and it's really worth the read. Renoir and Welles would be proud.
The highlight? Many sequence shots include a bit of creative 'fudging' done to hide cuts and/or pick the best pieces of each take and yes, the "director built in possible edit points if two takes had to be combined to make the perfect version of the shot, but anyone who is wondering should know that the sequence everyone saw in the episode is, in fact, a true single take." That's incredible. From the moment Cohle sneaks up behind the guy guarding the door to the stash house to the escape in Marty's car, there are no edits. Again, that's incredible. I mean, they hopped a fence.
I knew something special was brewing when Fukunaga used the camera to divide the stash house into two separate spaces linked only by Cohle shifting from one side of the frame to the other. Like a sort of rolling pin shot that ratcheted up the tension until all hell broke loose. And just to put the cherry on top, Marty shows up with the car almost exactly 90 seconds after Cohle tells him to be there in that time. I loved every moment. The final cut back to the chaos was great too, the first aerial shot of the series that didn't look eerily calm. Makes you wonder how the hell the director and Pizzolatto have in store to top that... but I may have also said that after last week's episode.
Alright. Enough with the fantastic final six minutes and onto a few words on the fantastic first fifty. As far as the mystery goes, "Who Goes There" opened with our detectives revisiting the incarcerated husband of the primary dead body (you know, Dora, the one with the antlers) to question him about Reginald Ledoux because they were cellmates. Maybe he shouldn't have showed the prime suspect those polaroids? There's also another reference to 'The King in Yellow,' Robert W. Chambers' collection of short horror stories, and Carcosa which were previously seen in Dora's diary. Foreshadowing a bad place? Not the one at the end of this episode but the shack in the woods.
To get to that shack, however, Cohle's got to go back undercover (off the books) because, Ledoux now only cooks for one customer, the Iron Crusaders, and our cop has a connection with that biker gang. Well, two. Ginger and Miles, the latter only mentioned by name while the former is the bearded goon who 'planned' the big episode ending caper. Marty pitched in as well, tracking down the Tyrone lead at a country rave and passing along the information he acquired while intoxicated. Lots of time for tailing cars and boozing when your wife leaves you.
The way True Detective has handled the female characters is quite interesting, even though most of the screen-time is devoted to the men. Marty's 'respectful' encounter at the courthouse leads to Maggie being paid an informative visit from Lisa and that's all she needs to pack her (and her husband's) bags. The drunken encounter at the hospital further illustrated the uneven gender dynamics with Marty telling his soon to be ex-wife that 'she's' not going to ruin the family. Ha. Finally, I liked seeing Cohle gets defensive when she called him on his philosophical bullshit.
True Detective returns with Episode 5, "The Secret Fate of All Life," on Sunday, February 16 at 9:00 p.m. ET on HBO. Created (as well as written) by Nic Pizzolatto and directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, the series stars Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson, Michelle Monaghan, Michael Potts, Tory Kittles, Alexandra Daddario, Elizabeth Reaser and Kevin Dunn.
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