True Detective Watch: Episode 3 - The Locked Room

Thanks to Super Bowl XLVIII, audiences have to wait two weeks until the next episode of True Detective. That's right, no monster next Sunday night. The HBO (not)true-crime series can go up against awards show after awards show but not the NFL championship. To be fair, nothing on the network is going up against the big game, however, neither Girls nor Looking ended with a cliffhanger like "The Locked Room." What a fantastic final shot and a chilling introduction to Reggie Ledoux, the thriller's prime suspect in the past who may prove to be nothing more than a dangerous red herring.

The monster didn't paint that freaky mural on the wall of the former Church of the Friends of Christ Revival seen at the end of "Seeing Things." Nope, right when Rust was tracking down the connection between an old dead body, the Light of the Way school and this Tuttle fella, Marty gets word on the radio that the missing Ledoux has been found. Not only that, but the suspect seems to fit the case like a glove and briefly brings the feuding partners together for a celebratory moment. Something tells me the pair turning on the cherries is a bit premature and the much touted 'gun fight' will make the detectives jump to conclusions. It's easy to pin a crime on a 'DB' and they were put on the clock thanks to the cult crimes task force.

Back to the mural and the beginning of the episode, Rust and Marty track the travelling church and find the always great Shea Whigham preaching (as Joel Theriot) to a crowd of people with low I.Q.s. Not the nicest thing to say but Rust isn't one to mince words. In fact, he uses these astute, albeit harsh, observations to his benefit when in the 'box,' preying on the same weaknesses to get people like the B&E Ejaculator to confess. I couldn't help but think of the 'coin in the wishing well over eating' comment when True Detective showed Matthew McConnaghey's character go to work in the interrogation room.

What's interesting to note, however, is that we know they also got the wrong guy, which throws a shade over all the brilliant deductions that Rust is making. He's a very smart man, full of philosophical diatribes and existential perspectives, but he still got it wrong. It's his serial killer theory that led him and Marty down this path. Or is that why he's become the wreck he's become? Has he known about their error for years? Could that be the root of their falling out? Possibly, except that it seems more likely that Maggie is going to be the reason the partners stop speaking. You don't mow another man's lawn.

It was nice to see Michelle Monaghan get a little more do do this week even if the make-up sex moment was perhaps the only false note so far. She knows something is up and yet falls for the tear-filled Wile E. Coyote apology. The aftermath of the double-date turned triple-date was another great sequence, giving Woody Harrelson a chance to shine in the otherwise McConnaghey dominated series. I was also once again gripped by the ominous storyline involving the Hart daughter's overtly sexual actions during playtime. The positioning of her dolls was perhaps the creepiest shot of last week's creepy installment and you know this has to tie into the main mystery somehow. Shudder.

Three episodes into True Detective and I continue to be amazed by Nic Pizzolatto's writing. While the whodunit is teased out in an incredibly compelling way, the audience also learns more about the two very different main characters and their complex lives. Plus the pulpy dialogue spewed by McConnaghey's Rust is incredible, not only poetic and compelling but also lets the show engage in its philosophical concerns. The value and/or perils of family, community, religion, obsession and desire. I can't wait for the two detectives to come face to face in the present. A gun fight in the woods with a monster sounds pretty good too. True Detective is making the wait for Game of Thrones pretty easy but now I'm worried the latter won't live up to the former. Not a bad worry to have.

True Detective returns with Episode 4, "Who Goes There," on Sunday, February 9 at 9:00 p.m. ET on HBO. Created by Nic Pizzolatto and directed by Cary Fukunaga, the series stars Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson, Michelle Monaghan, Michael Potts, Tory Kittles, Alexandra Daddario, Elizabeth Reaser and Kevin Dunn.