While his True Detective character continued his obsessive quest to find the 'Yellow King,' Matthew McConaughey was busy winning the Academy Award for Best Actor. And, given his performance as Rust Cohle up to and including "After You've Gone," audiences should probably get used to his 'alright, alright, alright' acceptance speech cause it's bound to resurface in a few months when the Emmys, TCAs and all the other small-screen awards come 'round. Time is a flat circle. And this week was the beginning of the end. After all, what is an end except a new beginning? Okay, no more talking like Rust. Don't need me building any "Haunted Houses around here. Not when the partners have finally come together in the final act.
Hold on. Just like in the opening scene, let's turn to on jukebox and set the mood...
Creator Nic Pizzollatto compared the series to a feature film structure with the seventh and eighth episodes making up the third act and after the relatively quiet "After You've Gone," I imagine next week, the 'second-half' of the resolution, will be rather charged. That's also where the series' anthology nature comes into play because there's no need to think about next year. No need to start moving the pieces in service of another arc. And unlike recent serialized shows that pack a lot of action into the penultimate episode before a more meditative finale ties up some loose ends and/or leaves others hanging (say, The Wire through Game of Thrones), the second to last True Detective was almost all set-up for the "Form and Void" big finish.
Maybe not. Maybe it ends with a whimper? But that seems unlikely given the measures Rust has taken over the last 17 years. And almost all of the past has now played itself out, the estranged partners putting aside old scores to settle their debt. By the way, I didn't mean to refer to Maggie as an 'old score' even if that is technically true. She shows up this week but only briefly. Her appearance only there to illustrate how far Marty has come in the decade since they split, not to mention how close Rust has stayed. People have moved on, grown up while he still obsesses. Probably just trying to fill the hole left by his daughter.
Speaking of daughters, Maggie's visit brings up the Hart girls and the good one is still being good while Audrey continues to have her problems despite meds, a nice boyfriend and a burgeoning art career. The scene between the former couple was also the last of several in the first half of "After You've Gone" that served to heighten the mystery surrounding what Rust has hidden away in his storage locker. Her question, 'and just like that?,' leads to us finally getting a look at the videotape but he's already seen it at that point and its mention was the only reason he didn't throw the drowning Rust a barbell in the first place. That's three mentions of the shed's contents before we get to see it, emblematic of the brilliant script structure.
Another big shift that occurred between 'Acts?' There are no longer any interviews and/or interrogations to use as a framing device as well as a window into the various pasts. Maggie's time with Gilbough and Papania was the final official interview and that's why most of the seventh episode takes place in the series' present. There were brief flashbacks to 2010 including Rust's encounter with Johnny-Joany that revealed the former Light of the Way student's dreams of animal faces and the man with the scars. Conspiracy theorists rejoice!
The man with the scars, also known as the Spaghetti Monster, becomes the focus of Hart Investigative Solutions and the two brother shamuses actually spend a little time catching up on each other's (dismal) personal lives. Marty's able to use his connections with the CID to get his hands on the old case files, he was always good with people, and soon the sleuths are out interviewing a Ledoux. This one is on the good side of the family and he remembers the scars as does the Tuttle (great-)grandfather's servant, who seems totally down with shit like the saturnalia and Courir de Mardi Gras. She's been deep in Carcosa.
As far as how far the the sprawl reaches, Hart was able to figure out that Geraci was the one who took the initial Fontenot report before the file disappeared and decides to take his old buddy Rust slapped, now a powerful man in the state, out for a game of golf. And who doesn't bring their gun? Fine, he's the Sheriff. There could be a reason to carry on the course. Marty seems to want to find out as much as Rust. A whole car battery and jumpers worth. While they're out on their nice cruise, Gilbough and Papania (company men who might not know it) are out of the interrogation room and following Rust and Marty's path. Time is a flat circle. Just like the design on the lawn. Oh. And what's with mowing lawns on this show? Weird.
True Detective returns with the series finale, "Form And Void," next Sunday 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 and Tory Kittles.