Season 1, Episode 5: “The Secret Fate of All Life”

I missed reviewing last week’s episode of True Detective so I’ll just say this: the last scene, done completely in one long tracking shot, is probably the single most riveting scene in television that I’ve seen in a long time.  I had to watch it about five times.  Moving on…

If you’ve been reading this site, you’ll probably know that I couldn’t help but praise the final episodes of Breaking Bad each and every week.  My reviews of True Detective are becoming more of the same.  This has become my favorite show on television (until Game of Thrones comes back, of course) and each week they do something that has me singing its praises all over again.

After the events of the previous episode, Cohle and Hart find themselves hot on the heels of Reggie Ledoux, the man who seems to have all signs pointing in his direction.  After a “gun fight”, the Ledoux boys wind up dead and the case is more or less laid to rest.  With a handful of episodes left, it’s obviously not that simple.


I thought the difference between the account of the gunfight and what really happened is brilliant.  The fact that both Rust and Marty can recite the fabricated version of the encounter without hesitation shows how often they’ve probably recounted the lie since it happened.  To have it play as a voiceover of sorts over the actual scene (in which Martin executes Ledoux after they come across a couple of kids that they’ve had locked up) is an interesting way of presenting both fact and fiction at the same time.

We also see 2002 for the first time, in which Cohle is possibly made aware that they may have never truly solved the case.  The two of them are still in each other’s good graces, adding mystery to what exactly happened between two partners that worked apparently so well together for seven years.

2002 seems to be a turning point for both men.  Hart is witnessing the ripples of his inattentiveness as a father.  His eldest daughter has become a handful and he’s beginning to realize that he’s not really sure who she is, exactly.  For Cohle, the revelation that Ledoux may not have been the killer after all is bound to be the catalyst that will send him into some sort of obsessive spiral in which he comes out the other end in the state of mind that he is in the 2012 scenes.