HBO’s True Detective Haunted House TV Show Review. True Detective: Season 1, Episode 6: Haunted House was an episode as close to an hour long film as the viewer may ever see. I have seen many smart, clever short films but none like this. Almost everything from the previous episodes in Season 1 of True Detective led up to key events in this film….episode.
The secret investigation of Detective Rust Cohle (Matthew McConaughey) had only one problem: there were no bodies to give his theory credence. It never occurred to Major Leroy Salter (Paul Ben-Victor) and Detective Martin Hart (Woody Harrelson) that the reason that there were no bodies was because the killer had arisen to the point where he could conceal them deftly. It was easier for the two of them to dismiss it, though Detective Hart had other reasons for his disinterest.
Detective Cohle visited many people during his clandestine investigation but Kelly Rita (December Ensminger) was the most dramatic. There is a chapter in Max Brooks‘ World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War that deals with traumatized youths, teens, and young adults in catatonic (and feral) states. Rita’s scene immediately brought that chapter to mind. Ensminger’s acting was good but her character’s reaction to a simple question was even better. When the Scar Man is revealed, how will Cohle react to him?
The SEDS interrogation was the characterization apex of Detective Cohle. Det. Cohle knew exactly what to say to someone in “the box” but his loathing for killers boiled over after he got what he wanted from Charmaine Boudreaux (Azure Parsons). He delivered: “You should kill yourself” so emphatically that it was a Dim Mak blow to Boudreaux’s chest. He was the person that sympathized with her, understood her, and was her friend and in a instant, he snatched that rug right from under her with all the care of a grungy sledgehammer.
The coitus between Detective Cohle and Maggie Hart (Michelle Monaghan) was a three act play within the story arc of Haunted Houses where the protagonists went through a range of emotions. Detective Cohle’s sexual reluctance was understandable as was his susceptibility to Maggie’s touch: Cohle had not been with a woman since he broke up with his last girlfriend. Hart using Cohle to effectively end her marriage showed that, like her husband, she was flawed and had a damaged outlook on life (a fact hidden until this scene).
The drink that both former Detectives went on at the conclusion of the episode housed the level of respectful and lack of anxiety that would have served their former working relationship well. Perhaps it still can.
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