True Detective Season 1 “The Secret Fate of All Life” Review

After the end of last week’s True Detective, which concluded with a heart-pumping tracking scene of Cohle’s undercover operation gone awry, I was curious to see if last night’s episode would go back to its usual pace or if the show was embarking upon a change during its final stretch of the season. The story continued to evolve last night as we finally reached the end of the Cohle’s interview and learned why there is such a sudden interest in he and his former partner. As many viewers have probably suspected, it looks like Cohle is a “person of interest” for the 2012 murder and several others that occurred during his partnership with Hart.

The audience, however, is working with much more information than the detectives heading up the current investigation. Their suspicions about Cohle aren’t that unreasonable given what they think happened when Ledoux was killed, Cohle’s presence at the 2012 crime scene and the entertaining, yet sorta disturbing impression of crazy town banana pants that Cohle gave off during his interviews. Based on the background information we’ve been given as viewers, I’m not sold on Hart or Cohle having anything to do with the murders.

One thing is certain, we can also rule out Ledoux as the murderer. He was a horrible person and guilty of a long list of crimes, but killing Dora Lange was not one of them. Typically, a misdirect of this nature would feel like a frustrating waste of time. The True Detective writers, however, have done an excellent job at using the Ledoux misdirect as a way of developing the show’s central characters. The scene in which we saw what happened with Ledoux as we heard another version of the events in 2012 was one of my favorite parts of last night’s episode.

Another thing I’ve come to really enjoy about True Detective is the very different mental and/or emotional states of Cohle and Hart when they first begin working with each other in 1995. Cohle came to the partnership world weary, which initially provided a stark contrast with Hart. Hart may have seen dark things as a cop, but he was still committed to keeping up appearances and between his family and affairs, it looked like he’d found a means of coping. With his affair over and family broken, Hart was becoming a much different person and Woody Harrelson has done a fantastic job at capturing the transition.

Hart’s family has also undergone significant changes, some of which could have been avoided had he been more involved as a father. It might have been a good idea for him to intervene when he saw the girls playing “crime scene investigation” for fun back in 1995. In 2002, Audrey has become a bit of a goth girl with violent tendencies and poor judgement. Rather than owning his part in the mess, Hart tried the “slap some sense into her” approach, which Audrey responded to by slapping her younger sister. It will be interesting to see how Maggie, Audrey and Maisie are doing in 2012.

I don’t think the current investigators are going to get what they’re looking for by leaning on Hart – particularly because of the Ledoux murder/cover-up. It will be interesting, however, to see how he handles the information they’ve shared about Cohle. What did you think of last night’s episode? Sound off below!