‘True Detective’ Season 1 Episode 6 Recap: “Haunted Houses”

By February 24, 2014

Here we are again – another week done and another episode of “True Detective” closer to the finale. This leaves me all sorts of conflicted: I want to know where this story is going, yet I want it to last forever. This also stokes the mental fire regarding who will be involved in Season 2. As for last night’s episode – speaking as a man and soon-to-be husband, I found the story way more upsetting than previous episodes, which leaned more into creepy or twisted territory. But before I continue, let me post my weekly DISCLAIMER right the eff here:

If you’re not caught up, as always, TAKE CAUTION in proceeding because THERE ARE SPOILERS BELOW! Please feel free to reference last week’s recap here.

As you may remember, last week’s episode ended with Rust Cohle standing in a dark and abandoned school holding a devil’s trap up to the one ray of light shining through the shattered window behind him. I assumed we might see a continuation of this thought in episode 6, titled “Haunted Houses,” but the overarching story line here surrounded Martin Hart’s failure as a husband and father (and man).

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The episode opens on Hart visiting the jail cell holding the two guys who were found in the backseat with his daughter. As he speaks with them, we see him remove his wedding ring, his blazer and roll up his shirt sleeves. He gives them a choice to go to prison with statutory rape charges on their rap sheets or to come out of their cell and take what’s coming to them. He puts on a hefty pair of gloves and as the blonde one exits, Hart gives him some simple words of advice before unleashing a beat down on both men:

A man’s game charges a man’s price.

Cut to 2012 and Hart informs the detectives that back in 2002, Rust Cohle was working a case he wasn’t aware of. This is followed by a quick cut back to 2002 where, after an interrogation, Cohle and Hart get into one of few scuffles in this episode. Mild as it was, their argument over each other’s attitudes and roles in the department and their working relationship is enough to add fuel for the fire between these two. Cohle refuses to explain the old case he is working on and leaves the building. It’s at this point in the story back in 2012, that Martin Hart’s patience has run out. He packs up and leaves. As he drives away, we hear a car frantically honking behind him on the freeway. The look on his face registers a memory.

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Back in 2002, we find Detective Martin Hart in the parking lot of a strip mall. It’s scenes like this that is a reminder that this time period was pre-smart phones, web 2.0 and Twitter. Armed with a newspaper ad for a phone he wants, he enters a cell phone store and is helped by none other than Beth – the abused child Marty gave money to at The Farm all those years ago in an attempt to get her to turn her life around. She went from brothel to cell phone store and soon, to the Fox And Hound bar next door. Standing in the parking lot with shopping bags filled with sanitary napkins and the like, we see Marty falter. It’s in the bar where he falls off the wagon of sobriety and fidelity as he reconnects with Beth. And of course this leads to further “connecting” later that night. It’s worth noting Rust Cohle’s statement to Marty in episode 2 regarding the cash given to Beth as a down payment. I am still cringing over this whole development and seriously, what about his oldest daughter? What the eff!?

Another cut back to 2012, and the detectives have brought in Martin Hart’s ex-wife Maggie for questioning. Their hope is that she will shed some light on what went down in 2002 to cause the rift between Hart and Cohle. They begin with vague statements as to why she was brought in and her reply set things straight.

In a former life I used to exhaust myself navigating crude men who thought they were clever. So ask your questions or I’m leaving.

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The detectives question her about the events that transpired between Hart and Cohle in 2002 and she claims ignorance for the most part. More on that later…

We move to Rust Cohle in 2002 who is investigating some old cases of missing children. Against constant orders to not dredge up the past, he tracks down Preacher Joel from 1995 who has traded the church tent for a drinking habit and looking disheveled. The conversation is started about the Well Spring program, an evangelical initiative associated with Tuttle’s Ministries to help finance rural schools. It is then that the preacher admits to leaving it all behind when he happened upon a folder full of photos of naked children. After reporting the findings, no one within the organization moved to take action. Instead blame of the act was pointed towards Preacher Joel, who ended up giving up the ministry after a couple of his tents were vandalized. This was all too much for him.

Later, we see Rust in an interrogation room with a woman brought in for murdering her children. We hear the same sympathetic tone Cohle brings to this room as with previous convicts, but once Hart leaves the room (per his unspoken request), Rust gets the woman to admit her heinous act. Further, he references his own deceased child and ruined marriage and ends his conversation with the woman by telling her it’d be better for her to kill herself than go to prison (all the while, his solid yet soft tone never changing). It’s obvious the involvement of children in this aspect is a hot button issue with Rust, as it should be with anyone. And this isn’t helping his fixation to finish what they started.

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He soon visits Kelly, the girl he helped rescue from Reggie Ladoux’s compound who is now in a hospital, mostly catatonic. Upon his visit, the girl snaps out of her trance just long enough to advise Cohle of the giant scarred man who forced her to watch as the boy was being abused. This tall man with scars on his face was first referenced back in 1995 at the revival church and he’s back again.

The road leads him to Reverend Billy Lee Tuttle’s office. It’s mentioned in 2012 that Tuttle died of an apparent overdose soon after Rust resurfaced in 2002. In this meeting, Rust is doing his best to “read” the reverend. In return, Tuttle offers Cohle access to their archives. Cohle leaves without taking the offer and brings it to his Captain’s table. In return, he is punished for disobeying direct orders and has his gun and badge taken from him.

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To deal with this turn of events, Cohle gets drunk in his apartment and proceeds to pour over the pieces of evidence he does have posted on his walls and strewn across his table with a flashlight. Cue door knock…

Remember when I mentioned Maggie played ignorant during her questioning? This is why. This next scene also explains the falling out between Rust and Marty, as well as Rustin Cohle’s current state in 2012. Earlier in 2002, we are shown a scene where Maggie is doing laundry. She finds a load of Marty’s clothes already running and immediately you see the suspicion arise. It’s when she picks up her husband’s cell phone and finds a picture of Beth in her underwear that Maggie’s thoughts are confirmed. Martin Hart is cheating again. In 2012, Maggie explains tells the detectives:

We were talking once about growing up parents. I said something about forgiveness and he said that there was no such thing as forgiveness – that people just have short memories.

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This statement right here explains to us why she did what she ended up doing next. We first see her enter a bar dressed up in a sexy red dress. A man buys her a drink and as they exchange looks, the thought is that they are about to do some “connecting” of their own. But instead, as we see Cohle blinking his flashlight off and on at his apartment wall, the person knocking at his apartment door is Maggie herself. Betrayed and alone, she couldn’t go through with a one night stand with a stranger and proceeds to take advantage of a very drunk Rust Cohle for the sheer point of inflicting pain upon her soon to be ex-husband. In turn, this one act also drives the two men to fisticuffs in the police department’s parking lot. Cohle quits his job, loses his only friend, and Hart’s personal life is once again ruined at his own stupid doing. Hell hath no fury and all that.

And we’re back in 2012, following Detective Martin Hart as he drives away from the interrogation. The vehicle honking continues and we now see it’s Rust Cohle. He flashes his lights at Hart who finally pulls over. It’s been 10 years, and Rust says they need to talk. Marty agrees and after the quick exchange, we see Rustin Cohle get back into that same red truck. As the two drive to off to their next rendezvous point, the camera focuses on the truck’s tail light, still broken from the brawl the two men had a decade earlier.

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We’re getting closer to the answers people, but I already am having my own suspicions that Hart is somehow involved in these murders. What did you think of last night’s episode? Do you think Hart is guilty? Sound off in the comments below and meet me here next week!

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Aside from throwing words onto your screen here, he has written for the likes of FEARnet, Examiner, Dread Central and MTV Movies Blog. And yes, he was Percy on VR Troopers.
  • After last night’s episode, here’s some much needed levity. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_yszT9gkE4s#t=31

    • Maggie’s maneuverings in this episode reminded me of Breaking Bad’s infamous “I f*cked Ted” moment.

      • You hit the nail on the head there!

        • I’m telling you, Maggie has more involvement here in some way.

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