‘True Detective’ Season 1 Episode 8 Recap: “Form and Void”

By March 10, 2014

Hello. How’s it going? Good? Good.

Now that the pleasantries are out of the way, let’s get into it! Last night, HBO aired the season 1 finale of my new favorite show “True Detective.” Dare I say I was sad to see it go but loved watching it leave? Yes, use that statement however you damn well please! Everything was answered, loose ends were tied, and the killer was caught. But was the finale everything you wished for and more? I’ll come back to that question later.


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All the speculation floating around the internet regarding who The Yellow King is was put to bed in last night’s episode “Form and Void.” We open on the creepy Texas Chainsaw Massacre-looking estate of Errol Childress, aka “The Lawnmower Man.” This place has everything: faceless old dolls, piles of soiled bedding and clothes, stacks of VHS tapes, strewn about newspapers and pretty much anything else you’d probably see on the most disturbing episode of “Hoarders” ever.

We first find Mr. Childress in an adjacent house out back, shirtless and talking to what we (at this point) can only assume is the body of a strapped down man. Errol says he’ll be bringing him water, observes he may have one more day in him, and then says, “Bye Daddy” before heading back to the main house.

Once back in his castle (I had to), he starts to speak in what sounds like a British accent and his crazy half sister girlfriend/wife comes to him and asks when he’s going to make flowers in her again. The two talk to each other like children and once she sits on his lap, things get even ickier. He gropes her and requests she tell him the story about how grandpa caught her in the cane fields. Yep, bad touch. Very bad touch!

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From that nightmare-inducing scene, we move to pick up where we last found Rust and Marty. They are still holding Steve Geraci in the boat and force him to watch the video that Marty viewed last week. Marty drinks his beer out on the deck as we hear Steve scream in terror. The interrogation continues, and Steve tells the two men that Sheriff Ted Childress advised him back then that Marie Fontenot was returned safely to her family. He never questioned him.

I just follow what the big man says. It’s how this all works.

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Rust figures he’s telling the truth and lets him go. However, they do confiscate both his gun and cell phone and said if he ever tells anyone about this conversation that took place between them, Rust’s sniper friend will shoot him down. Just as Steve wags his finger and yells that Cohle is bluffing, Rust raises his hand and bullets begin flying at Geraci’s car.

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The next scene finds us back at Marty’s office and as he is looking over the evidence, he is struck with an epiphany. The supposed green ears of “The Spaghetti Monster” could have been that color because of a house painting gig he worked back in 1995. This hunch takes them to the green house in question and then to its previous owner. When questioned, the old woman remembered a group of handymen that worked for the local parish were the ones who renovated the exterior for her. Rust takes notes in his taxman book and a little digging into some 17-year-old tax and public records leads the duo to the Cabin of Carcosa (patent pending).

On the drive towards Errol’s home, Rust points out that he tastes something familiar: aluminum and ash. This foreboding revelation tells him they are in the right place. They soon pull up to the Domicile of Death and can’t get a signal to call for backup. Marty heads to the house and asks to use their phone. But Errol Childress’s sister/girlfriend says they don’t have a phone and refuses to let him in. Hart changes tactics and pushes his way in, asking where Billy Childress is. Of course she has a batsh*t crazy response to give:

All around us, before we were born and after you die.

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While this is going down, Rust moves to the adjacent house and finds Errol out back. With his gun drawn, he demands Errol get on his knees. It’s a simple request, but Childress replies, “No.” This leads Rust on a chase to find The Yellow King. On his trek, he passes devil traps and drawings of Carcosa on walls. Soon, he’s following the killer’s voice into a labyrinth of dark tunnels that reminded me somewhat of where Pennywise The Clown lived. But this ain’t Dairy, Maine, and these aren’t sewers!

Back to Marty. Once inside the house, he loses track of the lady and ventures through the house which reminded me of something I’d have walked through at Knotts Scary Farm during Halloween. Eventually, he finds the sister upstairs amidst the piles of soiled sheets and clothes. He demands her cell phone and then heads out to find Rust, discovering the body of Errol’s “Daddy,” Billy Childress, in the process.

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Marty calls out to Rust and gets a reply leading him down the trail we saw Cohle heading down moments earlier.  We then move back to Rust who is now deep inside the tunnels. What was once tiny twigs tied together are now giant structures that Cohle has to walk through to find Childress. He’s in The King’s lair now. And while he seeks him out, we hear Childress’ voice all around him, goading him on.

Come die with me.

Rust enters into what I can only deduce is Errol’s throne room. He is distracted by one of his visions and sees something that looks like a tornado coming down from the sky with a bright light in the center. Before we can continue trying to figure out what the hell he’s seeing, Childress appears out of nowhere and thrusts a knife deep into Cohle’s gut. The move is powerful and there’s blood immediately. Errol’s strength is shown here as he lifts Rust’s body off of the ground by the handle of the knife buried in his stomach. Errol whispers as he pushes his knife deeper:

Take off your mask.

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It looks like curtains for Cohle as Errol fights to bring down the axe in his other hand to end him. So what’s the next move for a dying man with a knife in his belly? Head butt the f*ck out of him! And that is what Cohle does, four times in a row. Finally, his grip loosens and Rust falls to the ground. This distracts Childress long enough to allow Marty to enter the scene and fire off a round in his shoulder.

Errol treats the shot like a mere flesh wound and immediately flings his pick axe right at Marty’s chest. Down goes Marty! Childress takes his opportunity to put an end to Hart’s life but didn’t account for Rust’s own will to live. At the height of the chaos, Rust shoots Errol Childress’s block off, literally. Finally, The Yellow King is no more. Marty makes his way over to Rust and does his best to comfort him as he quickly loses blood.

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Remember how Marty asked for that cell phone earlier? Well, it looks like he got it because the cavalry arrives. Both Marty and Rust’s lives were saved and we move from this hell hole to the hospital where both men receive some much needed treatment. Details of the case start coming together and skeletal remains of missing persons are found at the scene. The knife used on Cohle was linked to Dora Lange’s murder all those years ago, finally closing the loop and finishing out the case that began it all.

Cohle rolls his wheelchair into Rust’s room after Maggie and family pay him a visit. Cohle is still bothered by the unfinished nature of what went down. He remembered Errol Childress from the abandoned school back in 1995, and he knows they didn’t catch everyone involved. With a dose of hard reality, Marty comes back with:

That ain’t what kind of world it is, but we got ours.

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Days (weeks?) later, we find Marty pushing Rust’s wheelchair outside of the hospital. It’s here that Rust breaks down and gives a part of his personality to Marty we have never seen. He opens up.

There was a moment, I know, when I was under in the dark, that something…whatever I’d been reduced to – not even consciousness, just a vague awareness in the dark – I could feel my definitions fading. And beneath that darkness, there was another kind. It was deeper and warm, like a substance. I could feel man, I knew, I KNEW my daughter waited for me there. So clear. I could feel her. I could feel a piece of my Pop, too. It was like I was part of everything that I have ever loved, and we were all, the three of us, just fading out. And all I had to do was let go, man. And I did. I said, ‘Darkness, yeah’ and I disappeared. But I could still feel her love there. Even more than before. Nothing. Nothing but that love. And then I woke up.

In response, Marty shows a softer side himself and distracts his old friend by asking him about the stories he used to make up when looking up at the stars in Alaska. Rust reminds him how he didn’t watch TV until he was 17 so he used to just look at the stars a lot. He then tells him he’s been staring out of his hospital window every night and explains, “It’s just one story, the oldest. Light versus dark.” Rust seems reborn in a way. Immediately he tells Marty to get the car and stands up leaning on his shoulder. Hart doesn’t protest, stating it occurs to him that Cohle is unkillable.

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As they walk to the car, we end on Rust’s final sentence regarding the stars, the sky, the vast darkness and the oldest story he mentioned earlier.

You’re looking at it wrong, the sky thing. If you ask me, light’s winning.

Well, there you have it. Did the finale live up to your expectations? Shall we start speculating about “True Detective’s” next season? Tell me your thoughts in the comments below!

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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.
  • I’m seeing a lot of people say they were disappointed with the finale. I thought it was great – although the one issue I had with it was the logical leap of figuring out Errol had green ears from painting a house. Who gets paint only on their ears when they paint?

    • Yeah I thought it’d be green headphones or something.

  • Mark Reynolds

    I liked it, but think it could have been better if they had further explored the cult conspiracy or simply left them as unexplained boogeymen. What we got seemed a little half baked.

    • I disagree. I think what we got here was the answer to the mystery as well as a reconnection between two old and damaged friends.

  • Jorge Giron

    What did Rust mean when he said his “definitions were fading” ?

    • I’m really not sure anyone knows what Rust really meant at all with anything he said