True Detective Episode 6 “Haunted Houses” Recap: The 2002 Reveal and the Beginning of the End
Though many questions were posed, the simplicity of this week’s episode came as a breath of fresh air, as fans are just now coming up to the surface after last week’s existential deep dive.
Episode 6 begins with Marty serving his preferred method of justice on the 19-year-old boys caught in a car with his 16 year old daughter. Though what they were doing was enough to send any father into a justifiable rage, “promiscuity” seems to be a sensitive subject for Marty. Earlier in the season when they went out to the Bunny Ranch during their investigation, we saw Marty take a personal interest in the well-being of one of the working girls, Beth who was also underage at the time. As he left he slipped her some money saying “do something else.” Later in the season when Marty burst into the house of his mistress to catch her “cheating,” he pinned her new beau to the bed forcing him to admit that she’d given him head. Just the right amount of promiscuity needed in order for Marty to separate himself from her in disgust.
But now in episode 6 we see Marty in 2002, not only in a deep rage over his daughters sexual activities, but also in the process of dismantling his family once again with some promiscuity of his own. Despite having repaired things with his lovely wife and making it work for 7 years. Marty ends up having an affair with Beth, the same underage girl at the bunny ranch, now in her 20’s. Beth said all the right things when she met him at a bar, deeming him “a good person” for showing he cared about her way back when. That was all it took for Marty and he was once again lost in temptation.
Seeing as Cohle has finished with the detectives, the 2nd narrative was passed off to Maggie, who was brought in hopefully to shed some more light on Cohle, who we then see on his solo investigation in 2002 talking to the reverend of the tent revival. The man once commanded the attention of hundreds of worshipers, but now has let alcohol consume his life.
The preacher reveals some disturbing information about some pictures he found while cleaning one of the libraries of the Tuttle schools. He knocked over an old volume “the letters of Telios DeLorca”, and out of it fell a folder with pictures of naked children. Though the meaning of the “obscure” writer is sure to have a deep underlying connection to the plot, it seems to be fiction specific to the show. The fallen preacher continues to explain how he tried to do something about the pictures he found, but was promptly shut down by the people he took them to and ended up resigning from the Tuttle organization.
Now, Marty in the present, is finally realizing the point of the interview with the detectives, as they begin to press him about Cohle and their falling out in 2002. Marty says he started to notice the difference in Cohle during their last case. Now we see Cohle and Marty interrogating the mother who believed prophylactics to be a sin, while she secretly murdered her children blaming it on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Cohle, using his crack interrogation skills, manages to get full confession, leaving her with some advice that could only come from the mouth of Rust Cohle…..
Cohle then passes off the confession to Marty telling him to “type it up”, while he was off to work the continued missing children case on his own time. This sparks an argument between them.
Rust makes it clear that he knows Marty is cheating on Maggie once more and he seems to have lost all hope for Marty saying “you moron. These people, this place, it’s like you eat your fucking young and that’s all just fine as long as you got somethin’ to salute” and ending with “without me there is no you”. Marty is left infuriated as Cohle leaves to question Kelly, the girl he rescued from Ledoux way back when.
Though he had been warned she was still catatonic, Rust asks Kelly if she remembers a 3rd man at the Ledoux compound. To everyone’s surprise, she speaks. “The man with the scars was the worst” she says “The giant, he made me watch what he did to Billy”. This sparks something in Cohle, remembering the Tall Man with scars that took Dora Lange away from the tent revival 7 years ago. Rust asks Kelly to confirm “the scars, were they on his face?” As she starts to remember she begins to scream and freak out. This interview is reminiscent of one of the first that Cohle and Hart held for the original case with Dora Langes mother. In that interview, when they began to ask about the man Dora was with, she was overcome with a migraine and was unable to finish the interview. Is this a voodoo safety precaution set up by the giant with scars on his face? Is this the green haired spaghetti monster we have yet to identify?
The incident with Kelly lands Cohle in front of the Major who is warning Rust to stop digging up old cases. As Cohle starts to plead his case he receives little help from Marty who seems to have officially turned the corner on their partnership.
Meanwhile in 2002, Maggie discovers pictures of Beth on Marty’s brand new cell phone. She realizes her marriage is over but doesn’t want to go through another one of Marty’s appeals, so she decides to end it unequivocally. Setting her sights on finding someone to sleep with, starting at a bar.
Then we see Cohle back on his personal investigation, coming to into Tuttle’s holy compound. Cohle sits down with Tuttle and makes it clear what he is investigating is “dead women and children”. Tuttle plays it cool, and agrees to cooperate. Regardless, Cohle ends up getting suspended for disobeying a direct order to stop digging up old case files. Rust tries once more to reason with the Major while Marty sides against him. Realizing it’s hopeless, Rust gives up his badge and his gun, leaving Marty with a parting gesture…..
Next, Maggie goes to see Cohle who is drowning his sorrows in alcohol and surrounding himself with the evidence from the prevailing case of the series. Maggie uses her own depression to get in the door saying “he’s doing it again, I can’t live with anymore.” Cohle, drunk and in no condition to deflect temptation with his honesty, ends up succumbing to Maggie’s advancements. A sexual tension that had possibly been building all season. But Cohle, even in his state, is too smart for that. After the 10 seconds of passion, and with his mind now clear he asks, “what are you doing here? What the fuck are you doing here!?” Maggie admits she needed that to end her marriage. That after Marty found out about it there would be no way he could stay with her. Rust screams at her to get out, and in all but 3 minutes it seems Maggie had put the final nails in the coffins of both partnerships.
Marty, despite his own infidelity, is destroyed by the news. And when Cohle comes back to the station to get his file an inevitable fight ensues. A parking lot brawl that ends breaking the back left tail light of Cohle’s truck.
Cohle, having had enough, quits for good. Leaving with some final Cohle brand honesty: “Nice hook, Marty”.
The episode wraps up with Marty finally in the present day interview with the detectives, who once again bring up Tuttle’s overdose and reveal that both of Tuttle’s houses were broken into just before he died. They suggest that Cohle had something to do with it and that he may have never left the town, saying “He’s been right here, doing bad things the whole time.” This seems to be the last straw for Marty, who gets up and starts to leave saying, “I won’t help you.”
As Marty is driving away, Cohle tracks him down in his truck, honking his horn and flashing his lights to get him to pull over, which he does, cautiously.
Here, based off their greetings, it seems like they actually haven’t been in contact this whole time. Cohle says, “how bout I buy you a beer?…….scratch that, why don’t you buy me a beer?” Marty agrees, but as Cohle walks back to his truck he checks the ammo in his revolver. It seems that, at the very least, the seed of doubt has been planted in his head by the detectives who suspect Cohle. The episode ends with Cohle following Marty, and the camera focused on Cohle’s broken tail light, that was smashed during their parking lot brawl and left in shambles for ten years. Just like their partnership. Are they off to fix it? Will our boys take up the case once more? Only 2 episodes left, and much to be revealed.