True Detective Episode 7 “After You’ve Gone” Recap and Analysis
This week’s installment finished the six episode set up, for what is sure to be an emotionally-intense season finale. All of the interviews have concluded, the narrative is officially in the present, and fans are on the edge of their seats eager to see how the show will end.
Episode 7 begins with Marty and Cohle sitting in a bar. Marty asks “why am I here?” forcing Rust to get to the point. Cohle opens with the Lake Charles murder, and how it had been kept from the papers saying “If they’d cover that up, who knows what else they might have covered up,” justifying the need to keep his investigation under wraps. Marty is unconvinced it’s worth getting back into and as he begins to leave Cohle says “You have a debt, because of the way things went down in ’95.” This is a reference to Marty’s impromptu execution of Ledoux. Though Marty seems reluctant to even entertain the thought that Rust isn’t crazy, he is convinced to at least see what Cohle has in his storage shed.
When they arrive at the storage unit it’s clear that Marty still has his doubts about Cohle and his theories, as he pulls out his .38 revolver, keeping it hidden while Cohle opens the dark storage unit. But it isn’t long before Rust shows Marty some things that, as Cohle said it “took doubt behind the woodshed and put it down.” Cohle begins to lay out his theories, and mentions how in 2010 he tracked down a man who went to one of the old Tuttle preschools in 1990, Toby Boelert. In the interview Toby tells Cohle about some disturbing memories that he’d ruled out as dreams. Where he was a awake but couldn’t move, and he saw men in animal masks take pictures of all the sleeping children. Toby also mentions seeing a man with scars on his face. The 3rd time he’s been mentioned. Marty, still unconvinced, forces Cohle to show him pictures and a VHS tape that he found when he broke into Tuttles house safe. The tape showed some horrifically disturbing scenes involving a crying child and a Voudon ritual some how connected to a rural pre Mardi Gras celebration called Courir de Mardi Gras.
The ceremonies mostly consist of participants putting on masks to hide their identities, drinking, parading their towns on horses, and performing begging rituals that date back to France and were carried over by the first French settlers. Wearing masks is something that is illegal in these areas due to the Klu Klux Klan. But it’s allowed for these rituals, and celebrants use the time to partake in debauchery and purge their sins by getting whipped by the captain of the parade.
Now Marty, who seemed almost eager to believe Cohle was nuts before, is with Rust 100% saying “what do you need me to do?” With that the hatchet was buried, and once again our boys are working together on the case.
After the storage shed reveal, Marty pays a visit to Maggie. It becomes clear that Marty hasn’t seen his family in a couple of years. His visit is short and sincere, asking primarily about their kids and what she said to the police. Sensing something is up, Maggie asks “did you come here to say goodbye?” Marty says nothing but “thank you, I mean that,” and leaves Maggie to wonder what danger he has gotten himself into.
Once again, underneath all of his faults, we see the moral center of Marty Hart. Dedicating himself to solve these crimes and to prevent the future molestation and murder of women and children. To see this case through to the end, realizing the scope of what he is getting into, and thus coming to make his peace with Maggie. While the moral core of Rust has never been in doubt, as he’s always worn his devotion to cold truth and justice like a shining badge for all to see, it hasn’t always been as clear for Marty. He seemed to get hung up in temptation, frequently hurting the people he loves. But slowly over the season his true, good, and honest nature has shined through. As we see him now willing to pass the point of no return with Cohle.
Marty breaths new life into the investigation as he uses his old police contacts to get access to old case files, and his lackluster P.I firm to set up shop. They begin to piece some things together and they track down an old woman who used to work for the Tuttle family in Erath. They ask her about any extended family that Tuttle may have had, and she reveals Sam Tuttle, father of Reverend Billy Lee, had many children from different wives. Cohle then asks if she remembers any of those children having scars on their face. She recalls a boy like that saying he was one of Tuttle’s grandchildren, and that his father gave him those burns. She said that she believed the boys last name was Childress, but then turned from the line of questioning saying she shouldn’t be discussing such things. Cohle ended the interview by asking her if she recognized any of the images he had drawn in his notebook, showing her the sketch he had done of the antler crowned creature drawn on the wall of the burnt down church. She recognized it immediately saying “You know Carcosa?…..Him who eats time…Rejoice, death is not the end” She was then interrupted by a coughing fit, and was unable to continue.
This is the 3rd time an interviewee has been interrupted by some sort of physical fit, preventing them from speaking further. This is also the 3rd time a Childress has been mentioned in the season. The first was the sheriff who over saw the case of the missing girl Marie Fontenot (the same girl in the VHS tape) and called it a closed case saying she went with her daddy. The 2nd was when Francis, the criminal who mentioned the yellow king in 2002, was taken out of his cell by 2 police officers. One of those cops was named Childress. And now it seems the scarred face giant is also a Childress.
Marty runs a “back track” investigation on Marie Fontenot. He discovers that Steve Geraci, one of their old coworkers and now the sheriff of Iberia, took the original statement from Marie after she was chased through the woods by the “green-eared spaghetti monster.” Geraci, however, never said anything in ’95 when they asked him about it. Marty contacts Geraci and they get together for a round of golf, during which he denies knowing anything else about the Fontenot girl. Marty is convinced he is hiding something, and so the boys set their sights on an alternate form of interrogation.
The episode ends with Detectives Gilbough and Papania on the hunt for the church that Cohle had mentioned in their interview. Feeling completely lost, they pull over and ask directions from a man they see mowing some cemetery grounds. The same lawnmower man that Cohle was interviewing at the end of episode 3. After the Detectives get their directions they say “you know this area pretty well huh?” to which he replies “yessir my family’s been here…” but the detectives cut him off and leave. The camera begins to center on the face of the grounds keeper.
As we get a good look at the man, it appears he has scars his face. Is this our green-eared giant? As the detectives drive out of sight he finishes his line “My family’s been here a long long time”
Was he a Childress? Has his family been there, generation after generation, stuck in the infinite circle of time? Who knows what will be revealed in the Season finale of one of the most outstanding series ever made for television.