tv review – HBO’s True Detective, episode 1.7

‘After You’ve Gone’ was a very straightforward episode. After having a beer, Marty agreed to follow Rustin to a garage box, where he was shown the work Cohle had been doing ever since he returned to Louisiana. It was stomach-churning stuff and after being exposed to the horrors of what Rust had uncovered, Marty agreed to help Rustin solve this case once and for all. What followed was the most police procedural’y episode on the show so far, but True Detective‘s tone, setting and characters managed to really set it apart.

Some of the evidence in Rust’s possession wasn’t acquired in a legal manner: Cohle broke into several of Tuttle’s homes and in one he found an incriminating tape and pictures. Cohle asked for Hart’s help because Marty can get access to police files, which they need to follow up some of the new leads and to round out the investigation by going through the old files. This led the duo to, once again, ask around after Marie Fontenot, the little girl who had gone missing but whose disappearance was never really looked into, let alone solved. Like before, they were told about a man with a scarred jaw, and after some questioning, they learned this man’s identity is Errol Childress, one of Sam Tuttle’s extramarital grandchildren, the lawnmower man. Another Childress, the Vermillion Parish sheriff back in the day, covered up the Fontenot girl’s disappearance and at the end of the episode the new sheriff, another man in the know, was about to be forcefully interrogated by Cohle and Hart. So it seems Rustin’s conspiracy theory was correct all along: the powerful and dysfunctional Tuttle family’s responsible for the dead children and women. There are still plenty of questions left to be answered, but it seems everything’s going to be neatly wrapped up next week.

While the twists and turns were sufficient but not all that surprising this week, the mood was what elevated ‘After You’ve Gone’. The camera work and direction were at times reminiscent of David Lynch’s work, and the score dove straight into horror territory, with off-key piano notes and reverb. It was effective at giving the quite standard fare a more heightened sensibility, evoking such films as Seven, Sinister and at moments Lynch’s cult series Twin Peaks. While not reaching the bar raised by ‘Who Goes There’, it certainly took an assured step to get back to that type of atmosphere and direction, hopefully a sign of what’s to come in True Detective‘s next and last episode ‘Form And Void’.

‘After You’ve Gone’ was a solid episode establishing a clear endgame. The nightmarish mood was at the forefront once again, which bodes well for next week’s series finale. 8/10


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