Oh, “HBO, never take “True Detective” away again. After a week off for Super Bowl weekend (who knows?), the dark crime thriller is back in force with “Who Goes There”, episode four of its premiere season. For all those who said “True Detective” was moving too slowly, they can can kindly keep their mouths shut now. This week was one of the greatest hours of television I’ve seen in years, with an intense and technically proficient closing scene that rivals anything on “Game of Thrones”. God, I love this show!
“Who Goes There” finds our shady heroes, Hart and Cohle, following up on their prime suspect, Reggie Ledoux. As we found out two weeks ago, the victim, Dora Lange’s ex was roommates with Ledoux a while back. Hearsay about Satanic cults and ritual sacrifice abound. Meanwhile, back at home Hart finds his bags ready to be packed a note from his wife demanding he leave; his former mistress has ratted him out. Hart doesn’t take this kind of rejection well, as we’ve seen, and goes on a bit of a tear. While questioning some random scumbag, he learns that Ledoux is cooking meth for a biker gang Cohle has history with from his narco days. Cohle goes back into full-blown undercover mode, taking on his old persona, Crash, and hitting up his old contacts in the gang. Forced to take part in a robbery, Cohle soon finds himself having to quickly escape a shootout through a trailer park, before making off with someone who may lead to Ledoux.
Ninety seconds, motherfucker!
I can’t say enough about McConaughey’s performance. The man has found the magical switch and flipped permanently to the AWESOME position. His gradual transformation throughout the episode is amazing. Once Cohle realizes undercover is the only option, he begins drinking heavily, and making track marks in his arms. By the time the grand finale comes around, he’s a totally different person. Harrelson is not without his moments to shine. Hart’s scene with his now estranged wife is subtle and tragic, with just enough quiet rage to remind us why he’s such a bad husband to begin with. Maybe it’s just the extra week off, but I missed these guys and their banter. There’s truly great chemistry here and it makes this show what it is.
The final scene of “Who Goes There” is one of the most brutally intense, and technically impressive scenes I’ve ever seen on a cable program. Reminiscent of the urban warfare scene from “Children of Men”, we witness an attempted drug robbery in a trailer park, which leads to a daring escape throughout the escalating battle between the bikers, the dealers, and the police. The action is fluid and loud, gritty and pristine. And, it’s all in one shot lasting roughly six minutes. To top it all off, we’re treated to the perfect Grinderman (Nick Cave!) tune to cap the episode with. Everything about this episode just comes together perfectly.
“Goddamn, I am so done talking to you like a man.”
Overall, this is great fucking television. “True Detective” has yet to have a bad episode, or even a relatively underwhelming one. Everything about it is just fantastic, and getting more so each week. “Who Goes There” sets a new bar for the series, and really, for crime drama as a whole. HBO has a real winner here, and I find myself actually kind of saddened that next season will consist of a new cast and plot. I’d watch these guys go as long as they were willing.