The Scene of the Crime (Episode Summary): Cohle (Matthew McConaughey) and Hart (Harrelson) continue the murder investigation. Cohle seems more obsessed interviewing countless prostitutes to find the identity of the victim than Hart who seems more interested in cheating on his wife in order to “maintain a healthy marriage.” Eventually, the identity of the murdered woman is confirmed as a local prostitute who was getting mixed up in a new, shady church. Meanwhile, a new task force has been formed and is trying to take the case over and lump it into an occult/”war of Christianity” case that the governor is pushing. We’re also introduced to the effects of Cohle’s days as a deep cover narc — vivid hallucinations.
The Lead Investigator (Favorite Performance): McConaughey dominates. Since the show is set in two separate times (1995 and modern day), we see two, very different versus of McConaughey’s character which of course leads to two very distinct and terrific performances. In ’95, McConaughey delivers a more serious, raw and existential version of Cohle. In modern day we see the burnt out, jaded and self-loathing version of Cohle. McConaughey plays this older version of Cohle almost like a burnt out hippie that’s been through hell and is happy to be wallowing in a sea of alcohol and cigarettes. McConaughey portrays this older Cohle as a nihilistic, death driven, doesn’t give a damn rebel that has nothing to lose by telling the truth. It’s probably the stronger of the two performances right now as the younger Cohle is still evolving, but by season’s end this will probably be the most brilliant of the two performances.
They Could’ve Spared Us These Gory Details (Worst Part of the Episode): There’s this scene where Hart goes to get his daughters for dinner. The two girls excitedly run to dinner as their oft-absent father will be joining them. When they leave the room he sees their dolls on the floor and they’re posted in a gang bang-like pose. No, seriously. This was a bit of a call back to an earlier and equally pointless scene where Hart is talking to his father-in-law about today’s society and the father-in-law says the world is getting worse and worse. Harrelson’s character denies it, but now that he sees this toy arrangement it throws “doubt” into his mind about the world. It’s a very ham-fisted way of making a point and out of character for such a greatly produced show.
The Devil in the Details (The Little Thing You Loved): There’s an intense encounter between Cohle and Hart that not only shows the difference between these two detectives but it also serves as a foreshadow the massive “fall out” that’s been hinted at in the first two episodes.
The Debriefing (Thoughts on the Episode): There’s always a fear that a series that debuts as strongly as True Detective did that the second episode will be a huge letdown and will fall off dramatically in terms of production, writing and acting ability. Luckily with “Seeing Things” this was not the case. The intensity and intrigue was ratcheted up, but in a slow and steady way. True Detective is going for the slow build and it is taking it’s time in laying the groundwork for what could be a tremendously intense, brutal and flat out awesome finale.