The case moves forward in the third episode of True Detective. Hart and Cohle begin at the edge of The Bible Ministry, the traveling tent church they’ve been looking for. Cohle’s contempt for religion and its followers is obvious. Hart points out that they know nothing about these people, Cohle’s response: these people have a “Propensity for obesity, poverty … putting what little bucks they do have in the wicker baskets being passed around, I think it’s safe to say no one here’s gonna be splitting the atom.” He has an absolute lack of respect, but who can blame him? We know enough about Cohle’s life already to have compassion for him.
Hart tells the present day detectives it was Cohle’s persistence that there was a serial killer that led to them cracking the case.
Back to the past: Hart comes home to find Cohle in his kitchen. Cohle returned the lawnmower and happened to mow the lawn as a favor. Hart follows Cohle outside and instead of saying he doesn’t like Cohle alone in his house, he says, red-faced and angry, “I just don’t ever want you mowing my lawn. I like mowing my lawn.” And that is the main difference between Hart and Cohle. While Cohle is saying, “If the only thing keeping a person decent is the expectation of divine reward, than brother, that person is a piece of s**t,” he is being honest. Then we have Hart, the kind decent family man who preaches “The rest of us had families, people in our lives, good things, people give you rules, rules describe the shape of things.” He says what everything we’d expect to hear from him. But we also see him go to his mistress’ house and beat up the guy she was earlier on a date with.
While we might be pre-disposed to like the family man better, I think deep down we all know who to trust, and that’s the honest man who has nothing to lose.
The following day Cohle finds a woman who he believes is another victim of his serial killer. The main piece of evidence is a symbol on her shoulder in the shape of a spiral. They find the victim’s grandfather, Henry, and he points them in the direction of a man she was dating, Reggie Ledoux. They discover that Reggie knew Charlie Lange, Dora Lange’s ex-husband. The pieces begin to fall together and we see the two detectives share a moment — of what we’re not quite sure — but it was a positive.
Present-day Hart alludes to a shoot-out while present-day Cohle ends the show with a description of death. He says he saw the same look on every face, a look of relief. Relief from having to live life with such tight boundaries, having to be real, “All your life … it was all the same thing, the same dream, a dream that you had inside a locked room. That dream about being a person, and like a lot of dreams, there’s a monster at the end of it.” We see the monster as Cohle’s voice is carried through the wind to an overgrown yard with a tattooed man dressed only in a loin-cloth wearing a gas mask and carrying what appears to be a large knife.
And that, folks, is the end to this episode.