The second episode of True Detective delves even deeper into the lives and minds of our two main detectives, Cohle and Hart. The show opens with the detectives visiting Dora Lange’s mother’s house. She is visibly suffering, blaming her headache and molded nails on the fact that she worked in a dry cleaners for years.
We see the juxtaposition between the two men, Cohle waking up alone in his apartment, Hart waking up next to his wife with his kids running into the room. In the car, where most conversations between Cohle and Hart seem to take place, Cohle reveals to Hart that he was married and they had a daughter. His daughter was killed in a car accident. Hart’s sympathy seems genuine.
We immediately see Hart in a bar, talking about the first time he had sex in his uniform, an encounter that ended with a finger up his bum. Than Mr. Family Man Hart calls his mistress on a payphone, heads to her house and we see her C-cup breasts and her entire lower half, while Hart’s shirt is never removed. He justifies his infidelity by saying “You gotta take your release where you find it or where it finds you. In the end, it’s good for the family.”
We call BS. And so does his wife, clearly upset at her parents’ house and well into the family dinner later that night. We’d like to point out an event the show breezed over: Hart went upstairs to get his daughters for dinner and when they left the room, he noticed their dolls. A naked woman on the ground surrounded, closely, by 5 men, one bending over the woman. That’s all we’re gonna say because that’s all we saw, but it definitely felt wrong.
When Cohle talks about the death of his daughter to the present-day detectives he tells them he feels spared; the doctors told him she didn’t feel a thing. “Isn’t that a beautiful way to go out, painlessly as a happy child … As for my daughter, she spared me the sin of being a father.”
We also see Cohle tell the detectives how he ended up working undercover for 4 years. He shot a man who injected his infant with crystal meth in the belief doing so would purify his child. Four years later, Cohle has hallucinations that stem from his 4-year undercover drug stint.
The case slowly reveals itself alongside the lives of the detectives. Cohle learns about ‘The Ranch’ from a prostitute he bought Quaaludes from. She says he seems dangerous. His reply: “Of course I’m dangerous. I’m the police. I can do terrible things to people, with impunity.” Which he proves when he beats the hell out of some men because they weren’t cooperating with him and Hart. They follow their leads to ‘The Ranch’ where they acquire Dora’s diary.
Back at the police station a task force is developed to take over the case, but Hart and Cohle are given the rest of the month before they officially hand the case over. Hart and Cohle follow their lead to a burned-out church with a painting of a woman with antlers, similar to Dora’s body. It would appear that someone is trying to cover their tracks.