True Detective 1.03 Review: “The Locked Room”

Some might describe “The Locked Room” as an hour-long diatribe against Christianity – and while there is definitely some truth to that idea, there are “broader ideas” (to quote Rust) at play in another paralyzingly haunting hour of True Detectivechief among them the search for meaning in life. As the one animal on the planet that craves self-definition, us humans find ourselves in this morbid chase towards the light at the end of the tunnel – and whether it’s God, happiness, or inner peace we seek, it all eventually leads to the same place: death, the unending darkness that hangs above everyone in the world of True Detective. 

One of the many fascinating aspects of True Detective is how it uses the illusion of moral ambiguity to define its existential musings: Marty’s behavior isn’t one that represents the behavior of a complex, flawed man: it’s the behavior of a sociopath, a man who insists he isn’t a psycho while he chokes his mistresses’ date after seeing them together at a local watering hole. Marty clings onto an ideal of family and morality that he doesn’t abide to: but does it make him a “bad man”, or one that’s worse that Rust? Rust is just as disillusioned as Marty is (at least in 1995; the big distinction between them in 2012 is Rust’s ability to analyze and reflect on the events of the past), pretending that mowing Marty’s lawn wasn’t more than a favor, when in reality, Rust was desperately trying to feel like he was part of a family, something to moor himself to mentally and emotionally.



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