True Detective, S1E2: Seeing Things (Episode Recap)

Theme and plot analysis are contained in blockquotes throughout the recap.

TD2-1

Present-day Rust says he often thought of his wife and daughter when he couldn’t sleep. Then he says, “Something’s got your name on it, like a bullet…or a nail in the road.” Detective Papania asks for Rust’s opinion of the lattice being found in the Fontenot shed so many years after Marie’s disappearance. Rust agrees it was strange. He mentions Marie’s school closed down in 1992 after Hurricane Andrew and asks if that means anything to the detectives.

A “nail in the road” could be quite literal for Rust. We learn later in the episode that the day his daughter was put into a coma, she was playing on her tricycle in the driveway of their home, which sat on the bend of the road. My best theory, based on the scant details we get, is that a passing vehicle ran over a nail that burst one of the tires, causing the driver to lose control of the car. It careened onto Rust’s driveway and hit his daughter.

As we’ve already surmised, Gilbough and Papania suspect Rust is the Lake Charles killer (as well as the killer of Dora Lange), so it’s easy to pick up on the subtle incredulity of the two detectives’ line of questioning. Last episode, they asked how Rust knew to follow up with Danny Fontenot about a seemingly unrelated (and seemingly resolved) five-year-old missing child case. Rust shrugged and called it intuition. This episode, they convey how odd it was for the lattice to show up so many years after Marie Fontenot disappeared. Pay attention to their wording.

We’ll learn later why Rust is concerned with a closed school, but it’s not the first time Rust carefully prods for current case details from the two detectives. Pay attention to how he baits them. Again, Rust probably knows exactly what they suspect him of.

TD2-2

Young Rust and Marty inform Dora’s mother (Tess Harper) of her daughter’s death. She is genuinely saddened but not entirely coherent. Rust asks after Dora’s father, and she tells them Dora’s father died in a car accident more than ten years ago. She got the impression things were getting better for Dora, who visited about a month ago and said she was attending church. Rust and Marty ask about the church, but Mrs. Kelly suddenly gets a headache. She attributes the headaches and her bad fingernails to working in dry-cleaning for twenty years. Later in the car, Marty talks about his “Donna Reed“-type mother in contrast to Mrs. Kelly. He asks if Rust’s mother is alive. Rust says, “Maybe.”

The conversation with Mrs. Kelly is off-putting both due to her odd interjections and the overwhelming sense that she’s had a long, hard life. Her rhetorical question about Dora’s father not bathing “his own child” carries a couple of unspoken connotations, especially when Mrs. Kelly bristles when Rust asks if Dora and her father had any contact.

(misogyny) When Marty calls Mrs. Kelly a “piece of work” and praises his own Donna Reed-type mother as superior, he’s judging her for not living up to and conforming to a “traditional”, sexist ideal of the role of wife and mother.

Present-day Marty tells us Rust and his father lived in Alaska at one time and Rust’s father had served in Vietnam. Marty segues into talking about his own father, who never talked about his military service in Korea. Then he says, “There was a time when men didn’t air their bullshit to the world.” He gets back to Rust and theorizes that “part of Rust’s problem was there was things he needed that he couldn’t admit to."

(patriarchy, moral hypocrisy) Traditional gender roles certainly don’t just harm women. In this example, they reinforce a “boys-don’t-cry” attitude that requires men to bottle up any emotions traditionally associated with weakness or femininity. When Marty talks about men who “didn’t air their bullshit”, the disgust in his tone condemns encouraging men to express their emotions and anxieties. His contempt equates to gender policing. Then just seconds later, Marty says Rust’s problem was needing things that “he couldn’t admit to”, and yet men openly admitting their emotional needs is exactly what Marty just condemned. Moreover, Marty may also be wrong. Perhaps Rust couldn’t admit to needing comfort not because the patriarchy pressured him to keep it to himself, but because pessimism concluded that nothing could comfort him.

TD2-3

Young Rust and Marty talk to Dora’s friend Carla (Amy Brassette), who asserts that Dora was high the last time she spoke to her. She confirms that Dora said she was going to church and also tells them Dora mentioned a “shelter” for girls down near Spanish Lake. In voice-over, present-day Rust and Marty narrate a short passage of time during which they tried to piece together a narrative with little success. Back in the car, young Marty asks Rust why he didn’t leave when Chris called that night at Marty’s house. Marty finally learns that Rust had been anxious about being in Marty’s family’s company due to the loss of his two-year-old daughter. Marty is genuinely sympathetic.

Detective Gilbough asks present-day Rust about his marriage history. Rust only came close to marriage one more time with a woman named Laurie whom Maggie introduced to him. Rust describes what aspects of his personality gave Laurie cause to break it off with him. Gilbough wonders if the job did that to Rust, but Rust says, “Well, I can’t say the job made me this way. More like me being this way made me right for the job.” Then he says, “I know who I am. After all these years, there’s a victory in that.”

(realism/pessimism, hypocrisy as the norm) Going back to that Vulture.com interview with philosopher Paul J. Ennis, Ennis says of Rust that his “pessimistic realism is expressed…toward the narratives people build around themselves” and that Rust “expects people to be mired in self-deception”. Rust strives to avoid self-deception, which is why he is self-reflective (especially as opposed to Marty) and why he readily admits his faults. He contents himself with the knowledge that he doesn’t labor under a great deal of self-delusion.

TD2-4

Young Marty is at a bar with some other detectives. He tells them a story of a sexual interlude he had with a young female college student he pulled over on his third day as a cop. It’s implied that he engaged in a threesome. Present-day Marty talks to Papania and Gilbough about how “you got to decompress before you can go being a family man”.

As suspected, Marty is having an affair with Lisa Tragnetti (Alexandra Daddario), the court stenographer who dropped by CID headquarters in the first episode. Marty’s voice-over tries to excuse his infidelity as being “fair” to one’s wife and kids because, as he said earlier, it supposedly decompresses him. Young Marty goes to his mistress’s apartment, where they have sex.

(pessimism, hypocrisy as the norm; misogyny) Paul J. Ennis doesn’t just talk about Rust. Of Marty, he says, “Marty is a classic moral hypocrite… [He’s] a pragmatist who tries to navigate life by a series of codes of conduct. Not always good ones — men have codes for misbehaving… [He has] soaked up ideas of how to be a man and tries to live according to them (without reflecting on it all too much as he senses where that leads).” What all of this means is that, unlike Rust, Marty is drowning in self-deception. It’s morally hypocritical, of course, for Marty to suggest that his affair is “for the good of the family” rather than flat-out selfish and incredibly harmful to his marriage. Moreover, it’s misogynistic because not only does he assume that he (and not Maggie) is the only one regularly dealing with stress—and that his stress always takes precedence—but also because he thinks his infidelity is justifiable whereas a woman’s infidelity is cause for outrage.

Young Rust drives while present-day Rust and Detective Gilbough talk in voice-over. Gilbough asks what Rust means by his “visions”. We learn that Rust eventually told Marty about his occasional “chemical flashbacks” from his time in the HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program) where he spent an unusually long time undercover—four years. Young Rust manages to keep driving as the road in front of him blurs and speeds up in a visual portrayal of the kind of chemical flashbacks he suffered. Present-day Rust learns that the detectives didn’t know of his undercover work because the files are still sealed, which is more information he gleans from them rather than the other way around.

TD2-5

Young Rust buys a bottle of downers from Lucy, the sex worker he questioned at the truck stop. We can see bruises on her legs. Lucy offers Rust sex, but he declines. He asks her about any “rough trade”. Lucy says some johns “get touchy”. She says, “Something sets ‘em off and they’re like little boys.” Rust asks about other places to canvas, and Lucy talks about a place called “the ranch” near Spanish Lake. She says she senses that Rust might be dangerous. Rust readily admits, “Of course I’m dangerous. I’m police. I could do terrible things to people with impunity.”

(misogyny) Lucy’s observations about “touchy” johns is interesting. Contemporary feminists have observed the fragile nature of traditional masculinity. For example, in a blog post about sexist advertising, sociologist Gwen Sharp, PhD says, “femininity is depicted as weakness, the sapping of strength, yet masculinity is so fragile that apparently even the slightest brush with the feminine destroys it”. When masculinity is so narrowly defined, Lucy’s interactions with her johns are like navigating a minefield. Anything that threatens a john’s sense of self-worth, which our patriarchal society tells him is determined by his masculinity, demands an immediate defense, which in Lucy’s case means physical abuse. Hence, her bruises.

(realism; misogyny again) Rust’s assertion that his position as a police officer gives him the power to “do terrible things to people with impunity” is a straightforward characterization. He doesn’t attempt to deceive himself into thinking the proper checks exist to prevent him from abusing his power. We’ll see many examples of Rust holding back from abusing that power, and many examples of Marty taking advantage of that power to abuse people. I’ll point out those examples as I see them. One such example: Rust could have demanded a “freebie” from Lucy, who practically expected him to try, but he didn’t. In contrast, Marty’s story of pulling over a young female college student—and later having sex with her—implies he used his position of authority to get sex in exchange for not giving the young woman a ticket.

Back with Marty and his mistress, Marty asks where Lisa was one night when she didn’t answer his phone call. He doesn’t like that she was out with girlfriends because “there’s a crazy man out there” killing women. Lisa wonders how she’ll find a “nice guy” if she doesn’t go out, and Marty tries to take exception to her “passive-aggressive” comment. Lisa pointedly reminds Marty that a married man like him cannot give her all the things she wants. She then rightly points out that Marty wants to have his cake and eat it, too.

(misogyny) Marty is possessive of Lisa. He’s not actually trying to protect her from whoever killed Dora Lange; he’s using the case as an excuse to keep Lisa from having sex with other men. Not only is policing her fidelity misogynistic, it’s also morally hypocritical because he’s not faithful to his wife. He wants monogamy from Lisa and Maggie, but he doesn’t stay monogamous to one woman. Hence, he wants to "have his cake and eat it, too."

The next morning, Marty shows up to the station’s locker room still smelling like Lisa. Rust notices and tells Marty to wash up. Marty says, “Key to a healthy marriage,” but Rust isn’t buying that lie. He says, “Oh, that’s Maggie, huh?” This comment immediately sets off Marty, who pins Rust to the locker with the suspicion that Rust is implying he might know something about the smell of Maggie’s vagina. Rust points out that Marty is wearing the same clothes as yesterday “coupled with the fact that I’m not stupid”, insinuating that he knows Marty is having an affair. Eventually, Marty lets him go and leaves. Rust checks his pulse.

(pessimism, hypocrisy as the norm) Rust, a realist who strives to understand exactly the kind of person he is and who is sensitive to moral hypocrisy as well as the privilege and power such moral hypocrisy feeds, operates in contrast to Marty, who is the self-deceiving Everyman. Of Rust’s and Marty’s interactions, Ennis says Rust “often seems to test Marty at a very base, evolutionary level when it comes to masculinity and tellingly often comes out on top”. This scene is one such example. Rust recognizes that Marty is possessive of his wife, yet he cheats on her and has the gall to assign the word “healthy” to what he has done in an attempt to deceive him, which is why Rust says, “You got some self-loathing to do this morning, that’s fine, but it ain’t worth losing your hands over.”

Later, Rust and Marty ask a couple of men at a repair shop for directions to the ranch. The repair guys feign ignorance. In voice-over, present-day Marty praises Rust for having “as sharp an eye for weakness as I ever seen”. Marty gets back in the car, but Rust leaves his jacket and goes back inside to entice information with violence. He comes back outside with directions to the ranch.

TD2-6

At the ranch, the women immediately spot them as police. One can be heard saying, “Just trying to get some freebies.” The ranch’s white owner, Jan (Andrea Frankle), recognizes a photo of Dora. A young white woman named Beth (Lili Simmons) asks what happened. Inside Jan’s home, Rust and Marty talk to Beth, who confirms that Dora mentioned a church. They ask to look through a bag of Dora’s things that she left. Rust and Beth leave to get it.

While they’re gone, Marty chastises Jan for having an underage woman (Beth) working at the ranch. Jan asks what Marty would know about Beth’s situation, implying past abuse, neglect, and possibly molestation. Jan says Beth has a woman’s body, that she has made “a woman’s choice."

Marty insists that Beth is not at the age to make those kinds of choices and that she doesn’t look like a woman to him. Jan says, “Girls walk this earth all the time screwin’ for free. Now, why is it you add business to the mix, and boys like you can’t stand the thought? I’ll tell you. It’s ‘cause suddenly you don’t own it the way you thought you did.”

(misogyny) I think Marty’s interaction with Jan is tricky to deconstruct because both of them are right, though I wonder if Marty would have gotten nearly as upset if he'd learned a young man of Beth’s age was having and selling sex. Jan’s main point is a simplified distillation of much larger discussion of how American culture defines sex (and how messed up we are about it). Such a discussion is both too lengthy to include here and a little out of my wheelhouse, so I invite you to seek out discussions related to search terms such as “sex as a commodity”, “sexual agency”, the double standard between a woman’s “purity” and a man’s “purity”, and the hypocrisy of consuming pornography even while shaming those who perform it. A good start would be the collection of essays found in Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and A World Without Rape, especially “Toward a Performance Model of Sex” by Thomas Macaulay Millar and "Purely Rape: The Myth of Sexual Purity and How It Reinforces Rape Culture” by Jessica Valenti.

Rust and Beth return to Jan’s trailer with Dora’s bag. Before the detectives leave, Marty gives Beth some cash and tells her to “do something else”. On the way back to the car, Rust asks Marty, “That a down payment?” Marty describes what he just did as a “moment of decency”.

Rust reads from Dora’s notebook, “I closed my eyes and saw the king in yellow moving through the forest. […] The king’s children were marked. They became his angels.” We see a brief glimpse of a couple pages on which the following is written, “Strange is the night where black stars rise.” Rust reads aloud, “The king in yellow. Carcosa.” Marty and Rust both suspect drugs were involved somehow. Marty suggests looking around for some of Dora’s former johns when Rust finds a bright-yellow flyer in Dora’s notebook about a tent revival church.

(Chambers referenceThe King in Yellow has been referenced again, only much more clearly. Carcosa is also mentioned for the first time in the show, and  “black stars”—a reference to one of the few excerpts from the forbidden play—become an occasional visual clue. I’ll point those out when I can. Note the bright-yellow flyer, too. Yellow seems to be used to draw attention to something associated to or leading to the horrific truth of the case, or to the killer and his ilk.

TD2-7

Detective Gilbough asks present-day Rust about “Northshore” because much of his files are redacted. Rust explains that he spent four months at Northshore Psychiatric Hospital in 1993. He gathers the strength to say his daughter’s name, Sofia, and gives us some details as to how she died. He then skips to how his marriage to Claire subsequently fell apart.

He transferred from Robbery to Narcotics. He describes shooting and killing a “crankhead for injecting his infant daughter with crystal” in order to “purify her”. Rust’s only alternative to jail time was to be the state’s floater and to go to any agency in need of a deep undercover narco. After killing three cartel men on an undercover gig and getting shot three times himself, Rust ended up at Northshore. He turned down a psych pension and asked to be assigned to Homicide somewhere.

Again, Rust readily admits his faults as part of his vigilance against deceiving himself. Time and self-reflection have given him insight into why his marriage fell apart. He speaks frankly about Northshore and what, in general, his redacted Texas files contain.

TD2-8

Present-day Rust continues in voice-over as we watch young Rust in the car with Marty. Present-day Rust says he didn’t sleep much after the transfer, citing “nightmares, PTSD, exhausted nerves, whatever”, while young Rust apprehensively watches another hallucination. Detective Gilbough asks, “Why homicide?” Rust says he saw a quote from Corinthians while he was at Northshore: “The body is not one member, but many. Now are they many, but of one body.” Papania wants to know what that means, but Rust only answers, “I was just trying to stay a part of the body now.”

Young Marty and his family are visiting Maggie’s parents. While drinking beers on the lawn, Maggie’s father Jake asks Marty about his big case. Jake says, “Things like that didn’t happen [in] these parts when I was young. […] Everyone wasn’t out in the street, yelling about their rights.”

Inside the house, Maggie’s mother Amanda says to Maggie, “I’m just saying, if there’s a problem you can talk to me.” Maggie asserts, “If I have a problem with someone, I talk to them, Ma.” Amanda says she knows what it’s like being married to a man, and Maggie responds, “You think all men are the same, huh?” Amanda takes offense. Maggie tells her mother to stop confusing her with her soap operas. Amanda says, “Well, you beat up on what you can’t control. Makes it bad for everybody else.”

TD2-9

Back with Jake and Marty, Jake berates the “kids today, all in black” and how “everything’s sex”. He name-drops “Clinton” without further comment. Marty says, “You know, throughout history, I bet every old man has probably said the same thing…and old men die, and everything keeps spinning.” Jake takes offense. Maggie comes out of the house just as Marty approaches it from the back yard. Marty tries to make an excuse related to his case in order to get away from his in-laws, but Maggie isn’t letting him slip away by himself, so the entire family packs up.

I’m dissatisfied with the writing for this scene as well as the upcoming scene of Marty and Maggie arguing at home. The context is buried too deep. It’s not as bad with Jake and Marty, so we’ll start there. Jake’s comments strongly insinuate that he’s racist, or homophobic, or sexist—or all three. At the very least, he’s willfully ignorant of his privilege as a cis white straight man. When Marty rightly points out that Jake isn’t saying anything new, it’s satisfying to hear but seems strange coming from Marty, who is in many ways just a younger version of Jake. Either the writer messed up, or else Marty is unable to analyze his own beliefs and behaviors the same way he can analyze Jake’s—more of that self-delusion and moral hypocrisy.

As for Maggie and her mother, I wrote out practically all of their dialogue because I have no solid idea of what the hell they’re talking about. Why does Amanda think Maggie might want to talk to her and about what? Was Maggie not her usual self during their visit? Was there tension at the dinner table? We don’t know! Amanda suspects a rift in Maggie’s marriage, but does she suspect infidelity? Is it over Marty’s recent increase in workload? Is it simply that they seem to have grown apart? What does Amanda mean when she tells her daughter that she “beats up on what [she] can’t control”, thus making it “bad for everybody else”? Is she telling her daughter that Maggie “can’t control” Marty’s dick, so get over it? As a viewer, I certainly don’t like what seems like a cruel admonishment from Maggie’s mother, but the writing is way too coy.

We see a short montage of young Rust canvassing near Spanish Lake, taking pictures, and asking those he meets if they recognize a picture of Dora. Then we catch up to Marty and Maggie, who are arguing in their kitchen. Marty asserts, “Years we’ve been through this. Sweetheart, there is nowhere else I want to be.”

Maggie says he’s lying. Marty resents her complaints (he calls them “‘feel bad for me’ crap”) as well as her apparent failure to provide a place of “peace and calm” after he has worked “thirty hours straight and [has] spent the weekend listening to [her] dad’s bullshit”. Of Marty’s idea of home, where peace and calm are apparent guarantees, Maggie says, “Who told you that? It’s not always that way. It’s not supposed to be.” Marty says, “It’s supposed to be what I want. It’s supposed to help me.” Maggie insists they do help him.

TD2-10

Marty says, “What do you want me to say? You want me to talk about the woman, had antlers? Do you want me to tell you about the kids disappearing, and maybe you’ll stop with the ‘poor me’ little whiny bullshit?” Maggie wants to know if that’s really how he wants to “play this”. He says she’s the best thing that ever happened to him in the same sentence as declaring that she has a “penchant for self-pity”. Maggie says he has developed selective deafness, that he didn’t used to be so “chicken shit”. The argument winds down when Marty says even Maggie’s mom thinks she’s “a ball buster.”

Again, the dialogue is too coy, which is why I ended up writing out most of it. The context of their argument can really only be guessed at (my theory may not be what someone else gleaned), but it seems that, based on Marty insisting there’s nowhere else he wants to be, Maggie has raised concerns about the long stretches of time he spends away from home. Maybe she knows he drinks and doesn’t like the way he “decompresses”. Maybe she suspects him of cheating. Maybe she resents Marty trying to wriggle away from family obligations. I can see someone arguing that the exact context doesn’t matter, but that’s pretty much dismissing her complaints the same way Marty is dismissing them. Whatever is making Maggie (and also their daughters) unhappy is important. Therefore, it should be more clearly conveyed.

(misogyny) Maggie voices complaints about his behavior and instead of accepting her experience or engaging in even a second of self-reflection, Marty calls her dissatisfaction “self-pity”, which is probably why she accuses him of having “selective deafness”. When he talks about Dora Lange, he’s trying to derail and dismiss her complaints by one-upping her and prioritizing his needs. It’s also misogynistic to expect Maggie to provide a Donna Reed-type home environment (it’s certainly not a realistic expectation), which is why Maggie insists, “It’s not always that way. It’s not supposed to be.”

TD2-11

Maggie asks Marty to call their daughters to dinner. Marty goes to their room, where they are playing with dolls. Before Marty opens their door, we hear Audrey say to her sister, “You don’t have a mommy and daddy anymore. Yours just died in an accident.” After hustling his daughters to dinner, Marty sees several male dolls standing around a naked female doll, which is lying on its back.

This brief scene is the start of a thread concerning Marty’s elder daughter Audrey. To Marty’s credit, he notices and is concerned by what he sees. He doesn’t seem to do anything about it, though.

Present-day Rust says he thinks of the things his daughter was spared. “Sometimes I feel grateful,” he says. “Somewhere in that blackness, she slipped off into another deeper kind. Isn’t that a beautiful way to go out? Painlessly, as a happy child.” Detective Gilbough and Papania both admit to having children. Of having children, Rust says, “You got the hubris it must take to yank a soul out of nonexistence into this meat, and to force a life into this thresher.” He says his daughter spared him “the sin of being a father.”

(nihilism) Rust’s comments here relate to his nihilism, especially anti-natalist nihilism as Paul J. Ennis described in his interview: “As an anti-natalist, [Rust] subscribes to the old maxim of ‘better to have never been born.’ Better yet, many of these thinkers argue…that we should stop reproducing in order to end the cycle of existence.” Rust’s pessimistic realism has shown him that the world is a “thresher”, which is why he’s grateful that his daughter never had to take part in the cycle.

The three detectives on the task force: (from the left) Mark Daughtry (Jackson Beals), Ted Bertrand (Jim Klock), and Jimmy Dufrene (Garrett Kruithof)

The three detectives on the task force: (from the left) Mark Daughtry (Jackson Beals), Ted Bertrand (Jim Klock), and Jimmy Dufrene (Garrett Kruithof)

Young Marty arrives at CID headquarters to find Rust being introduced to the task force responsible for investigating occult-related crimes. Rust unhelpfully says he doesn’t “see the connection between two dead cats and a murdered woman”. Marty breaks for once and chuckles. Rust continues antagonizing them in front of Quesada, who later chastises him in his office. Rust says the task force is nothing but a political circle-jerk.

To Marty, Quesada voices concerns that their case—based on how long it’s been since the body was found—is likely going to remain unsolved. He thinks a task force willing to take it off their hands is the better option. Rust, despite a lot of vitriol from Quesada, describes the church lead they were going to look into that day. Marty asks how much time Quesada thinks he can give them to wrap up the case. Quesada gives them two weeks.

(pessimism, suspicion of institutions) Rust’s practically bald contempt for the task force and the “political circle-jerk” it represents is a straightforward manifestation of his suspicion of institutions.

Present-day Marty asks Gilbough and Papania if they want to know about the “big throwdown in the woods” (what Rust referred to as the “hero shot”). “Eventually, sure,” but the two detectives still want to know specifically how Rust worked the case up to that point, and Marty accuses them of thinking he’s too stupid to realize that they’re searching for holes in a narrative—Rust’s, to be specific. Gilbough changes the subject.

Marty has caught on to Gilbough and Papania’s suspicions about Rust. As I said near the beginning of this recap, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that Rust already figured as much, too.

TD2-13

Young Marty and Rust locate the church mentioned on the undated yellow flyer, but it’s burned out and abandoned. As Rust gets out of the car, a flock of birds lifts off the water nearby and briefly forms the same swirl pattern seen on Dora Lange’s back. Detective Papania asks present-day Rust, “Are you saying you were hallucinating on the job?” Rust says, “No. I mean, I could always tell what was real or what wasn’t, you know? So when I’d see things…I’d just roll with it.” Gilbough asks if he still sees things and Rusts replies, “No, they stopped altogether after I was clean a couple years.”

This brief exchange is crucial. It establishes something vital to a viewer’s interpretation of the show’s events: ambiguity. 1) It’s implied that Rust has told Gilbough and Papania about the birds, which is why they ask if he was hallucinating on the job. 2) Rust insists that he could always tell reality from hallucination, so that might insinuate that Rust mentioned the birds to Gilbough and Papania because, at the time, he felt he wasn’t hallucinating. The insinuation isn’t watertight, but the ambiguity remains. 3) Rust asserts that his chemical flashbacks stopped after he was clean for a while, which implies that 2012’s Rust doesn’t have hallucinations anymore. Keep this ambiguity in mind as you watch the show.

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Young Marty and Rust explore the abandoned church, the back-end of which has collapsed. An owl perches on the bare rafters. Behind a veil of foliage, Rust finds a figure of a woman painted on the church wall. The figure is at least partially nude and wears an antler-like crown. Of his visions, present-day Rust says in voice-over that “back then, most of the time I was convinced that I’d lost it, but there were other times, I thought I was mainlining the secret truth of the universe.” The camera pans up and out of the half-collapsed church to the watery fields abutting the ruin.

(Chambers reference) First, I find Rust’s “secret truth of the universe” comment to be very interesting as it invokes the “forbidden knowledge” theme common to stories by Robert W. Chambers, H.P. Lovecraft, and the like. Second, the camera ends up showing us two suns, which may refer to another line of the same excerpt from The King in Yellow play as what we saw in Dora’s diary: “Along the shore the cloud waves break,/The twin suns sink behind the lake,/The shadows lengthen/In Carcosa.”

TD2-15

See you again for Episode 3: A Locked Room.