True Detective, S1E5: The Secret Fate of All Life (Episode Recap)

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

TD5-1

A red truck with a white trailer pulls up to a roadside bar. Rust and Ginger are waiting inside. A white man with shaggy hair and a beard walks in. Ginger and Rust sit at a booth across from this man, who we learn is not Reggie Ledoux but someone who works directly with him (present-day Marty mentioned Duwall in the last episode).

Ginger makes up an excuse about the injuries to his face, and Rust starts in on his fake drug deal, “coke for crystal”. Duwall seems preternaturally suspicious and turns Rust down. Rust asks why, and the man leans forward to say, “I can see your soul at the edges of your eyes. It’s corrosive, like acid. You got a demon, little man, and I don’t like your face. It makes me want to do things to it.” Duwall chastises Ginger and says to Rust, “There’s a shadow on you, son.” He leaves.

(realism, self-deception; nihilism) As philosopher Paul J. Ennis put it in his Vulture.com interview, “This [anti-natalist, nihilistic] worldview is often correlated with self-destructiveness and I would say Rust’s fascination with murders, drugs, and the criminal lifestyle flower naturally from it.” Rust’s realism/pessimism (as opposed to his nihilistic views) also feed into his characterization. To quote Ennis again:

“[Rust] expects people to be mired in self-deception, and that allows him to dig deeper behind the masks they wear to obscure what is really going on. However, there is a price to pay for this and we see that such a bleak understanding of the world can also result in the recklessness that forms part of his character.”

It’s usually Rust who has an uncanny read on people, but Duwall (someone very close to the killer’s inner circle, if not a member of that inner circle) immediately picks up on the darkness in Rust. That awareness puts Duwall at the same level of bleak awareness as Rust, albeit on the self-serving and exploitative side of it.

Drawing Duwall out allows Marty to tail him back to whatever lair he came from. Marty and Rust stay in contact via radio, and Rust has Ginger tied up in his back seat. (We won’t see or hear of Ginger again other than a line Rust later tosses out about having Ginger “wrapped up in a ditch”.)

Papania and Gilbough ask present-day Rust how he found Reggie Ledoux, and Rust tells them he got a tip from an old C.I. (confidential informant), which…is true. He tells the detectives to show him the rest of the Lake Charles file if they really want his help, and Papania asks why Rust wants to see it so badly. Rust asks why they don’t want him to see it when he’s supposedly there to consult. Gilbough says to finish telling them about the Lange case, at which point they’ll show him the new file.

It’s getting more and more obvious that Papania and Gilbough didn’t bring Rust in to consult them about their new case, but we (and Rust, who’s pretty much just fucking with Papania now) have known that for a while.

TD5-2

Young Rust catches up to Marty, who admits he lost Duwall for a bit, but eventually found the turnoff Duwall used. They are very far from any main roads. Marty wants to call in backup, but Rust is certain that crowding the area with police will only scatter Duwall and Ledoux. Marty suggests they find the cook house before calling in backup. Rust agrees to the compromise.

Papania and Gilbough are ready to hear, in Marty’s words, what happened at the cook house. Marty insists that the way he tells it has never changed because “it only went down the one way”. He says in voice-over that Rust’s father taught Rust how to bow-hunt, and young Rust and Marty carefully follow Duwall’s trail, avoiding several anti-intruder devices as they go. They pass a tree in which several lattices are hung.

After crossing a wooden footbridge over a creek, Rust and Marty spot a few run-down buildings on the other side of a clearing, which Rust says is likely filled with mines. Duwall appears across the clearing, carrying a propane tank. He walks up to a door in a red boxcar and goes inside. Rust says he’ll hold position while Marty returns to their cars to call in backup, but Marty doesn’t believe Rust will stay put and says, “You ain’t doing this without me.”

Present-day Rust says they intended to call in backup since they had the location and had identified the suspects at the location, but it’s at this point that the story he and present-day Marty tell is actually far different from what we see happen. They say that their suspects started firing upon them as soon as they started backing away, but we see Rust and Marty approach the main house without any mishap. They split up, and Rust searches the house’s perimeter while Marty searches inside. Eventually, Marty comes up behind Ledoux (Charles Halford) and orders him to do the whole put-your-hands-up routine.

TD5-3

Marty gets Ledoux outside where Rust is waiting and watching for Duwall or anyone else. Marty gets Ledoux on his knees to cuff him. Ledoux says, “It’s time, isn’t it? The black stars…” Rust tells him to shut up. Marty continues investigating the house while he testifies in voice-over to the “shooting board”, giving them the same bogus story that present-day Marty is giving Papania and Gilbough. Outside, Ledoux is still going on about “the black stars rise” and Rust asks, “Why the antlers?” He doesn’t get an answer because Duwall emerges from the red boxcar. Rust goes through the put-your-hands-up routine.

Meanwhile inside the house, Marty finds what looks like the back of a cargo truck with a roll-up door that’s parked against the house. Outside, Rust orders Duwall to put down the plastic tub in his hands, and Ledoux behind him says, “I know what happens next. I saw you in my dream. You’re in Carcosa now with me. He sees you.” Rust calls for Marty, who opens the back of the truck and is shocked by what he finds inside. Ledoux says to Rust, “You’ll do this again. Time is a flat circle.” Rust calls him “Nietzsche” and tells him again to shut up.

(Chambers reference) Ledoux mentions “black stars”, which was written in Dora’s diary, and as I said in episode 2’s recap, “black stars” is a reference to one of the few excerpts from the fictional King in Yellow play. I included the origins of the Carcosa reference in episode 4’s recap, which, in its first usage by Ambrose Bierce, refers to an ancient, mysterious, dead city. Bierce’s contemporaries (Chambers, Lovecraft) referenced and expounded upon Carcosa. In-story descriptions of the city are often vague and told in hindsight or through second-hand accounts, giving Carcosa an ominous and mysterious nature. It seems to exist in a strange alternate dimension or far-off cosmic location “where black stars rise” and is the origin and seat of power of the eponymous King in Yellow. When Ledoux says, “He sees you,” “he” is probably the Yellow King, or one of his heirs or avatars.

I will discuss the “time is a flat circle” line later in this recap when present-day Rust talks of the “M-brane theory”.

Marty suddenly emerges from the house, walks right up to Ledoux, and shoots him in the head. Rust looks at what Marty did, realizes they’ve passed the point-of-no-return, and re-trains his gun on Duwall, who bolts into the clearing and dies on one of his own mines. Present-day Rust finishes up his and Marty’s fake story about Marty flanking the bullet-spraying Ledoux and killing him. The part about Duwall dying is accurate enough.

Young Marty is still reeling from what he did. Rust takes over, telling Marty to get the cuffs off Ledoux. Marty motions for Rust to look at something inside the house, and Rust finds the two children that Ledoux and Duwall were abusing. He goes back outside, having grabbed an assault rifle from somewhere on the property. Marty asks, “What do we do, Rust?“

Looking at Ledoux’s body, Rust replies, “Fuck him. Good to see you commit to something.” He tells Marty to see to the kids inside, takes up a position, and begins firing into the forest. Obviously, doing so will create evidence at the scene that supports their fake story. We watch Rust firing in slo-mo while he speaks in voice-over to the shooting board about how lucky they were not to get shredded by the AK he is firing on-screen. He says, “I can say that I walked away from the experience with a greater respect for the sanctity of human life.”

(pessimism, hypocrisy as the norm & suspicion toward institutions) Marty executing Ledoux is an important moment. When Rust, having seen the children inside the house, tells Marty, “Good to see you commit to something,” he’s glad to see Marty not only taking away Ledoux’s “power” but also completely circumventing the legal system to deliver what both of them see as plain and simple justice. No lawyers, no trial or plea bargain, no prison sentence. Immediately switching into cover-up mode also fits Rust’s characterization. As Paul J. Ennis said in his interview, “a nihilist could find drive, if not meaning, from undermining those with power,” so Rust has no qualms about deceiving and undermining the police and the law. It’s especially clear when he somberly delivers that line about having a “greater respect for the sanctity of human life” when we know very well that Rust is of the opinion that humanity should “stop reproducing [and] walk hand in hand into extinction”. He’s just telling the shooting board what they want to hear.

As we’ve already seen in episode 2 when Rust is talking to Lucy, Rust knows very well that his position as a police officer gives him the power to “do terrible things to people with impunity”, but as Ennis said, Rust is “sensitive to those…being crushed by various forms of power, which is often sustained by moral hypocrisy”. As we came across them, I pointed out examples of Marty using his power to abuse others or benefit himself as well as examples of Rust holding back from abusing his power. This entire ordeal, from going undercover without oversight to covering up the way Ledoux died, is a clear example of Rust using his power to undermine those powerful people or institutions who are morally hypocritical. Marty shooting Ledoux is, to Rust, an appropriate “misuse” of power, which is why he condones it.

TD5-4

Rust and Marty carry the two children out of the compound while present-day Rust talks in voice-over about the “twig sculptures” found at the scene as well as the LSD found that matched the LSD in Dora Lange. Everyone was certain they had caught the right guy for her murder. Rust tells the detectives about the two children. The boy, missing since January, had been dead less than a day. The girl hadn’t been reported missing yet and was catatonic when they found her. (We learn in episode 6 that her name is Kelly Reider.)

Present-day Rust broods over having to re-live that day. “Why should I live in history, huh? Fuck, I don’t want to know anything anymore. This is a world where nothing is solved.” As his younger self and young Marty return to CID headquarters, where they are applauded by the entire station, present-day Rust continues speaking in voice-over. “Someone once told me, ‘Time is a flat circle.’ Everything we’ve done or will do, we’re gonna do over and over and over again.” He laments that the two children, in a way, are doomed to be in that room again and again.

(nihilism) Present-day Rust said in episode 3, “Nothing is ever over”. This new iteration, “This is a world where nothing is solved,” is just same song, different verse. Note that he appropriated the “time is a flat circle” line from Ledoux.

TD5-6

Present-day Marty tells Papania and Gilbough about his promotion and how Rust got a commendation for bravery, “basically ’cause [Marty] insisted”. He mentions he and Maggie eventually reunited, and we see young Marty roller-skating with his two daughters. Maggie asks Marty if he had other women besides Lisa. He insists there weren’t and says he’ll go to his grave begging for forgiveness. Maggie says, “It’s not just the affair,” referring to other troubling behavior. He assures her he’s in a program called Promise Keepers for his excessive drinking.

Present-day Marty catches us up on the good years he and Rust had after the shootout. Marty had a few more good years of marriage to Maggie. Rust finally hit it off with one of the women whom Maggie introduced to him (this would be Laurie, whom present-day Rust mentioned in episode 2). We see the four of them at a nice dinner. Present-day Marty talks about Rust’s impressive job performance during this seven-year interval (“assists” refers to Rust helping other detectives solicit confessions during interrogation).

Gilbough asks Rust again for any secret he can pass on for a successful interrogation. Rust explains, “Everybody knows there’s something wrong with them. They just don’t know what it is. […] Everybody wants some cathartic narrative for it, the guilty especially…oh, but everybody’s guilty.”

(pessimism, hypocrisy as the norm) Rust’s lines here are pitch-perfect but redundant since Papania and Gilbough already asked this question and already got a similar answer from Rust. 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”. According to Rust, everyone is guilty of deceiving themselves, especially those who are criminally guilty.

We see Marty’s daughters playing on their front lawn as present-day Marty wonders aloud whether or not people realize it when they’re having good years. “Because there’s a feeling—you might notice it sometimes—this feeling like life has slipped through your fingers, like the future’s behind you, like it’s always been behind you.”

Marty then admits, “I cleaned up, but maybe I didn’t change, not the way I needed to.” Back with his daughters, the older one Audrey has stolen a ribbon-festooned tiara from her younger sister Macie. Marty comes back to the detective’s curse and says, “Solution to my whole life was right under my nose—that woman, those kids—and I was watching everything else.” Young Audrey throws her sister’s tiara into the tree in their front yard, where it apparently stays for that entire “good” period. Marty says his true sin wasn’t infidelity but inattention.

No, Marty. You’re a misogynist. Inattention is just a symptom.

Seven years later, most of the tiara’s ribbons are gone. Macie is in eighth grade. She comes home from school in her cheerleader outfit. Audrey, now sixteen, is given a ride home by her friends. She throws a cigarette butt out of the window, and beer cans fall out of the truck when she gets out. In contrast to Macie, Audrey wears heavy makeup and goth clothes. In contrast to Macie and her friend doing some kind of skirt-flip as a farewell gesture, Audrey and her friends flip each other off as a farewell.

Papania asks Marty when the relationship between he and Rust began to sour. Marty mentions the year 2002, but says the “changes” were happening in Rust’s life, not his own. We see younger Marty at the dinner table with his family, where he asks Audrey to explain her look to him. “What is it you’re going for?” he asks her. “What’s the message?”

Audrey insists there is no message. “It’s just me.” Marty doesn’t let it go and is about to bring up Macie as an counter-example to Audrey, but Audrey reminds him, “Women don’t have to look like you want them to, dad.” Marty, of course, doesn’t get it and tries to differentiate his teenage daughter from women as whole. He says he just wants to understand. Audrey says, “Who told you you had to understand?” Marty drops it and asks Macie about making the cheerleading squad.

(misogyny) Audrey and Macie are practically personifications of the “virgin/whore” binary, and the writing never subverts this binary. Yes, it gives Audrey a couple of lines to explain to her father that she’s just herself no matter how she dresses, but both Audrey and Macie aren’t given any real characterization to portray them as complex human beings. Macie is barely there as a character, and Audrey doesn’t have it much better. Rather than accept his daughter the way she is, Marty insists Audrey rationalize and explain her “deviation”. Marty sees one daughter performing femininity the “right” way and the other daughter performing it the “wrong” way. The audience is meant to see the same thing, and we’re never explicitly shown that, like young women in real life, both Audrey and Macie are just people.

TD5-7

Young Rust sits on the couch with Laurie while she channel-surfs, and he looks discontent. Gilbough asks present-day Marty what happened between Rust and Laurie, and Marty replies, ‘What always happens between men and women? Reality.”

Young Marty pulls into his driveway. It’s late at night and Audrey is in the front passenger seat. We learn when they go inside to where Maggie is waiting that a “deputy found [Audrey] parked in a car with two boys” and “in states of undress, you know…like fucking”. The two young men are of legal age and Audrey is not. Marty says he hasn’t decided whether or not to press charges for statutory rape. Audrey doesn’t want him to do that. Maggie asks what Audrey was thinking. Marty wants to know what is wrong with Audrey and says she’s the “captain of the varsity slut team”. Maggie doesn’t like his language, Audrey says “fuck you”, and Marty slaps her for it. Audrey goes to her room and doesn’t let Maggie in.

(misogyny) Major parenting fail from both Marty and Maggie, but Marty especially. They don’t ask about Audrey’s safety (e.g. does she understand consent and was it consensual, did she and the boys practice safe sex). They don’t ask how she feels about becoming sexually active (e.g. does she understand all the emotions surrounding sex and relationships). Marty doesn’t give her opinion any weight when it comes to deciding whether or not to press charges. Maggie at least disapproves of Marty calling his own daughter a slut, but it doesn’t absolve her of focusing on the entirely wrong thing, and she doesn’t do nearly enough to stand up for her daughter.

Most of all, Marty calling Audrey a slut is both misogynistic and morally hypocritical. She had sex. It’s what human beings tend to do, and sex isn’t a finite resource. It isn’t something that reduces a woman’s value the more she engages in it.

Marty not only cheated on his wife, but has also been in a threesome. He gladly boasted the entire story to his co-workers at a bar in episode 2. Even if the story is made up, he condones having multiple sex partners. Does that mean he’s a slut, too? It’s morally hypocritical for Marty to demand that Audrey adhere to a “higher” standard of conduct while not being “too hard on [himself]” when he doesn’t also adhere to it. It’s misogynistic to demand chastity only because Audrey is a young woman and to condemn behavior in which he frequently and unrepentantly engaged.

Present-day Rust explains the “M-brane theory” to Papania and Gilbough:

“In this universe, we process time linearly forward, but outside of our space-time, from what would be a fourth-dimensional perspective, time wouldn’t exist, and from that vantage, could we attain it…? We’d see—our space-time would look flattened, like a single sculpture with matter in a superposition of every place it ever occupied, our sentience just cycling through our lives like carts on a track. See, everything outside our dimension, that’s eternity…eternity looking down on us. Now, to us, it’s a sphere. But to them, it’s a circle.”

(nihilism) The physics of the theory are fortunately less important to understanding the show’s themes than the philosophy of the theory. Keep in mind Rust saying “nothing is ever over” and “nothing is ever solved”. Also recall that when Ledoux was handcuffed and spouting things off, Rust called him “Nietzsche”. Ennis tells us, “The more subtle existential angle [Rust] is touching on is the ‘eternal recurrence of the same’ that Nietzsche introduced. … [T]he greatest horror for us is not to die, but to live the same lives on repeat for all eternity. In Nietzsche, this notion is designed to shake us up out of our passive lives. The challenge being, to paraphrase, whether you would be willing to carry on as you do if you knew it would all happen again (eternally).” I think present-day Rust has gone from thinking that history figuratively repeats itself to thinking history literally repeats itself, and the idea that he cannot escape the darkness and violence in his life, even through suicide, is the bleakest part of his characterization. The notion commiserates with the idea that life is a dream or a trap, and that human consciousness is an illusion.

Papania and Gilbough look overwhelmed during this explanation. Rust quietly contemplates the flattened beer can in his hands and Gilbough asks him what happened in 2002. Since we know Marty and Rust haven’t spoken to each other for ten years, it’s likeliest that Gilbough is referring to them having a falling out.

Young Rust sits in an interrogation room with a suspect named Guy Leonard Francis (Christopher Berry), having been called for yet another “assist”. Rust lays out how Francis has screwed himself with inconsistent explanations and suggests Francis “plead impairment”, which he explains as meaning that Francis “cannot be held accountable for [his] actions”. Francis is eager to go with a defense where he is blameless due to being “shit hammered”. Rust says that defense will work if Francis can show “the difference between that madman in the pharmacy who blew them two people away and the man who’s sitting here right now”, including shock and remorse. He gets Francis to admit that he recalls what he said to the pharmacist prior to killing him and reveals that Francis just confessed to murder.

TD5-8

Francis tries another tactic and says he wants to make a deal. “I know things,” he says. He brings up the Dora Lange case, which he knows Rust worked, and insists, “Y’all never caught the man that did that. He’s been out there killing.” Rust doesn’t believe him. Francis says he met the killer once. “There’s big people who know about him, big people.”

Rust still doesn’t believe him, but Francis finally says, “I’ll tell you about the Yellow King.” Rust is shaken and then angered. He begins hitting Francis and demanding a name. Other detectives have to enter the room and stop him. Rust still wants whatever information Francis mentioned, but assaulting Francis made his confession inadmissible in court, so getting that information may have become very difficult. Rust vows to return the next day.

We see Marty look at a belt buckle in his locker at work. The year 1982 is engraved on the buckle. He looks at his hair and body in the mirror with resignation. In voice-over, present-day Rust says, “In eternity, where there is no time, nothing can grow. Nothing can become. Nothing changes. So death created time to grow the things that it would kill, and you are reborn, but into the same life that you’ve always been born into.” He asks the detectives how many times they’ve had their conversation in that room about the Dora Lange case. “When you can’t remember your lives, you [therefore] can’t change your lives…and that is the terrible and the secret fate of all life. You’re trapped by that nightmare you keep waking up into.”

(nihilism) Rust’s lines here are the end-cap to his interpretation of Nietzsche’s concept of the “eternal recurrence of the same”, which, as Ennis believes, was meant to “shake us up out of our passive lives”, but Rust doesn’t see how anyone could do that “when you can’t remember your lives, [and therefore] can’t change your lives”. He reiterates that life is a “nightmare” you’re doomed to wake up into and re-live anew. His thoughts here mirror the things Ledoux said before Marty shot him.

Young Rust and Marty head to Abbeville. Rust has told Marty about Guy Francis, and Marty wants to know what’ll happen if they get good information from him. Rust affirms that Reggie deserved to die, that it was justice, but that he’s not “ruling out other agencies”. Marty asks what that means. Rust lists the people who name-dropped the Yellow King and when Marty asks why there haven’t been more murders like Dora Lange, Rust proposes that they simply didn’t know to look for any new cases with ties to the Lange case. He brings up the task force from ’95 and Marty laughs at the suggestion that “the task force was in on it”. Unfortunately, when they arrive in Abbeville, they discover that Guy Francis committed suicide in his jail cell.

TD5-9

Rust and Marty watch a video feed of the cell block. There’s no audio. Francis is escorted from his cell to take a phone call from his lawyer. Upon returning, nothing is seen on the video feed for three hours until his blood puddles into the hall. Rust asks to see the phone logs and asks for the names of the two officers that escorted Francis from and back to his cell. Their names are Childress and Mahoney. Rust, Marty, and one of the two detectives in charge of Francis’ double homicide (Detective Terrence) track the incoming phone number used to call Francis just hours before his suicide. It’s a payphone in the middle of nowhere; only a water treatment plant(?) is nearby.

Childress is a name we’ve heard before. Back in episode 1 when Rust and Marty were looking for a connection between Dora Lange and the missing-persons report for Marie Fontenot (marked as “report made in error” back in 1990), they talked to Sheriff Tate, whose predecessor Ted Childress was sheriff at the time of Marie’s reported disappearance.

Rust asks Detective Terrence to try to get prints off the payphone and tells Marty the obvious, that no kind of lawyer would make calls from there. Rust asks after Francis’s relatives and Terrence mentions a few sisters, nieces, and nephews. Marty wants to know how a phone call connects to the suicide, and Rust helps him get there. “Somebody might’ve told him something, gave him no choice”, i.e. kill himself or his relatives would suffer.

Gilbough asks present-day Marty if Rust mentioned Billy Lee Tuttle once he “got going on this thing again”, to which Marty says, “You know that he did.” We learn Tuttle died in 2010, supposedly due to “mixed medications”, which was right around the time Rust reappeared in Louisiana. Marty demands to know why Papania and Gilbough are so focused on Rust.

TD5-10

Young Rust is driving to the old Dora Lange crime scene. He passes the now-faded and half-ruined billboard about Stacy Gerhart that he spotted in episode 1. A new, small lattice hangs from the tree under which Dora was found. Even more interestingly, a circular stick sculpture has been placed right where Dora’s body was found at the base of the tree. Its shape is reminiscent of the spiral drawn on her back and branded on Reggie’s back.

Though people have drawn designs of the Yellow Sign, there’s no “official” look. For this show, the spiral shape is the Yellow Sign.

Back with present-day Marty, Gilbough drops a new folder in front of him and says Rust’s stories “don’t add up”. Marty asks why they don’t talk to Rust instead, and Papania admits they already did (remember, Rust’s interview took place five days before Marty’s). Marty smiles and says, “Well, if you two talked to Rust, you weren’t getting a read on him. He was getting a read on you.”

Young Rust searches the police database for reports “made in error” like Marie Fontenot’s. Then we see someone perusing the photos and documents in a file, which is for the new Lake Charles victim: Stephanie Kordish, age nineteen. You might think it’s Marty looking through the file Gilbough just gave him seconds ago, but it’s present-day Rust looking at what’s surely a trimmed-down version of their case information. He asks, “This is all you got?” and scoffs that they didn’t check old unsolved crimes. Papania wants Rust to “stop dancing with [them]” and admit how he’s really been spending his time. Gilbough wants a private word with Papania, so they leave. Papania smirks as he gets up, but Rust smirks right back.

As I’ve said before, Rust knows exactly what Papania and Gilbough suspect him of—and Marty knew Rust well enough to know that Rust would figure it out almost immediately, which is why he said to the detectives, “[Rust] was getting a read on you.”

Young Rust re-visits the Light of the Way school and starts searching inside. Then we return to present-day Rust. Gilbough and Papania re-enter, and Gilbough shows Rust photos of the civilians gathered near the Lake Charles crime scene once word of the murder got out. One of the people outside the police tape is Rust. He asks how they kept the Lake Charles murder out of the news, wondering if they’ve got friends in high places, and Papania returns to Rust’s presence at the crime scene—not just once, but five times over the last month.

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Present-day Marty is looking at the crowd pictures and getting the same story from the two detectives about Rust being at the crime scene. They’re hung up on how he disappeared in 2002, how he reappeared in 2010 when he renewed his driver’s license, and how his activities over those eight years are unknown. They mention that Rust wouldn’t let them see what what was in his storage locker. Young Rust continues to search the school, and present-day Rust tells the detectives they’d need a warrant to see inside his storage unit. He says, “Christ, try working a case.”

Gilbough and Papania finally lay down their theory about Rust framing Ledoux and Duwall for murders he committed and “pulling all the right old murders” to “take the case wherever [he] wanted it to go”. They theorize that he committed the murders while blacked out on drugs, and Rust just smiles at them. He tells them to arrest him if they’re so sure, to come on then if they’re going to follow him, but that they’ll still need a warrant if they want to see inside his storage unit. He leaves the station.

In the school, young Rust comes across white-bodied figures painted on a wall. They appear to have halos of some sort and each has a spot or two of red on their heads or where their eyes should be.

Present-day Marty tells Gilbough and Papania that they’re wrong. Gilbough reminds Marty that he’s been telling them all day of the weird stuff Rust used to say. Papania wants to know if Marty really thinks Rust, who the left job as a “burnout” and who was rumored to be a “junkie”, is a “stable individual” or that “ten years on the sauce has made him more reasonable”.

Gilbough reiterates that Marty only knew Rust three months before they caught the Dora Lange case, that Rust provided every piece of evidence and pushed the case where he wanted it to go. They speculate that Rust was the person who called Guy Francis from the middle-of-nowhere payphone and that when Rust revived the Lange case in 2002, he was simply “looking for a new patsy”. Present-day Marty says the detectives have “given [him] a lot to absorb”. Gilbough agrees and implores Marty to help them with any information. They mention Marty and Rust’s “altercation” again.

Young Rust enters another classroom and finds a dust-covered lattice on one of the desks. Another one sits on a stack of rotten books. A particularly large stick sculpture that looks almost like a chandelier sits on the floor. Rust puts on latex gloves and carefully picks up one of the smaller lattices to hold it up to a beam of light coming in from a window above him. The camera pans back, and we see several black stars drawn on the busted glass of a window between the classroom and the hallway. The camera pans out farther, and we see that the black stars are part of a mural depicting a forest that covers the outside wall of the classroom.

TD5-12

(Chambers reference) I’ve circled the black stars in the screencap. Note how the stars and mural surround Rust. The stars and the lattices tell us the school is definitely related to the killer/the Yellow King. Once we near the end of the season, however, the particular direction of that relation will be a little ambiguous.

See you again for Episode 6: Haunted Houses.