‘True Detective’ episode 5 review: Who is the Yellow King, and Rust corrodedFebruary 17, 2014
There are only three episodes left on “True Detective” before we come to the finale, and we are completely wrapped up in these characters and this mystery. We are staring in the face of the best show since “Breaking Bad.”
Every little facet of Sunday night’s “The Secret Fate of All Life” was so well-crafted from every angle that it is nearly beyond criticism, from the shifts in time to the constant shifts and questions about narrative integrity. At the center of all of this you have Matthew McConaughey’s Rust Cohle, a man brilliant as an investigator, but also so eccentric and haunted that you cannot ignore him as someone capable of great evil.
After all, it takes just two little words to transform him into a man enraged: “Yellow King.” These words stirred such vitriol that he ruined a confession for him, and suddenly a closed case was wide open once again. The death of Reggie LeDoux should have been the end of it, but even if it was, that death would have still been trouble. It exposed Martin Hart’s weak points as a guilt-ridden and frustrated father, interested in loving but only in moments of convenience. His mistakes paved a road that led to his daughters own actions when we flashed forward into the 2000s, and the scene we saw here with the slap informed his killing of LeDoux and that man’s mistreatment of children in another way. (For Hart, a standout moment was his perspective on his relationship with Maggie, while her eyes, even at a perceived “happy time,” told a very different story.)
Through the revelation that the killer may still be out there, the case was blown back open … but with Rust at the center of all of it. Something unknown happened to him in 2002 that caused him to lose everything. He’s gone off the grid, grown that freakish mustache, and is stalking old crime scenes. He’s gone from being the investigator to the suspect, which is such a bizarre dichotomy for a police show to take on. We still want to believe that he is a decimated man with good intentions, but that lonely scene at the very end, coupled with his violent reaction to the words “Yellow King,” tell a different story. Gilbough and Papania managed to even convince Hart that something was awry. It’s going to be tough for the writers to live up the hype and the tension they have created, but we are eagerly awaiting their attempt.
There is little else to say: “True Detective” is a show that will haunt you, linger you, and even inspire you if you are a creative person. It is putting all modern day police dramas to shame as a king in its own right. Grade: A+.
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