True Detective Deleted Scene: What Happened to Laurie?
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True Detective Deleted Scene: What Happened to Laurie?

By Courtney Enlow | Videos | March 13, 2014 | Comments ()


Rust Cohle’s relationship with Laurie Perkins (Elisabeth Reaser, who you know I adore) is a prime example of the few issues I had with True Detective’s first season. It was a potentially interesting dynamic that was spoken of as though it was meant to be meaningful, then unceremoniously dropped due to the time constraints of the show. Which is something I understand, but for a show so meticulously plotted, it should have been strategized better, and they hopefully learned that lesson and will plan better for season two. The DVD release will be interesting if for no other reason than the presence of deleted scenes. And today we got one that shows the fate of poor Laurie.

This deleted scene, showing the end of Rust and Laurie’s doomed relationship is, as Slate said, a tad on the nose. But it feels real. Rust is a deeply flawed, broken character. Anyone involved with him would want to fix him—not just in a dating relationship, but any relationship, just like we saw with Marty and at times Maggie. Rust might be a genius, he might be crazy, or he might be, as Laurie says, just an asshole who’s a little smarter than most.

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All told, it’s probably best this was cut. A fight about Laurie’s desire to have children would not have helped the show’s perceived “woman problem,” though I might be the only person on the internet who doesn’t particularly agree with the misogyny angle against this show, and in fact totally disagrees with any criticism or dismissal of Maggie. But that’s a digression for another day, hopefully after we get more deleted scenes. Because that was a fascinating character and I have a way bigger issue with critics writing her off as nothing more than a scorned wife.

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  • John G.

    Sorry, this is not really relevant to this post, but it may be our last True Detective post in a long time and I wanted to share with people this amazing theory I read on Reddit. I posted it very late in the last True Detective thread, but people might be more likely to read it here.
    theory by this guy (

    True Detective is a Metafictional Show about Characters Who Are Driven to Madness By The Incomprehensible Revelation That They Are Works of Fiction

    I believe that this is what’s really going on in this show. The real message is about the audience’s masochistic relationship with the characters, and our endless insatiability for flawed, downtrodden heroes fighting against evil that is never vanquished. From book to book and show to show and movie to movie, we keep telling the world’s oldest story about good versus evil, light versus dark, endlessly, circularly. How many times has Jesus been tortured to death by the Romans? How many times has Wendy Torrance been chased around the Overlook Hotel with an axe by Jack, running for her life? How many times has Little Red Riding Hood learned of her grandmother’s death at the hands of the Big Bad Wolf?

    Nic Pizzolatto has said in interviews that the message of the show, and all we really need to understand it, is contained within the first episode. A couple of major lines by Rust stick out here.

    I think human consciousness, is a tragic misstep in evolution. We became too self-aware, nature created an aspect of nature separate from itself, we are creatures that should not exist by natural law. We are things that labor under the illusion of having a self; an accretion of sensory, experience and feeling, programmed with total assurance that we are each somebody, when in fact everybody is nobody.

    People out here, it's like they don't even know the outside world exists. Might as well be living on the fucking Moon.

    This place is like somebody's memory of a town, and the memory is fading.

    And by episode three, we get a little bit more:

    …all your life, all your love, all your hate, all your memories, all your pain, it was all the same thing. It was all the same dream, a dream that you had inside a locked room, a dream about being a person.

    What's it say about life, hmm? You gotta get together, tell yourself stories that violate every law of the universe just to get through the god damn day. Nah. What's that say about your reality, Marty?

    People... I have seen the finale of thousands of lives, man. Young, old, each one so sure of their realness. You know that their sensory experience constituted a unique individual with purpose and meaning. So certain that they were more than biological puppet.

    Let’s not forget classics like:

    Someone once told me time is a flat circle. Everything we've ever done or will do, we're gonna do over and over and over again. And that little boy and that little girl, they're gonna be in that room again, and again, and again, forever

    Rust may just seem like a pessimistic asshole, but really, it’s just that his character can at least somewhat understand the nature of his universe.

    And remember Joel Theriot’s sermon?

    This world is a veil and the face you wear is not your own.

    The Light of the Way ministry seems to have knowledge of this too.

    And LeDoux before he gets his brains blown out?

    It's time isn't it? The black star. Black stars rise. I know what happens next. I saw you in my dream. You're in Carcosa now, with me. He sees you. You'll do this again. Time is a flat circle.

    Whereas the Light of the Way adherents have glimpsed into their true nature and chosen to believe that, when they feel hollow and unknown, that god is watching, and whereas the cult members believe that they serve the watchful Yellow King, Rust sees beyond the void and tells himself that there is nothing, that there is just a cold universe in endless cycles of pain and degradation as the same little girls are abused again and again with every retelling. He does posit the possibility of the existence of an audience or controllers external to his universe:

    It's like in this universe, we process time linearly forward but outside of our spacetime, from what would be a fourth-dimensional perspective, time wouldn't exist, and from that vantage, could we attain it we'd see our spacetime 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."

    But by and large he believes that his and others’ existences are pointless.

    Self-Awareness of the Cosmic Horror

    This is where the Lovecraftian elements begin to resonate more. Weird fiction and cosmic horror is typified by curious characters driven to insanity by forbidden knowledge. The more they learn, the greater the horror they experience. In Chambers, it is the revelations of the full text of the King in Yellow that break peoples’ souls and minds, driving them to suicide and other madness. In much of the Lovecraft/Cthulu mythos, it is catching a glimpse of the Old Gods or the world beyond the ordinary plane of existence. To gain even a modicum of understanding that the world is not what it seems, and you are at the mercy of all-powerful malevolent beings who are indifferent or actively hostile to your existence. You can only ever help to win the battle, never the war. In True Detective, the audience are the Old Gods and cosmic beings. Carcosa is the world beyond the scenes in the story True Detective, that includes other works of fiction containing boundless evil that is fought pointlessly, over and over again across infinity, and the Yellow King is some character[1] from Carcosa, the world beyond theirs, that drew worship from the cult.

    This is what the show is about. Characters that live their lives on rails, dreaming that they are people, at the whims of an audience with a remote control, and the writer who tells them what to say and what to do. The writer visits horrors upon them, which we the audience demand. Hell, we even get the wonderful cameo of Nic Pizzolatto showing up as a bartender and getting asked by Marty why he makes him say the shit that he does. It’s a wry moment that rises above a cameo. It is the creator taunting one of the unaware characters, for Marty has chosen to believe in the religious explanation of the nonsensical world, and will never accept that he has been designed to suffer for our amusement. This masochistic taunting arrives again in the epilogue, as Rust laments that he was face to face with Erroll way back in 1995 – that he saw him – but was unable to notice him right in front of him because the story wasn’t written that way.

    The Doors of Perception, and What Errol Childress Sees

    Even the characters that catch a glimpse of the world beyond theirs still cannot comprehend our existence. I posit that drug use has something to do with how characters in this series become self-aware. Most of the audience is probably familiar with the notion that many cultures, including some people in our present culture, believe that perception-altering drugs like LSD can open our minds to a true nature of the universe. To see beyond the world in front of us. Imagine in the world of True Detective that this is also the case, and actually has truth to it. Rust, Eroll, the LeDouxs, Dora Lang, and the pharmacy robber, all have a history of drug use. Rust makes frequent mentions of his hallucinations following his time in vice. At least that is the story he tells himself. For what else can it mean when he sees the other-worldly spiraling of birds, or peers into the cosmic vortex?

    Erroll Childress has fallen deep into this rabbit hole. He sees beyond the cracks through to Carcosa, where he adapted the Yellow King he saw into an object of worship for his acolytes. But there is evidence that he sees far more. In the final episode, we see that he leaps between accents and characters from other works of fiction, and talks about ascension to another plane. He has looked out through the abyss and found another world, clearly believing that his murders bring him ever closer to it.

    He even seems to be aware of the author, and the audience. And while the acolytes only seem able to recite bits and pieces of the notion that they are on repeat, being watched by someone who is everywhere and everywhen all at once. I also posit that Erroll’s murders are being performed in defiance of the audience and the writer. He is marking his symbols and his signs throughout the series to insist that he is coming for us, that he does not answer to us. When Rust, acting as the agent of the writer and the audience demands that Erroll drop to his knees, he says only “NO”.

    In the maze of “Carcosa”, he projects his voice as omnipotent, giving directions to Rust and calling him a “Little Priest”. This is because Erroll sees Rust as a servant of the Old Gods sent to contain him. He invites Rust to “Take off His Mask”, to release the illusion that he is a person, and to ascend with him after he witnesses the portal between worlds, to eschew his fate as the character that puts him down at the behest of the writer and audience looking to neatly tie up their masochistic story. Rust instead chooses to kill him, finding happiness in the brief moment of remembrance of the love of his imagined father and daughter, dooming himself to endlessly repeat the cycle for a fleeting moment of optimism.

    What does this say about us as an audience?

    I think it’s pretty obvious how this reading of the show serves as a commentary on the audience’s obsession with stories of pain and suffering leading to vindication. Is there a sociological explanation for it? Nic Pizzolatto makes no attempt to hide that a big influence on True Detective was an actual case of satanic child abuse in Louisiana in the 90s.

    We tell ourselves these stories, the oldest stories, to contain and forget the horrors of our existence. “The world needs bad men. We keep the other bad men from the door”. This is another core element of Lovecraftian horror – that civilization is under threat of darkness and barbarism, and we are under threat of falling to destructive decadence in a constant battle against evil. Against this backdrop of evil and darkness, humanity tells ourselves stories about small points of light. Fighting for the triumph of civilization against what might be the inevitable, and this is the final image True Detective leaves us with.

    The only questions that remain, then, are whether this is moral of us. Are we culpable for the pain and suffering of the characters that we create in the dimensions that we control to feed our need for complacency against our own cosmic horrors? What if those characters become self-aware? Are we still culpable for demanding that they suffer ceaselessly for a small moment of catharsis before enduring it again and again on our command? What if they wanted something else for themselves? What if the same fate awaits us?

    These are the questions you should be left with after watching True Detective. Not whether Rev. Tuttle is the Yellow King or if the color of Marty’s tie has any significance, or if his wife was a member of the cult. Those are not important. This is not a story about twists or hidden plot devices. This is a story about your responsibility as a viewer to the characters you compel into existence, and why you do it.


    Audrey draws the sex scenes and arranges her dolls like one of the ritual murders because she too can see through the cracks of her reality. We learn that later in life she takes to modifying the dosage of medication, so a small leap to the possibility that she was taking medication from a very young age could lend credence to the idea that she was simply able to perceive those events by peering into other scenes of the show around her. Mystery solved.

  • manting

    Thanks for posting this.

  • Three_nineteen

    So, Pizzolatto is following in the footsteps of Jasper Fforde and (to a lesser extent) Stephen King?

  • This!

  • kinoumenthe

    I don't agree with the misogyny angle on true Detective either (and I'm usually rather strict in my judgement of that particular thing).
    The context of the story is clearly misogynous, but in the treatment of the story, I didn't feel the women were being done such a bad turn. They received a pretty fair treatment as a part of context that didn't need to be too deeply explored of developed (and indeed, letting viewers think that there was something there to be explored is probably one of the few problems of the show).
    The focus always was clearly on the Rust-Marty duo. I can only hope that next season's main protagonists (who I read are to be women) will receive the same focused and nuanced treatment.

  • The scene works fine for me.

    - We know Cohle's state 10 years after this scene.
    - We know Cohle's feelings on procreation after his daughter's death.
    - We know how his daughter's death continues to haunt him till the end of the show.

    Given all that, it's no surprise this would have ended the way it did. If anything, I think it does a fine job of also stripping Cohle of some of his armor by having Laurie poignantly point out that he's no different than most other assholes, just smarter than most.

  • lowercase_ryan

    Just tell me when I can pre-order the Blu-Ray box set.

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