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'True Detective' Recap: Open Questions and Theories After Episode 6, 'Haunted House'

By Dustin Rowles | TV | February 23, 2014 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | February 23, 2014 |

“Haunted House,” the sixth episode of True Detective, unlike previous episodes, began to finally answer more questions than it presented. Primarily, it put to bed any notion that Rust Cohle could be the Yellow King Killer, or any part of the conspiracy behind either Dora Lange’s killing, or even the Lake Charles murder (his involvement with the death of Reverend Tuttle, however, remains a mystery). In effect, “Haunted House” played out many of the scenarios we’d been expecting since the opening episode (namely, a romance between Rust and Maggie causing Marty and Rust’s falling out, although I suppose it would be an exaggeration to call that a “romance.”) The episode also erased much of the noise surrounding the Dora Lange investigation, and brought it all into focus.

Here are some brief thoughts on the episode, some questions that remain unanswered, and some reckless speculation.

  • Marty beat the hell out of the two kids who had a threesome with his daughter, Audrey, although we still don’t really understand why Audrey turned out the way she did, or if there was abuse in her childhood that might provoke her to stage the dolls the way she did in 1995. Is she rebellious because of a childhood trauma, or is she merely a reflection of Marty, the kind of daughter we might expect a hot-headed, sexual fiend to have?

  • It’s clear now that the investigation is circling both Reverend Tuttle (the Yellow King?) and a potential cover-up in the Dora Lange investigation by the police. This theory is beginning to look like at least part of the answer to the series. However, the identity of the Spaghetti Monster still remains open, although the Internet seems to have figured that one out, too. Does the landscaper from episode three have scars under that facial hair?


    Assuming the landscaper is the Spaghetti Monster, there’s still the matter of his connection to Tuttle, his role in Dora Lange’s killing, and the other missing children. He seems like a Lennie Small to me, a dumb patsy.

  • I think we can rule out Reverend Joel Theriot — the revival preacher — as a suspect as well, although he did steer the focus of the investigation toward Tuttle’s Wellspring schools. Were the schools a kind of front that provided a steady supply of abuse victims for Tuttle and his men?

  • In Beth, Marty Hart sure seems to have a type, and that type is anyone that will take her damn top off. At least he got in some rear-door action before his wife tossed him. WAS IT WORTH IT, MARTY? HUH?

  • “The newspapers are going to be tough on you, and prison is very, very hard on people who hurt kids. If you get the opportunity, you should kill yourself.” That may very well be the coldest line anyone has ever delivered in the history of television, although in the case of a three-time child killer, not totally undeserved.

  • Don’t think for a second that Reverend Tuttle wasn’t behind Cohle’s “over the top” suspension. As soon as Cohle told Tuttle that the motivation behind the investigation was “dead women and children,” Cohle’s hours as a detective were numbered.

  • I’ve never thought less of Marty Hart than when he told his wife that he loved her while casually eating pasta in his Lazy Boy. I didn’t blame Maggie a second for wanting to hurt him, and hurt him she did, although forcing herself onto Rust was perhaps a too cruel way to get back at her husband. She left a lot of collateral damage, the most detrimental of which was that it ultimately cost Rust his job.

    I don’t think this turn of events really surprised anyone — Maggie has clearly had an attraction to Rust since their first dinner together. I didn’t expect that it end up in a over-the-back revenge f*ck against the kitchen bar in a room with antlers, however. That’s gotta go in the memoirs.

  • Here’s what doesn’t completely add up: Why were Marty and Maggie so intent upon covering up the fact that she slept with Rust with the interviewing detectives? What did they care? Had either of them revealed that detail, it might have removed some of the suspicion on Rust, as it would have explained why he quit the force and skipped town.

  • Ten years since Rust threw Marty into the back of his truck, and he still hasn’t fixed the damn taillight. How’s that for a perfect detail?

    Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.