I think HBO’s True Detective is currently the best show on TV, and I’m not saying that just because I love Woody Harrelson, Michelle Monaghan, and Matthew McConaughey. The pacing is solid, storyline compelling, vibe creepier than anything else out right now, music chilling, and dialogue natural. The latest episode, however, contains sexist themes that turned me off to the show, at least in the moment.
You must know there are SPOILERS in this post, so don’t continue reading if you’re behind on the series and don’t want to know how the sixth installment, “Haunted Houses,” plays out.
The season is almost over, and we left off with Rust’s character being suspected of committing the murders he and his partner Marty supposedly solved in the 90s. We’re once again acquainted with Beth, the young woman Marty saved from a life of prostitution during the big case. She comes forward and thanks him for turning her life around … and then seduces him. He gives in and who could blame him? He has to pick up store brand tampons and pads for his wife. This appears to emasculate Marty so much that he hits the bar, where Beth approaches him and mocks the purchases. This is the second time (we know of) that Marty has been unfaithful to his wife Maggie, and by now, she’s done with it.
From the beginning of season one, I felt a connection between Maggie and Rust, both of whom are lonely people in different ways. His marriage ended following the accidental death of his little girl and her husband is out drinking and sleeping around when he’s not putting in tons of hours at work. Years go by and nothing happens with Rust and Maggie, but after Maggie discovers sexts from Beth on Marty’s phone, she marches over to Rust’s home and throws herself at him. He hasn’t been with anyone in far too long, so the intimacy engulfs him … until he realizes Maggie is solely out for revenge and using him. It’s not about Rust, it’s about devastating the man who has ruined her life. In turn, she messes with another person’s life.
To hurt her cheating spouse who has been awful to her for what seems like decades, Maggie confesses to sleeping with Rust, and this of course causes a brawl at work. The men beat each other senselessly and Rust resigns. We flashforward and see they’re on good enough terms to “go for a drive” much later on down the road, but nothing changes the fact that the show ultimately chose to have a vengeful woman ruin their complicated bromance and working relationship. Rust and Marty butt heads all season, but it’s Maggie that drives them apart and changes the game. It’s similar to the way Beth destroys Marty and Maggie’s marriage, which has already been tested and tarnished by a previous affair.
This isn’t to say I dislike the series. I remain a huge fan and look forward to it every Sunday night, even though it gives me more sleeping problems than American Horror Story ever did. I just have to wonder if I’m the only person who didn’t like the events that played out on last night’s episode. If you disagree with me, do share in the comments. It’s a wonderful program and I don’t mean to tear it down here — just a little puzzled.