The boys scare up a few leads among Dora Lange's family and acquaintances, and after some help from one of Cohle's hooker drug connections and a quick stop so he can beat the shit out of some random auto repair guys, they locate a feminist trailer park whorehouse on the edge of town, where a nice young prostitute gives them a bag of Dora's stuff. Inside is a flyer for a tent revival and a journal that goes further into her whole "King In Yellow" Lovecraft pagan mishmash thing she was into.
Led partly by Cohle's obnoxious insanity, they make their way to the burned-out edifice of a very abandoned church, on the wall of which has been painted a naked lady with antlers. This seems to confirm Cohle's theory that we're circling a cult, or at least a psycho charismatic enough to give these girls the illusion of joining a cult -- and none too soon, since the Jesus Taskforce threatened last week has been convened and even Quesada can't see much reason to keep the case at CID when he could kill two birds with one stone.
Otherwise, it's all character study. The updated biography for Cohle includes a stint in a Lubbock mental hospital after four years as a deep-undercover narcotics agent, bookended by some shootings and starting right around the time his daughter died. He comes clean to Marty about his marriage and kid, but not about the history of his service -- or about the source of his "visions," which is neural damage from all the shit he got into undercover. It's fascinating, of course -- nobody alive could ever play half as sleazy a narc as Matthew McConaughey was born to play; Olivier himself with a year of preparation could not be as gross as Matthew McConaughey doing a cold read -- but we also learn that his transfer to the CID came not too long after his release from the institution, which seems kind of important.
On the Marty Hart side, we get to see how he interacts with his mistress from the courthouse, and they're fairly cute actually. Except he's married, and that part of it is a shitshow: Maggie's parents are kind of awful, she keeps toeing up to the edge of accusing him of cheating, he characterizes everything she says as "whining," and it's super sad, because Maggie is great, but mostly it's gross. (Not as gross, though, as this strange motif about Cohle smelling the mistress's vagina and begging the question by asking if this is the smell of Maggie's vagina and then Hart smells his fingers about it when he gets a minute alone; it's all very edgy and vaginal and grown up.)
In the interviews, Marty keeps talking about "family" like he did last week -- including a random and just grotesque disquisition on how cheating on his wife is actually therapeutic and good for her and the daughters somehow -- and we see him take an interest in the fate of the young hooker they meet at the swamp sex place, and then when he gets home the daughters are playing some kind of weird game where all the Ken dolls start a cult and sacrifice a Barbie doll. I think I even heard one of them mention a "crown." So fingers crossed for Marty's daughters (and wife), but outlook not so good.
The hope is that this show actually is a Chick Tract come to life and everybody is in on the cult, in the entire town, and Cohle is the last to know, and after his fifty thousandth freshman philosophy monologue they are just so over him and his bullshit that they stick him in a big wicker man, set him on fire, and that's the end of the season.
...I don't know if that will happen but I do know that next week a man in a jockstrap and a gasmask will run around with a machete, which is pretty much equal to a wicker man in terms of exciting things that could one day happen on this show, if something ever does.
We met the 2012 versions of Marty Hart and Rustin Cohle, being interviewed separately about a sprawling occult case they closed in 1995 that may be coming back to haunt the parish. Rust's sad history -- dead daughter, failed marriage, addiction issues -- and Marty's sad future -- divorce, at the very least -- seem poised to collide as the story leads up to their seemingly inevitable falling-out.
In 1995, we've just connected the hooker's staged murder to an old unsolved abduction -- as well as our first hints of the victim's cult participation leading up to her sacrifice -- but Louisiana politics are threatening to throw a wrench in the investigation: Performative religious fervor and interdepartmental corruption are busily turning the whole thing into a CYA/PR circus.
Just a black screen, as Cohle slowly realizes he's been babbling for a while, drinking the beers the cops brought him: "...I'd lay awake thinking about women. My daughter, my wife. It's like something's just got your name on it, like a like a bullet or a nail in the road..." Naming this tendency as "one reason" he prefers to drink alone, Cohle -- in his own sweet time -- lets the officers lead him back to the subject at hand: How and why he found the random "devil-net" sculpture in Marie Fontenot's playhouse, years after she was kidnapped.
Cohle, and then Marty, stare at it on the desk; there's a neat moment of slow-motion where Marty brings Cohle a cup of coffee, and they never take their eyes off it.
Cohle: "...The aunt reckoned maybe it was something she made in school? But to me it was like someone was ... having a conversation."
Marty: "There was a girl's school, shut down in '92 after Hurricane Andrew. Does that mean anything to you yet? No? Okay. Well, we talked to Dora's mother..."
Marty shakes his head as they drive toward the Ranch, the slow-moving girls in their swampy short-shorts, but we're not there yet.
Mom: "I saw that woman on TV, what we're in the clutches of, and I prayed for that girl's family. Prayed and prayed. And now it turns out I was just praying for me."
Cohle: "That's all we're ever doing. Where's her dad in all this?"
Mom: "What have you heard? He rolled his truck in 1984. Why wouldn't a father bathe his own child?"