True Detective Season 1, Episode 5, “The Secret Fate of All Life” Recap


“In eternity where there is no time, nothing can grow, nothing can become, nothing changes so death created time to grow the things it would kill and you are reborn….. but into the same life that you’ve always been been born into…. how many times have we had this conversation who knows? You can’t remember your lives, you can’t change your lives, and that is the terrible secret fate of all life. You’re trapped.  A nightmare you keep waking up into….”

Holy. Shit. 

“True Detective” just got a WHOLE LOT more interesting (apparently, that is possible)!  The show starts off with Cohle and Ginger sitting in a local bar, awaiting the meth connect via Dewall.  Cohle pitches the idea of coke for crystal to Dewall who is immediately weirded out that Miles is left out of the deal.  Dewall rejects the idea with a creepy farewell to Cohle “I can see your soul looking at you through your eyes. It’s corrosive, like acid, you got a demon little mind. And I don’t like your face. It makes me wanna do things to it. If I see you again, imma put you down, theres a shadow on you son”. 

Marty ends up following Dewall to the backwoods of the bayou.  Marty and Cohle end up meeting at the location of Dewalls vehicle which is horribly hidden by camouflage.  Cohle starts poking around and notices a fence “Ever been hunting Marty?…Im not talking about sitting in a treehouse waiting to ambush a buck…. I’m talking about tracking”.  Much to the dismay of Marty who really wants to call in the location for backup, follows Cohle anyway.   The scene then shifts to Papiana and Gilbough (aka La’roy and Brother Mouzone) asking Marty questions about the shootout, to which Marty replies that he’s telling the story the same way he’s told it in “every cop bar between Houston and Biloxi, you know why the story is the same way 17 years gone? Coz it only went down one way”

The scene shifts to Marty and Cohle sifting through the woods sidestepping makeshift intruder devices (a la grenades latched to rope, WHAT SMART ASS HICKS!).  Now, while the scene is going down Cohle & Mary are speaking present day and you can clearly see that what they told was NOT at all the way the story went down (we already know that Marty in particular has never had a problem with bending the truth to fit his ends).  Marty and Cohle ascend upon the meth house without even being detected.  Marty goes in the house and apprehends a freshly showered Ledoux without any hesitation and brings him outside and cuffs him.  Ledoux starts rambling to Cohle about “I know what happens next I saw you in my dream with the carcosa, he sees you now, you’ll do this again. Time is a flat circle.”  All the while Ledoux is spewing all kinds of this creepy shit, Marty uncovers children locked in a grate.  Visibly shaken, Marty comes barrel assing out of the shed and pops a fucking cap in Ledouxs head! Cohle turns and Dewall starts running, he fires a few shots and sets off one of their makeshift devices completely blowing Dewall to shreds.  Cohle quickly shifts into cover up mode all the while telling Marty “I’m glad to see you commit to something!”.  Cohle takes the high powered weapon and fires off the entire round, spewing bullets everywhere and corroborating their story.  They come out of the ordeal with one child sadly dead and the other alive.  They then become local heros.


Next we see Marty  back with his wife Maggie and two daughters.  Cohle has met a doctor named Laurie (played by Elizabeth Reaser better known as Esme Cullen in the Twilight franchise).  It seems as if things have flattened out for the two.  Then the story takes a fast shift forward to 2002, where we see that Marty’s two children have changed drastically.  In particular the older one, Audrey, who has a pinache for looking like Madonna circa 1984.  We see her coming out of a truck with empty beer cans, smoking a cigarette and flipping off her friends.  Next thing we know, she’s become the “captain of the varsity slut team”, after being caught with two boys, 19 and 20 having sex in a parked car.

The story then shifts back to Cohle being interrogated present time talking about processing time linearly, from a 4th dimensional perspective.  He starts rambling about eternity and how to “them” its viewed as a circle but to “us” its a flat circle (eerily repeating much of Ledoux’s rambling to him).  Next thing you know you’re sprung back to 2002 where Cohle is asked to interrogate a local pharmacy robber named Francis who murdered two people.  Francis falls for Cohle’s bullshit and confesses to the crime, which Cohle goes on t0 boastfully dangle in his face.  Francis cries out and asks for a deal because “he knows things.”  Cohle blankly tells him he doesn’t fucking know anything, but begins to look visibly shaken. Maybe the real monsters weren’t snuffed years ago. Francis then starts talking about the Yellow King and how Cohle didn’t in fact catch the real killer, telling him that he met him once and there are BIG PEOPLE who know what he’s the real monster is still out there killing with impunity. The very look on Cohle’s face upon hearing the words “Yellow King” leave a lasting impact.


Cohle completely loses his shit and starts strangling him, and is lead out of the interrogation room where he immediately starts questioning the cops about why he was asked to interrogate him. He leaves vowing to come back to talk to Francis.  Cohle convinces Marty to come with him to see Francis.  He gives him a breakdown en route to the jail that Guy Francis, Charlie Lange, and even Dora Lange talked about the Yellow King.  He then plants the idea in Marty’s head about why he thinks the Task Force was so eager to take the case (which, of course, Marty scoffs at). Upon arriving they discover that Francis has committed suicide.  Cohle asks to see the camera feed of Francis who is led out to take a phone call from his lawyer, by two police officers and put back in his cell.  And then the blood comes. He asks again to see the incoming phone calls to the police station thus leading him to a public pay phone in the middle of nowhere. “No kind of lawyer makes a call from here”, Cohle tells Marty that he thinks somebody told him something that left him with no choice but to kill himself.

“FUCK THIS… fuck this bullshit you tell me right now why you’re all over Cohle or I walk”.  It becomes apparent that Papiana and Gilbough believe that Cohle is the one behind the murders or at least is implicated somehow. They tell Marty that Cohle has been off the grid for 8 years, back to drinking heavily and was identified by five different witnesses near the latest crime scene. They also point out that it was only three months after Cohle began working with Marty that they caught a case they hadn’t ever seen the likes of before. Additionally, they remind Marty that it was Cohle  leading them down a path to where he wanted the clues to go every step of the way *cue the suspicion befalling Martys face*  The show ends with Cohle realizing that he is in fact being targeted for the crimes and flashbacks of him searching the old school that was washed out by Hurricane Andrew, where he is storing all kinds of things related to the occult.  “Look ya’ll wanna arrest me go ahead, you wanna follow me c’mon, you wanna see something get a warrant, thank for the BEER beyond that you wasted my fucking day, you company men” (which, by the way, since he’s been intoxicated ruing this entire interrogation, anything he says is inadmissible in court) It’s entirely possible that Cohle has just been building up the drunkard/burnout image this whole time (after all, this is a man who kept his composure during the most tense of situations after snorting copious amounts of meth and coke). As Marty points out to Papiana and Gilbough, “You weren’t getting a read on him. He was getting a read on you.” After all, he gets the detectives investigating him as a murder suspect to SHOW HIM THE ACTUAL FILE OF WHAT THEY HAVE SO FAR. The Taxman is a craft motherfucker.

Things to consider:

1.) We’ve watched Marty’s oldest daughter go from drawing naked people at a very young age to going completely goth and screwing two older guys in the backseat of a car. Marty couldn’t be more correct that although his infidelity was wrong, his true sin was inattentiveness. Something tells me that something completely awful is going to happen to her.  Maybe she becomes a victim? Maybe she is even the latest “Dora Lange” victim and it just hasn’t been revealed to him yet…

2.) Is Cohle a rogue citizen trying to uncover a very large satanic ring that appears to be covered up by “high level” people? Just what has he been doing during his time “off the grid?” What exactly happened between Cohle and Marty to terminate their relationship for good.

3.) After Cohle’s drunken ranting about Membrane-Theory and the circular nature of life, the episode included many visual reminders of this theme (The branches at Dora Lange’s crime scene, the tiara that Marty’s daughters were playing with, the clip on the assault rifle that Marty uses to fake the crime scene, the fact that Marty and his daughter are literally skating in circles, etc). God I love this show so much.

4.) Everyone remembers the minister of that roaming church, after his was burned down.  I have a feeling we have NOT seen the last of that guy (and the castrated member of his congregation) and his involvement in this is more than just a random suspect.  Maybe he provides the Yellow King with the victims?

5.) Credit Patton Oswalt for spotting this doozy:



All I know is that this show has truly made me not want to EVER step foot in the state of Louisana…

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