In some ways, very little happens in these two episodes, even while there are major upheavals.
In the realm of the personal, we have the breakup of Marty and Maggie, which I honestly didn’t expect to happen in 1995. The whole way it went down just solidified my view of Marty. His view of himself as a family man is all important. He’s the kind of guy who if things went pear-shaped in his job I could see becoming a family annihilator. But it wasn’t that part that went pear shaped. His thing on the side did exactly what she told him she would do, and moved on. He reacted with an epic freakout. I can almost defend his “this is respect” in deciding if it was done it was done, but he again just decided that the story was what he wanted it to be, and was caught completely off guard by a woman acting under her own agency.
Marty is really a rather amazing incarnation of sexism in the form academics and social justice advocates often talk about – not the hatred of women in some cartoonish way, but a firm belief in the systems that keep the unbalanced status quo, and anger that bubbles up when anything threatens what the system promised him.
And what threatens him is fascinating, too. Rust shows up and mows the lawn. That simple element of domesticity, that touch of encroaching on Marty’s role as husband and provider, is enough to set Marty almost to blows. So much of himself is wrapped up in that facade, that he can’t stand anything that threatens it.
He gives a speech on the importance of family and relationships to give rules and boundaries as we see him head to his lover’s house to beat on the man she has moved on with. He talks about the importance of self-forgiveness as Rust points out it is just a way to not own up to his actions. And he remarks on the importance of community and rules to prevent people from doing bad as Rust notes that if people didn’t have the cover of religion and social norms they would at least be honest in all the crap they pull.
Cohle takes something of a back seat in these two episodes. We do get some of his back story with the Iron Crusaders, and we see his ruthless nihilism with his view of the people at the revivalist church and pointing out to Charlie he’s probably responsible for his ex-wife’s fate. His nihilism in 2012 stays solid, as he creepily starts carving men out of the beer cans, while casually lying about the illegal part of trying to run down Reggie LeDoux in 1995, and possibly rising to the bait of the detectives leaving the file of the 2012 killing in front of him when they step out of the room.
We’ve tracked another covered up murder to a school linked to Tuttle. The Revivalist preacher mentions going to a Tuttle-backed university. We also have Marty’s daughter drawing naked fornication pictures in school, and insisting the other girls thought it was funny. Any bets on whether or not her school is part of Tuttle’s “philanthropic” network? That the schools are grooming sacrifices seems obvious. The story Lange tells of “good killing for rich folk” down in the woods, with stones where people worship is pure old-school Lovecraft, with rituals older than the false veneer of civilization luring those whose thoughts turn to darkness.
I’m liking Maggie more and more, or at least her frustration with Marty’s obliviousness, and her willingness to call out Rust himself on resorting to rationalization for Marty’s actions. The men are so centered on their story as the only one that matters that they can’t see the women’s stories at all. I can’t tell yet if that’s going to fold into the main murder mystery or not, although the fact it seems to all be missing girls dying/kidnapped/murdered makes me think it will.
As Maggie says, “Girls always know before boys […] Because they have to.”