As the investigation into the bizarre ritual murder stalls the second episode as “Seeing Things” takes time to fill-in the back story of Detective Rust Cohle (Matthew McConaughey) including the tragedy of losing his young daughter and his extended stay as a Narcotics undercover officer which left him with a drug habit and occasional visions (for which the episode gets its name). We also get a closer look at Detective Hart’s (Woody Harrelson) relationships with both his wife (Michelle Monaghan) and mistress (Alexandra Daddario) as the episode showcases the pressure on Hart and Cohle to find a suspect for the murder of a local prostitute.
Although an increasingly inebriated Cohle is more than willing to continue opening up about his various personal issues as well as the case to the new detectives (Michael Potts, Tory Kittles), in his own testimony Hart begins to guess that the cops don’t have the best intentions to the man he once called partner. McConaughey owns the episode in the scenes of the older Cohle speaking on a variety of subjects which being unable to discern, or perhaps simply not caring, that his testimony could be used against him.
Far from outside eyes, we see the troubled home life of Hart as well as the older version of the character justifying the need for his affair with another woman to help him decompress while working on such a stressful case. Monaghan and Harrelson carry a couple of crucial scenes showcasing the ones who can hurt us the deepest are always the ones we love the most. Although their scene together is quite good, I was certainly surprised by the amount of nudity we see Daddario display on-screen.
As the episode ends the flashbacks end with the pair of detectives both getting their first solid lead in the case and learning the department’s religious crime task force is in line to take over the case if they don’t come up with something substantial. Although perhaps not quite as good as the first episode, “Seeing Things” presents several strong performances while showcasing the time consuming work and drudgery of trying to solve an inexplicable crime as each detective was dealing with their own issue outside of the job. With six episodes remaining it will be interesting to see whether the format continues (with the majority of the story happening in flashbacks) or if we get a little more of the modern day timeline and how the current case, and the detectives’ testimony fits into the broader picture.