While continuing to interview Hart (Woody Harrelson), and bring in his wife (Michelle Monaghan) for a separate interview, Detectives Gilbough (Michael Potts) and Papania (Tory Kittles) turn their attention specifically to 2002 and the series of events that led to Cohle (Matthew McConaughey) leaving the force. In flashbacks we see Hart’s temporary state as a sober and loyal husband is broken when he encounters one of the former child prostitutes (Lili Simmons) from the 1995 case and gets to know her much, much better.
Meanwhile Kohle becomes increasingly obsessed with a variety of unsolved disappearances of women and children and even pays a visit to the psychiatric home where the young girl he rescued seven years before. This leads to reprimands from both his partner and Maj. Salter (Paul Ben-Victor). Refusing to listen to both warnings and explicit orders, Cohle interviews Billy Lee Tuttle (Jay O. Sanders) to try and prove his theory of the mysterious Yellow King being connected to the now defunct religious private schools which keep coming up over the course of his investigation. His suspension, and subsequent full-on bender, lead us finally to the event which caused the dissolution of Cohle and Hart’s partnership, of Hart’s marriage, and Cohle quitting the force.
With all of the testimony finished, and Gilbough and Papania getting far less answers than the audience, a few facts become clear. The first is how cold hearted Marty’s wife is to use a drunken and disorientated Rust to destroy her marriage, rub it in her husband’s face, and not even flinch while lying about it all years later. Another takeaway is Rust’s conspiracy theory tying the local religious windbag to the crimes (or at least their cover-up), and his hold over the police department, which seems to hold more than a little truth given Salter’s overreaction.
The original crime solved and the explanation of the explosive events of 2002 uncovered, True Detective can now move forward with its final two episodes finally bringing the former partners together for the first time in a decade (when they beat the shit out of each other in the police parking lot over Cohle sleeping with Marty’s wife). I assume up next will be Cohle’s explanation for what he’s found over the last decade including (from what we see in the preview) something shocking enough to cause Hart to put aside their littany of past issues and work alongside his former partner to finish solving the case which made both of their careers but was never properly closed.