March 9, 2014 [True Detective, season 1]

Where does the detective find faith? In the Golden Age of Noir, they looked for it at the bottom of a bottle or in the eyes of a suddenly dead friend—and it seems it's still hiding there, or thereabouts—and if you wander inches from it, all you smell is that sharp living stink in a shotgun barrel—or you flounder into the high grass and feel the mud suck your shoes off and you fall into thorns and helpless screams.

The two detectives move like flung chainsaws, deadman's feature broken, spinning on the concrete of a locked garage in the dark. Somewhere around episode 4 of True Detective I worried about the dreams I'd have, abandoned by those faces I'd trusted many times before, even their names—McConaughey and Harrelson—now sounding like snarled baling wire cutting into my ankles as I fall in the hallway of the devil's house, meat and teeth strewn across my path. We saw where they were and what they had become, and it worked at me something awful until I vowed never again to go to Louisiana, no matter the fun we'd had and the raucous sound of a saxophone punctuated by the snap and rattle of a cigarette machine at 7:00 AM in a bar that already featured a solo. No, that's all gone: It's just a scary sound coming out of a radio I swear was broken, cord torn off, speaker stove in, and I wondered why the bullets whizzed past me when they should just strike true and get me out of this.

—Then suddenly survival, and time enough to look up at the stars. But swear to God it wasn't relief they felt, let alone redemption and renewal. No, I could feel it myself, my hand on the remote: a rope finally cut through, and the oily weight plummeting a long time, so long that I changed the channel before I could hear its faraway rattling crash as it hit bottom.


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