A recap for the tardy: True Detective №4

Having been led back to Charlie Lang, ex-husband of the woman in antlers, by his connection to Reggie LeDoux, Rustymart pay him a second visit in prison. Charlie was LeDoux's cellmate a while back, and he was not the alpha male in that arrangement. He also tipped off Reggie to Dora Lang by showing him the boudoir polaroids he took with him to prison (physical transfer of spontaneous photographs was the forerunner of sexting).

Intercut with this episode are scenes from the shooting inquiry resulting from Reggie LeDoux's death, not pictured. Rust and Marty get on his trail by looking into his known accomplice (KA) Tyrone Weems, a small-time dealer who no longer has contact with Reggie since his exclusive contract for meth production with the "Iron Crusaders", a motorcycle gang of the most vicious and cryptic kind: secret entrances, watchwords, and a complete break in relations with civil society.

On the Hart homefront, the other night Marty followed his stenographer-lover Lisa home, barged his way into her house and viciously assaulted her one-night stand out of mean jealousy (threats of skullfucking, broken doors). There are no legal consequences for this crime of passion, Marty being a well-liked detective, so Lisa broke the news to Maggie and he comes home to a still-life of domestic discord: his bags packed with a note from Maggie on top. Marty confronts his wife at work and tries to repeat his award-winning role as "Flustered Husband" to no avail and is removed by security.

On the Hart homefront, Marty comes home to a still-life of domestic discord: his bags packed with a note from Maggie on top. Marty confronts his wife at work and tries to repeat his award-winning role as "Flustered Husband" to no avail and is removed by security. The other night he had followed home Lisa, his stenographer-lover, and viciously assaulted her one-night stand (broken doors, threats of skullfucking), He being a well-liked detective and all, there are no legal consequennces, so Lisa strikes out the only way she can, completing the dissolution of an already-broken family.

Rust meets Marty at a bar and discusses a plan to infiltrate the Iron Crusaders by readopting his old undercover identity. He needs Marty to be clear of mind, so he assures him that, having spoken with Maggie, there could still be a chance between them. Things are looking up. At this point they are caked with grime and sweat, and the memory of what goes down will stain them the rest of the season, no doubt.

Rust, may it be said, is a committed gentlemen who would bump into death on the street without saying 'excuse me'. Marty, on the other hand, can only simulate this cool while listening to the story of the cartel that rips faces off of its victims and stuffs their mouth with their own genitals, a common trope of Latin American terror. Rust takes his old props out of his storage trunk, the impenetrable kind that every man of mystery should keep in their closet, and commences executing his plan with aplomb, stealing cocaine out of the evidence locker, and arranging a meeting with his old contact Ginger, whereby they negotiate an introduction to LeDoux's right-hand man in exchange for ripping off a stashhouse that same night.

In their interviews with the black detectives, Rust and Marty present a logical, if less compelling fiction, the same one they recount to the shooting board inquiring into the deaths of LeDoux and his accomplice. In this version, a criminal informant tipped off Rust to LeDoux's whereabouts. If only.

Rust, in his most effective dealings as a detective, doesn't operate so much as a law-abiding police officer, or even an imitation of one, but as someone whose natural office is righter of wrongs. Police work is simply the most convenient outlet for this energy. But going off the grid to meet with Ginger, even this privilege is lost. Ginger is to be found in a private courtyard of a strip club, one barred to the outside world by a heavy metal door and a watchman. Marty waits outside in a pickup with a cell phone, a police scanner and a book, and is given instructions to be on alert. Ginger has a long red beard; he's the Dr. Livingstone of the Louisiana criminal underground. In a closet of his outhouse-style bachelor pad, they've got a black man called Tiger bound up who's going to be their key into getting in. But first, Ginger has procured some fun deputy sheriff costumes so they can enter the neighborhood unhindered.

Costumes get thrown on. Tiger's led in to the back seat of the car. Driving through the projects, you know every second counts when shouts of '5-0' start to fill the neighborhood. As soon as they step out, leading Tiger by gunpoint, the residents realize that these white folks are more Charles Manson than Scooby Doo. The stashhouse is invaded, the inhabitants are corralled into the living room, except for a boy that Rust finds in the bedroom watching television, whom he hides in the bathtub. Note to self: in case of firefight, pack your siblings in the bathtub like sardines. Tensions are high because armed robberies are always in bad taste; now add to that the multiple snorts of whatever drug the young people were using in 1995. The people from the projects start smashing windows with rocks. Agitated, the Iron Crusaders inside begin to kill the hostages and the onlookers. Rust switches gears and holds Ginger at gunpoint, and they escape out the back in what is called a "must-see scene of television". It is okay if you do not see it. The impression left on viewers is driven by the same effect as the YouTube video of stentorian British actors delivering lines from a comment war: people are used to seeing these cinematic devices in the movies, but placing them in a different medium elicits a feeling of discovery once more. The scene does not cut the whole time they are traversing the projects from the time they approach the stashhouse door (h/t BlueJeans), and you catch many delightful glimpses of the exploding violence, of people roaming the streets in search of targets, of the police hauling ass to get to the stashhouse, of bangers loading guns to respond in kind. Having placed a call to Marty in the midst of this chaos, Rust meets him outside the projects and they speed off, taking Ginger hostage.