The Outer Banks Voice – Stream On: Tell Me a Story – “True Detective” and the mystical chords of memory
WHAT TO SEE ON TV
Stream On: Tell me a story: “True Detective” and the mystical chords of memory
By Peter Hummers on November 18, 2021
In the center of Dashiell Hammett 1930 novel (but not the movie) The Maltese Falcon is a story that one character says another. It apparently has nothing to do with the narrative. Known to scholars of literature as Flitcraft dish, it’s a four-page anecdote about an ordinary man who, having narrowly missed being killed by a falling beam, has just wandered away from his ordinary life. “[Flitcraft] felt like someone had removed the cover of life and let him watch the worksâ¦. For him, life could end at random with the fall of a ray: he would change his life at random by simply leaving. “
Five years later, he had gradually and unwittingly recreated his entire life before Beam, in a different city with a different family.
TRUE DETECTIVE | SEASON ONE
/Amazon.com /Main video /Diffusion /Trailer /2014
“Long ago in Kentucky, I, a boy, stood / By the side of a dirt road the first night, and heard / The great geese hoot north. / I couldn’t see them, because there was no moon / And the stars were sparse. I heard them. / I didn’t know what was going on in my heart. / It was the season before the elderberries bloomed, / That’s why they were heading north. / The sound was going north. (Robert Penn Warren, “Tell me a story [A]“)
I see the first three seasons of Real detective like a trilogy. (It now appears that the creator / writer Nic Pizzolatto (The slaughter) cut ties with the series after the third season.[^]) While each season of the anthology series stands on its own, I see a theme.
The first season is about two former Louisiana State Police Criminal Investigations Division homicide investigators, Rustin “Rust” Cohle (Matthew McConaughey) and Martin “Marty” Hart (Woody harrelson, Cheers), interviewed in 2012 by Detectives Gilbough and Papania about a 1995 murder case in which Cole and Hart were lead investigators; they haven’t seen or spoken to each other since an altercation over Martin’s wife, Maggie, more than a decade ago. With much of the old records destroyed in Hurricane Rita, the two are asked to separately recount the history of the previous investigation, as well as their professional and personal relationships, as well as a series of other related individual cases, as new evidence suggests the perpetrator is still at large.[^]
“A long time ago, I was standing by a dirt road, the first night, and I heard the great geese hooting north. I couldn’t see them. I heard them. I didn’t know what was going on in my heart.
What Lincoln called the “mystical chords of memoryÂ»Would seem at first glance to be the subject of Real detective, although as a perk we also get three captivating murder threads.
TRUE DETECTIVE | SEASON TWO
/Amazon.com /Main video /Diffusion /Trailer /2015
âAt first, Brigid O’Shaughnessy only listened with partial attention, visibly more surprised that he was telling the story than interested in it, her curiosity being more attached to her goal in telling the story than she was. ‘to the story he was telling; but now, as the story progressed, she took hold of it more and more fully and she became calm and receptive. (Dashiell Hammett, The Maltese Falcon, the “Flitcraft Parable”)
California Highway Patrol Officer Paul Woodrugh (taylor kitsch, Friday night lights) discovers the body of a city manager involved in a major land transaction. Given the ambiguous jurisdictional nature of the crime scene, two other officers, Detective Raymond Velcoro of the Vinci Police Department (Colin Farrell) and Ventura County Sheriff’s Office CID Antigone “Ani” Bezzerides (Rachel McAdams), along with Woodrugh are tasked with investigating the murder. The crime soon involves Frank Semyon (Vince vaughn), a career criminal who was involved in the land deal and whose savings were stolen when the murder took place. The three detectives, along with Semyon, quickly realize a larger in-game plot involving the victim’s ties to the proliferation of corruption in the City of Vinci.[^]
“As the story progressed, she grasped it more and more fully and she became still and receptive.”
Season two is Real detectives Flitcraft satellite dish. It’s a formidable, complicated, self-contained black detective story, in the style of a Raymond Chandler novel. Some critics didn’t like Season 2; many thought it was complacent. I think it’s a big and delicious feast of a fairy tale. The critical consensus to Rotten tomatoes bed, “Real detectives Second season stands on its own like a solid crime drama, with memorable moments and resonant relationships outweighing the predictable twists â(emphasis mine).
TRUE DETECTIVE | SEASON THREE
/Amazon.com /Main video /Diffusion /Trailer / 2019
“Tell me a story. / In this century and this time of mania, / Tell me a story. / Make it a story of great distances and the light of the stars. / The name of the story will be Time.” , / But you must not say his name. / Tell me a story of deep pleasure. (Robert Penn Warren, “Tell Me a Story [B]â)
There are echoes of season one in season three: no characters or situations, but a strong sense that we’ve been here, deja vu. Now three timelines are visited, and the audience must look for clues (hairstyles, surroundings) to identify each.
In 1980, partner detectives Wayne Hays (Mahershala Ali, Green book, The 4400) and Roland West (Stephane Dorff) investigate a macabre crime involving two missing children. In 1990, Hays and West were subpoenaed after a major break-up in the case. In 2015, a real producer of police documentaries asked retired Hays to come back to the unresolved case. It is gradually becoming apparent to the viewer that Hays now suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, and the audience isn’t alone in being confused about the timelines. Some scenes actually start in one timeline and end in another. (David Milch, who had just been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, shared the writing credits with Pizzolatto on episode 4 and obviously had more entry during the season.)
“The name of the story will be Time, but you must not pronounce its name.”
John, the mysterious titular oracle of David Milch and Kem Nunn’s super series John of Cincinatti, said, “The line and the circle are great.” On the wall, the line and the circle are huge. On the wall, the man on the wall makes a man from the circle and the line. The man on the wall makes a word on the wall, starting from the circle and the line. The word on the wall is my father.[^]
He refers to cave paintings of Altamira, the first written stories. The ability to tell stories is not just human; bees tell the hive where to look for pollen, for example. But the ability to remember and record them is. This is what sets us apart from (other) animals.
This ability to record time is the driving force behind mythology, history and the writings of the religions of the world. This ability is in a way the father of the human race.
And the Flitcraft parable and Real detective Season 2 ? In the independent parable, Flitcraft, in his new life, takes the name Charles Pierce, an apparent reference to Charles Sanders Peirce, philosopher of semeiotics, the general theory of signs. “On the wall, the line and the circle are huge.”
In the freestanding Real detective Season 2, the writing is objective. There are no dueling narrators telling the same story from different angles at different times, and like Dashiell Hammett’s stories, we are never given a subjective view, even in his first-person narratives. Hammett never wrote âHe thoughtâ¦â; in the parable, Sam Spade recounted his anecdote “in a firm, neutral voice, devoid of emphasis or pauses, although every now and then he repeated a slightly rearranged phrase, as if it was important that every detail be narrated exactly as it happened.
The trilogy of Real detective seasons 1 through 3 are a story about nothing less than why we tell and record stories. Without it, there is nothing. Tell me a story of deep pleasure.
(Pete Hummers participate in the Amazon Services LLC Associate Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliate sites. It doesn’t add anything to Amazon’s prices.)
Click here for more on streaming: What to Watch in Pete Hummers TV Columns