Jul 202015

This season of True Detective is laden with symbolism and complexity, and Down Will Come is no exception.

“Can’t Find My Way Home”
by Steve Winwood (1969)
Come down off your throne and leave your body alone.
Somebody must change.
You are the reason that I’ve been waiting so long.
Somebody holds the key.

Well, I’m near the end, and just ain’t got the time.
And I’m wasted, and I can’t find my way home.

Come down on your own and leave your body alone.
Somebody must change.
You are the reason I’ve been waiting all these years.
Somebody holds the key.

Well, I’m near the end, and just ain’t got the time.
Oh, and I’m wasted, and I can’t find my way home.
Doo doo doo doo, doo doo,
But I can’t find my way home.
Doo doo doo doo, doo doo,
But I can’t find my way home.

Ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh,
But I can’t find my way home.
Da doo doo doo, doo doo,
But I can’t find my way home.

Still I can’t find my way home,
And I ain’t done nothing wrong,
But I can’t find my way home…


“Write about what you know and care deeply about. When one puts one’s self on paper—that is what is called good writing,” Joel Chandler Harris once said. Harris was famous for his collection of stories called Uncle Remus: His Songs and His Sayings—children’s stories about characters like Brer Rabbit and Brer Fox. This led eventually to a Disney film, called Song of the South. His stories were filled with Southern stereotypes and are sometimes considered awfully racist, all of which I do not in any way condone. But the point is this: Harris wrote about what he knew.


(courtesy HBO)

The same could be said for Nic Pizzolatto, who grew up in an almost fanatically religious family in the deep South. In the first dose of his creative masterwork, True Detective, he gave us dialogue between two rather complicated characters about the nature of God and the universe and religion’s purpose in it, a crime that was “solved” a little too quickly and then a time jump…the seeds planted in the first half of the season came to fruition in the second. But we, the audience, had to wait for it. Based on the preview of the fifth episode, “Other Lives,” he’s about to do that again.

In this season he also talks about religion—it’s just a different kind. It’s New Age mysticism—the reemergence in popular culture of communal living, of Eastern pantheism, of Zen, of meditation, etc. I have to guess that after moving to California, Pizzolatto encountered a whole new set of “storytelling,” or as Rust Cohle would put it, “fairy tales,” the likes of which he’d never seen growing up in Louisiana. And while the religious themes last season mostly centered on good versus evil—the pagan rituals were blatantly bad, the Christians (while deluded, in Rust’s mind) basically good, albeit somewhat naive—this season of True Detective has a lot more gray in it.

This time, instead of two characters to figure out, we have four. It complicates things a little. As I’ve mentioned before, Pizzolatto has said in interviews that the true detective will be somewhat culpable in the end, like Oedipus Rex before he gouged out his own eyes. It seems so far that all four characters could easily fulfill this role. Last week I theorized that it may be Ray, but the symbols in Episode 2.4, “Down Will Come,” served to implicate all of them.


(courtesy Daily Mail)

“Sometimes your worst self…is your best self. You know what I’m saying?” Frank Semyon says to Velcoro this episode, after leaving their regular booth in the Black Rose. Velcoro has just turned down his offer to become a henchman. “I’m not muscle,” he says.

Except that he is. Semyon is a master manipulator. Is this horrible side of Frank also his best side? Maybe. But there’s definitely a duality there, as I mentioned last time. The alligator fighting the snake that may or may not be venomous. We haven’t seen Frank kill anyone yet. But we have to assume he’s capable of it. (It’s partly why people seem put off or disappointed by Vince Vaughn’s performance this season. Viewers are seeing it as a man who is so used to doing comedy that his dramatic lines fall flat. But maybe they are falling flat intentionally. Vaughn needs us to see the inner machinations going on in Frank Semyon’s head while he’s trying to pitch an idea to mobsters who owe him a favor. He wants us to see the little boy locked in the basement who’s secretly running things. The only way he can do that is by giving lines in a stoic, flat way—so we can sense the artifice.)


(courtesy designtrend.com)

As for Velcoro, well, yes, he clearly has two sides. On the one hand, he’s a violent alcoholic, capable of, as Semyon puts it, “black rage.” He acts like a depressed, apathetic burnout, self-medicating to get through his shambles of a life. He’s a disappointment. But, on the other hand, he’s a devoted father. He loves his son more than life itself—even though he might not be blood-related (speaking of which…anyone notice how red-headed, Irish-looking Chad also bears no resemblance whatsoever to his mother’s rapist? Whose kid is this, anyway?). And Ray possesses optimism. Though he himself is a disappointment, he has optimism for Chad. And he appears to be learning to apply that to himself, with his second lease on life—cutting out smoking and drinking (he’s almost constantly chewing gum this episode), and trying to help out Ani and Paul.


(courtesy of whatelseisonnow.wordpress.com)

Paul’s duality comes from his inability to accept his sexual identity, of course. He’d rather stay closeted by marrying a woman and raising a child with her than admit he’s in love with a man. And then he has to live two lives every day just by waking up and surviving in the world—because his brain has been programmed to survive in wartime, not just downtown Los Angeles. As he tells Ray in this episode, “I just don’t know how to be, out in the world, man.” “Look out that window, look at me,” Ray says. “Nobody does.”


(courtesy of untiedmag.com)

And Ani is devoted to her career above all things and puts her personal life on the back-burner. She seems the type to view motherhood and marriage with disdain—perhaps because she failed at her own (while the end of her marriage remains mysterious, one has to guess it had something to do with her addictive tendencies…whether alcoholism, gambling or just plain workaholism). She yearns to be a good role model for her sister and seems to care a great deal about family, but at the same time, due to her mother’s suicide and whatever else she went through as a child, which we’ve yet to learn more about, family represents pain for her. “These memories, they remember you,” she says to Athena in her apartment this episode, while handling her mother’s (or are they her sister’s?) sculptures. “Maybe I could get one back.” “You took her knives,” Athena replies. “You said you didn’t want anything else.”

The idea that each of these characters has two sides, a “good self and a bad self,” isn’t new for Pizzolatto—both Cohle and Hart had their own shadow sides to live with. So lets look at what these characters have in common, besides their dual natures: the likelihood that they were all abused as children, their shaky careers (both Ani and Paul have been suspended, Ray is in danger of being suspended—and arrested—if the State Police find out he killed his ex-wife’s rapist and Frank’s in danger of going under financially), their motherlessness—except for one, they don’t have mothers (and Paul might as well not have one, because she seems like a molesting piece of crap)—and their seeming inability to reproduce.

But the religious talismans in each episode are reproducing. “Down Will Come” exploded with them.

Screen Shot 2015-07-20 at 12.38.25 AM


For example, the theme of duality winks at us via the little two-faced statue in James O’Neal’s office. Amidst his various reference books on proper detecting sits that little statue. We know by now, according to Velcoro, that Ventura PD’s main interest may have been getting paid by Vinci to look the other way.


Because we haven’t heard enough about babies yet this season… (courtesy fathersonholygore.wordpress.com)

And then there are the mother goddesses.

As I said, we’re looking at a set of characters who can’t reproduce…not really, anyway. Ray couldn’t impregnate his ex-wife, so he claimed her child born of rape as his own. Frank can’t seem to plant anything in Jordan’s womb, as symbolized this episode by their dying avocados.

300px-Seedless_Avocado_in_Mexico A little about the avocado totem, from totemist.wordpress.com: “The avocado’s keywords are self-love and self-worth, transforming inner beauty into external beauty, balancing male and female energies, balance between dualities, lust, love, interdependence, being slowly accepted by others and needing specific conditions to thrive. Avocado is a subtropical plant which requires a very specific climate in order to create fruits that are edible for humans to eat. It needs a warm, humid, relatively windless environment for its flowers and fruit to reach maturity…Avocado teaches us that having very specific needs and seeking them out can help us grow stronger and more focused in our lives….The word ‘avocado’ is derived from a Nahuatl word, ‘ahuacatl,’ which means ‘testicle,’ and the plant did have a lusty, scandalous reputation among the Aztecs. During avocado harvests virgin daughters were not allowed to venture outside as it was thought that the plants inflamed the lust of the farmers who picked the fruit. Indeed, it was thought that if one consumed avocado it would be difficult to not indulge one’s sexual desires….The totem Avocado has a more gentle and nurturing side to it as well, further emphasizing its nature as a totem that encourages balance between seemingly opposite traits. Avocado has much to teach about the mysteries of beauty. Avocados can appear ugly and unappetizing to those who don’t know that inside is contained lovely green, rich flesh. The idea of not judging a book by its cover is very much embodied by this totem.” 

down-will-come-frank-and-jordan-discuss-wealth-adoption-and-futureNot judging a book by its cover—sounds like an apt description for these two. Both Frank and Jordan consistently seem to be up to no good, even in their cryptic interactions with each other. They seem to be putting on some kind of a unified front, but then they’re probably used to doing that by now.

As far as Ani reproducing, as I mentioned before, she’s probably not very interested in it. And Paul—well, Paul made a baby by accident with a woman he doesn’t really love (note how emphatically he tries to convince Em—who’s wearing a gold angel pendant necklace, another talisman—when he says “I love you” in the diner. Most romantic proposal ever?).


(courtesy catholic-church.org)

Last week, I talked about the rose and its connections to the afterlife. But it also symbolizes the Virgin Mary. From Wikipedia,The third-century Saint Ambrose believed that there were roses in the Garden of Eden, initially without thorns, but which became thorny after the fall, and came to symbolize Original Sin itself. Thus the Blessed Virgin is often referred to as the ‘rose without thorns,’ since she was immaculately conceived….With the rise of Marian devotion and the Gothic cathedral in the twelfth century, the image of the rose became even more prominent in religious life. Cathedrals built around this time usually include a rose window, dedicated to the Virgin, at the end of a transept or above the entrance. The thirteenth century Saint Dominic is credited with the institution of the Rosary, a series of prayers to the Virgin, symbolized by garlands of roses worn in Heaven.”

Eve and the Virgin Mary—two very important versions of the mother goddess. Another important figure associated with this flower appears in “Down Will Come,” on the side of the road, near the over-populated motel Frank visits to collect on previous favors. It’s the virgin mother in the form of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Screen Shot 2015-07-20 at 1.08.05 AM



(courtesy catholicfaithstore.com)

Here’s how Catholic Online describes her: “The opening of the New World [in the early 1500s] brought with it both fortune-seekers and religous preachers desiring to convert the native populations to the Christian faith. One of the converts was a poor Aztec indian named Juan Diego. On one of his trips to the chapel, Juan was walking through the Tepayac hill country in central Mexico. There he encountered a beautiful woman surrounded by a ball of light as bright as the sun. Speaking in his native tongue, the beautiful lady identified herself: ‘My dear little son, I love you. I desire you to know who I am. I am the ever-virgin Mary, Mother of the true God who gives life and maintains its existence. He created all things. He is in all places. He is Lord of Heaven and Earth. I desire a church in this place where your people may experience my compassion. All those who sincerely ask my help in their work and in their sorrows will know my Mother’s Heart in this place. Here I will see their tears; I will console them and they will be at peace. So run now to Tenochtitlan and tell the bishop all that you have seen and heard.’

“Juan, age 57, and who had never been to Tenochtitlan, nonetheless immediately responded to Mary’s request. He went to the palace…and requested to meet immediately with the bishop. The bishop’s servants, who were suspicious of the rural peasant, kept him waiting for hours. The bishop-elect told Juan that he would consider the request of the Lady and told him he could visit him again if he so desired. Juan…returned to the hill where he had first met Mary and found her there waiting for him. Imploring her to send someone else, she responded: ‘My little son, there are many I could send. But you are the one I have chosen.’ She then told him to return the next day to the bishop and repeat the request. On Sunday, after again waiting for hours, Juan met with the bishop who, on rehearing his story, asked him to ask the Lady to provide a sign as proof of who she was.

Juan-Diego“Juan dutifully returned to the hill and told Mary, who was again waiting for him there, of the bishop’s request. Mary responded: ‘My little son, am I not your Mother? Do not fear. The bishop shall have his sign. Come back to this place tomorrow. Only peace, my little son.’ Unfortunately, Juan was not able to return to the hill the next day. His uncle had become mortally ill and Juan stayed with him to care for him. After two days, with his uncle near death, Juan left his side to find a priest. Juan had to pass Tepayac Hill to get to the priest. As he was passing, he found Mary waiting for him. She spoke: ‘Do not be distressed, my littlest son. Am I not here with you who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Your uncle will not die at this time. There is no reason for you to engage a priest, for his health is restored at this moment. He is quite well. Go to the top of the hill and cut the flowers that are growing there. Bring them then to me.’ 


(courtesy pinterest.com)

“While it was freezing on the hillside, Juan obeyed Mary’s instructions and went to the top of the hill where he found a full bloom of Castilian roses [flowers that are not native to Mexico and don’t bloom in December]. Removing his tilma, a poncho-like cape made of cactus fiber, he cut the roses and carried them back to Mary. She rearranged the roses and told him: ‘My little son, this is the sign I am sending to the bishop. Tell him that with this sign I request his greatest efforts to complete the church I desire in this place. Show these flowers to no one else but the bishop. You are my trusted ambassador. This time the bishop will believe all you tell him.’ At the palace, Juan once again came before the bishop and several of his advisors. He told the bishop his story and opened the tilma letting the flowers fall out. But it wasn’t the beautiful roses that caused the bishop and his advisors to fall to their knees; for there, on the tilma, was a picture of the Blessed Virgin Mary precisely as Juan had described her.

“The next day, after showing the Tilma at the Cathedral, Juan took the bishop to the spot where he first met Mary. He then returned to his village where he met his uncle who was completely cured. His uncle told him he had met a young woman, surrounded by a soft light, who told him that she had just sent his nephew to Tenochtitlan with a picture of herself. She told his uncle: ‘Call me and call my image Santa Maria de Guadalupe.’ Within six years of this apparition, six million Aztecs had converted to Catholicism. The tilma shows Mary as the God-bearer—she is pregnant with her Divine Son.


the original tilma in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City

“In 1977, the tilma was examined using infrared photography and digital enhancement techniques. Unlike any painting, the tilma shows no sketching or any sign of outline drawn to permit an artist to produce a painting. Further, the very method used to create the image is still unknown. The image is inexplicable in its longevity and method of production. It can be seen today in a large cathedral built to house up to ten thousand worshippers. It is, by far, the most popular religious pilgrimage site in the Western Hemisphere.”

As the story above notes, this is a version of the Virgin Mary who is pregnant with child, which is relatively rare when it comes to Madonna portraits. And in True Detective‘s “Down Will Come,” the camera rests on two tilmas, or paintings of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Remember what Frank says to the motel owner just before he leaves, but after he’s reclaimed 40 percent of the motel’s profits as his own? “Mow the fucking lawn once in a while. I don’t want these kids to get snake-bit.”

Weird line, right? This could be seen as a reference yet again to Frank Semyon as the snake wrestling with the alligator in that painting in his office. Or, it could be something else. According to Catholic Online, the word “Guadalupe” was actually a Spanish mistranslation of the local Aztec dialect. In the origin story, the word she probably used when talking to Juan Diego was “Coatlallope,” which means “one who treads on snakes.”

All of which leads me to believe that this partnership of Frank’s at the motel won’t turn out to be beneficial for him.

Look closely at the symbolism on that tilma, though. That’s a crescent moon Our Lady of Guadalupe stands on, which is a reference to an earlier Aztec goddess. According to brujonegrobrujeria.com, the “Virgin de Guadalupe was originally a Mexican goddess known as Tonantzin (Moon Goddess and milder aspect of Coatlicue) [who] suffered the wrath of missionaries who tried to Christianize Tonantzin, stating that she was the Virgin Mary in their indigenous image, come to lead the heathens to Christ.”


Wikipedia says, “In Aztec mythology, Tonantzin is believed to refer to Mother Earth. Some claim that upon appearance of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the hill of Tepeyac where Tonantzin’s temple had been burnt by the Spanish priests, the natives accepted Our Lady of Guadalupe as Tonantzin.”

So Our Lady of Guadalupe, in all her purity, is actually a substitute for a Mother Earth goddess.

Which makes her the third mother goddess to appear on True Detective this season, the second being one that only barely predates her and the first being one that goes back centuries.

When Ray and Ani go to visit Eliot Bezzerides at Panticapaeum this episode, his office is filled with all sorts of religious deities, mostly buddhas. And the deities are mostly male. He seems to be an interfaith guru, not aligned with any one god or religion.

But look at this scene from the very first episode, replayed at the beginning of “Down Will Come” to help viewers catch up.


That’s a mother goddess standing behind Eliot as he delivers his sermon. And it’s not just an image of one, but a shrine to one.

It’s the Hindu creator/destroyer goddess, Kali.

You might remember Kali from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, in which humans are sacrificed in her honor. This might be a play on the Thugees, who robbed and killed travelers in the 1800s, saying they were making a sacrifice to Kali, without which she might destroy all of humankind.


(courtesy craftsinindia.com)

But the real Kali worshippers only sacrificed animals (specifically goats) to the goddess. Here’s her story (from Wikipedia): “Kali is the Hindu goddess associated with empowerment, or shakti. She is the fierce aspect of the goddess Durga (Parvati). The name Kali comes from kāla, which means black, time, death, lord of death: Shiva. Since Shiva is called Kāla—the eternal time—the name of Kālī, his consort, also means ‘Time’ or ‘Death’ (as in ‘time has come’). Hence, Kāli is the Goddess of Time, Change, Power and Destruction. Although sometimes presented as dark and violent, her earliest incarnation as a figure of annihilation of evil forces still has some influence. Various Shakta Hindu cosmologies, as well as Shākta Tantric beliefs, worship her as the ultimate reality or Brahman.”

And more, from hinduism.about.com:  “Kali is the fearful and ferocious form of the mother goddess. She assumed the form of a powerful goddess and became popular with the composition of the Devi Mahatmya, a text of the 5th to 6th century A.D. She is often depicted as having been born from the brow of Goddess Durga during one of her battles with the evil forces. As the legend goes, in the battle, Kali was so much involved in the killing spree that she got carried away and began destroying everything in sight. To stop her, Lord Shiva threw himself under her feet. Shocked at this sight, Kali stuck out her tongue in astonishment, and put an end to her homicidal rampage. Hence the common image of Kali shows her in her mêlée mood, standing with one foot on Shiva’s chest, with her enormous tongue stuck out.

V0045118 Kali trampling Shiva. Chromolithograph by R. Varma. Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images images@wellcome.ac.uk http://images.wellcome.ac.uk Kali trampling Shiva. Chromolithograph by R. Varma. By: Ravi VarmaPublished:  -  Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons by-nc 2.0 UK, see http://images.wellcome.ac.uk/indexplus/page/Prices.html

V0045118 Kali trampling Shiva. Chromolithograph by R. Varma.
Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images

“Kali is represented with perhaps the fiercest features amongst all the world’s deities. She has four arms, with a sword in one hand and the head of a demon in another. The other two hands bless her worshippers, and say, ‘Fear not!’ She has two dead heads for her earrings, a string of skulls as a necklace and a girdle made of human hands as her clothing. Her tongue protrudes from her mouth, her eyes are red and her face and breasts are sullied with blood. 

“Kali’s fierce form is strewn with awesome symbols. Her black complexion symbolizes her all-embracing and transcendental nature. Says the Mahanirvana Tantra: ‘Just as all colors disappear in black, so all names and forms disappear in her.’ Her nudity is primeval, fundamental and transparent like Nature—the earth, sea and sky. Kali is free from the illusory covering, for she is beyond the all maya or ‘false consciousness.’ Kali’s garland of 50 human heads that stands for the 50 letters in the Sanskrit alphabet, symbolizes infinite knowledge. Her girdle of severed human hands signifies work and liberation from the cycle of karma. Her white teeth showed she uses whitening strips regularly. This whiteness shows her inner purity and her red lolling tongue indicates her omnivorous nature—’her indiscriminate enjoyment of all the world’s “flavors.”‘ Her sword is the destroyer of false consciousness and the eight bonds that bind us.

“Her three eyes represent past, present and future—the three modes of time—an attribute that lies in the very name Kali. The eminent translator of Tantrik texts, Sir John Woodroffe in Garland of Letters, writes, ‘Kali is so called because She devours Kala (Time) and then resumes Her own dark formlessness.’ Kali’s proximity to cremation grounds where the five elements or ‘Pancha Mahabhuta’ come together, and all worldly attachments are absolved, again point to the cycle of birth and death. The reclined Shiva lying prostrate under the feet of Kali suggests that without the power of Kali (Shakti), Shiva is inert.”

So Kali represents both birth and death. As a mother goddess, she is the creator of everything. But as a destroyer, she is also the consumer of all living things. Most importantly, according to exoticindianart.com, she “bestows on her devotees the boon of fearlessness, specifically the fear of death. This, in fact, is the essential message of Kali—that pain, sorrow, decay, Wrongful Death and destruction are not to be overcome or conquered by denying them or explaining them away. Pain and sorrow are woven into the texture of man’s life so thoroughly that to negate them is ultimately futile. For man to realize the fullness of his being, for man to exploit his potential as a human being, he must finally accept this dimension of existence. Kali’s boon is freedom, the freedom of the child to revel in the moment, and it is won only after confrontation or acceptance of death.”


Santa Muerte (courtesy littlebird16.deviantart.com)

So much of what we’ve seen so far this season has revolved around death, or the concept that it may be on the horizon. We have a theme song about death, references to Ray’s having been murdered by a man in a crow mask (ravens are the deliverers of the dead in many religions), a cop who lives like a samurai (who live like they are already dead), two mothers who committed suicide after doing a lot of drugs in the 1970s, a killed rapist, a psychiatrist with a picture of the Greek rowboat operator Charon (who brought the dead to Hades), multiple examples of eyes and other body parts being removed in death (similar to Egyptian embalming), dead land as far as the eye can see (due to chemical hazards), dead avocados in this episode and a murder victim who seems to have been involved in a cult of the dead (the second goddess I mentioned above, Santa Muerte [seen in Caspere’s apartment in “The Western Book of the Dead”], who predates Our Lady of Guadalupe, “was given blood offerings by Mexicans asking in exchange for a favorable or peaceful death when the time came to die,” says brujonegrobrujeria.com. “Tradition states that for one to receive a favorable fate when making an offering, one would have their right hand covered in blood to ensure the favor of [Santa Muerte and her husband]. Of importance is the fact that they both were believed to live in total darkness. Although there exists no specific reason as to why the goddess of death gained so much popularity, my theory is that she survived the post conquest times due to both her role as a protector and her very important role in the Dia de Los Muertos celebration.”).

And Dia de Los Muertos, “day of the dead,” is a celebration that once took place at the beginning of summer when it was a primarily an Aztec holiday, but was moved to October 31-November 2, closer to Halloween, when the Spanish colonized Mexico. The first episode of this season of True Detective and Caspere’s murder take place about a week before Halloween.

So in Caspere we have a man who, as revealed in “Down Will Come,” once hung out in a place called Chessani’s Lodge, where he probably did a lot of drugs and “didn’t talk much” (note how Eliot Bezzerides thinks his daughter is referring to the senior Chessani who ran the lodge, who’d be in his 90s now, when she asks whether he knows Dr. Pitlor), and also spent some time with the Good People and Eliot Bezzerides, who has been known to say things like “What is porn?” If the goddess Kali, on the shrine behind Eliot in current-day Panticapaeum, has been a totem for these members of Chessani’s Lodge and the Good People all along, then Caspere was always someone interested in finding peace in the face of death. His Santa Muerte fixation may have come later, but Velcoro does note that Caspere has a copy of the Kama Sutra in his apartment, and Kali is also often associated with Tantric sex. And it’s pretty obvious so far what interest Caspere (and his other government official buddies) have in sex. What’s not obvious is why he had to lose his eyes and penis in the process of likely appreciating it. Or why Stan also had to lose his. Perhaps they were blood sacrifices?

Kali’s most important influence, however, goes beyond sex and death. It’s on the balance of duality, present in every character this season.

Rachel Fell McDermott, professor of Hinduism at Barnard College, says in an article called “The Two Faces of Kali,” “Kali is an extremely powerful goddess who encompasses all the opposites of life and of experience. I think some people have whitewashed her, but in the original conception of Kali, she was meant to symbolize the wholeness of life: life and death, beauty and ugliness, motherliness and destructiveness. I find that very refreshing. There’s no fear of confronting the dark side of life. I think often in the West our conceptions of God are very one-sided or sweetened. We’re afraid to attribute evil to God. I’m not trying to say that Kali is evil, but that there’s more of an acceptance of her as representing the lights and darks. It has been helpful to me in my own Christian path to be enlivened by the conception of God that I find in Kali. She is a goddess of transformation; she can offer one spiritual realization and liberation. Just like any conception of a deity, when we try to limit that deity, it’s unfortunate. Though I personally find the idea of her being a very sexualized feminist goddess slightly off-putting, I don’t feel uncomfortable with it really, because it’s just another way of Kali helping people to be transformed inside.”


(courtesy tumblr.com)

There’s a bit of reincarnation in the tales of Kali, as well, so it makes sense that Eliot Bezzerides might tell Velcoro that he has the largest aura he’s ever seen. In her book The Aura, Sarah H. Schweitzer, Ph.D., says, “Auras come in all different shapes and sizes. It is quite possible for your aura field to be as large as a baseball field when you are holding great joy and love. Anger and hatred work in the same fashion. If someone is really angry, the aura field projects spikes in a very large and wide circle—signaling to others to beware, someone close by is very angry! The size of the aura expressing love or hate varies with the depth of the emotion and is always passion-driven. The deeper the emotion is felt, the larger the aura field expands.”

In case you haven’t figured this out, a “green and black aura” is not great. Black is about the worst color you could have. It’s funny that Ray would say “I don’t think I could handle another one,” when Eliot says he must have lived hundreds of lives. Considering the amount of baggage he seems to be carrying around in his aural field, he probably has. And maybe this is his last one.

There were several references to eyes again this episode, a theme I’ve yet to unravel efficiently. We have Frank’s comment about “losing his vision” out by the avocado plants; the symbol at the Lux, which resembles a blinking eye, preceded by a round tattoo on Paul’s lover’s bicep that looks like an eye that’s wide open (he calls Paul “cabron” in that scene, which literally means “fucker”—it also means goat, so let’s hope Paul doesn’t end up as a Kali offering); Ray’s telling Paul that the paparazzi and gossip reporters lie without blinking, then telling him “All that stuff is dust in your eyes. Blink it away, man”; Frank’s use of the word “louche” (which besides meaning “disreputable” also means “blind in one eye”); and Frank’s seeing two stains on a tablecloth that resemble the watermarks on his ceiling and Caspere and Stan’s missing eyes.

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But, most significantly, we have one character wearing an evil eye talisman as a charm necklace, Betty Chessani (who also doesn’t have a mom), saying that her father is “a very bad person.” Maybe even an evil person, if she has to wear a necklace like this. And wouldn’t you say that Tony Chessani fits Ani’s criminal description, “about 5’10,” 160 pounds”?

In the next episode, we see a shot of Tony with Blake Churchman and Dr. Pitlor, picking up a group of girls. One can only assume his role of “organizer” is very much connected to “those parties,” you know, the ones Athena supposedly doesn’t mess with. And that the murder of Ben Caspere is far from being solved.

Until next time, “Where you come from will mean something to you someday.”

“It Only Takes One Shot” by Lera Lynn (2015)
My bed is now a cylinder of steel,
Cold and hard and shiny
To match the way I feel.

The dust in here
Is like a burning wind.
Black as coal and thunder,
Dark as all my sins.

Took it for a long, long time,
And a woman can take a lot.
Two can be undone by three,
But it only takes one shot.

You were there to see me beg and kneel,
What kind of man would ask me then if he could make a deal?
When lovers of the future read these lines,
A sound of steel and thunder will echo in their minds.

Took it for a long, long time,
And a woman can take a lot.
Two can be undone by three,
But it only takes one shot

Took it for a long, long time,
And a woman can take a lot.
Two can be undone by three,
But it only takes one shot.

Ashes become speed,
And turn to blood.
It’s strange to see
How sharp and clean,
The things that come from love.




  4 Responses to “True Detective: Goddesses of Death and Transformation on “Down Will Come””

  1. Thanks, Laura. I think it being summer makes it a tough time for comments/commenters. Plus, I think TD viewers had to hang in there for the first half season before some sort of a pay-off (other than the WTF moment with Velcoro and the Crow Masked Man). I loved the long action scene capping off the 1/2 of the season. It was earned and made plot sense – unlike the complementary scene in the first season. I haven’t wacthed last night’s epi yet.

    We viewers knew that wasn’t the end of the story or the end of the who-shot-whoever (thank goodness the story fast forwarded to a few months later). I think last week made it pretty clear that Frank simply manipulated Velcoro into killing someone Frank wanted dead and not the rapist of Velcoro’s then-wife (which I wondered about since TD showed a picture of the supposed rapist in E1 and that alledged rapist looked nothing like Velcoro’s son).

    I’m assuming someone is manipulating Frank by 1) murdering the guy who had all Frank’s money held up the real-estate deals, and then 2) murdering biz associate Stan that Frank liked (but we audience saw alive in one scene and then dead in another) while Frank had Velcoro sniffing around. I guess more killings will be underway – but the only person we see Frank associate with – other than biz people he doesn’t like much is Velcoro and his own wife. Uh oh. My take is that Frank is not the master manipulator he thinks he is – but who else have we met? The mayor? He’s so drunk all the time. But I agree, keep an eye on the son – otherwise, why would we have met him? The doc (Rick Springfield!) is not the puppet master. Lead detective Ani’s (Rachael McAdams’ dad, the new age guru – David Morse in LOL wig)? That would too awful. I know – a conspiracy too vast and too wide and too entrenched to be uprooted and prosecuted. Sound familiar? I digress… in any case, I agree, we have been given many clues that it will not end well for Frank. And yes, a black-and-green aura sounds very bad!

    Some of the dialogue is humorous, but I assume the actors have been given strict instructions bu Nic himself to not be funny/witty/clever in their line readings. I pick it up in Colin Farrell and a bit in Rachel Adams, though. Phew!

  2. Forgot to say…
    eye could just be use of a literary convention (body part as a thematic tool) – Shakespeare using ear in Hamlet, for example.

    And thanks TD for employing Emily Rios as the daughter of the mayor – she was Andrea, mom of Brock and girlfriend of Jesse Pinkman on Breaking Bad.

    And meant “by Nic himself” not “bu Nic himself”…

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