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Why I'm Not Crazy: True Detective's Case Against Maggie

Look, she has antlers!
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Look, she has antlers!

*** SPOILERS THERE ARE SPOILERS HERE SPOILERS EVERYWHERE HALT STOP SPOILERS*** You have less than a week left to blow your coworkers' MINDS with insightful True Detective theories ("Did you notice that in Episode 2, Rust blinks twice and turns his head to the left? What does that mean?!"). At this point the Internet's cast its eye of suspicion on everyone from Rust to Marty to the owner of the Vietnamese restaurant the detectives eat at in Episode 3. Today, we're going to dive into a previously maligned theory that's picked up some steam after last week's episode: the involvement of Maggie and her family.

I brought up the former Mrs. Hart's possible Yellow King connections early on in the series, speculation resident Gothamist True Detective zealot John Del Signore called "the craziest batshit theory of all." And though everyone's a suspect in this particular flat circle of time, the Reddit rabbit hole's starting to dig deep into Maggie, especially when it comes to Maggie's father, whom we briefly encounter in Episode 2. Some noteworthy points:

  • When we meet Maggie's parents—credited on IMDB as Jake Herbert and Amanda Hebert—Maggie's father goes on a tirade about how "there was more dignity" once upon a time. "I seen kids today. All in black, wearing makeup, shit on their faces. Everything's sex," he tells Marty, who zings back with a line about how every old man things the same thing: "But old men die, and the world keeps spinning." Cut to 2002, and seemingly disturbed teen Audrey Hart's got the same all-black, goth getup Grandpa so despises. It's clear the author intended astute True Detective viewers to make a connection between Maggie's father and Audrey, but why?
  • Also, from the looks of that introductory episode, it seems Maggie's parents are wealthy, boasting a big house by a lake. Charlie Lange, the cellmate of erstwhile Yellow King suspect Reggie Ledoux, tells Marty and Rust that Ledoux told him about a place down south "where all these rich men go to devil worship," and another wealthy family, the Tuttles, have already been convincingly implicated in "lots of good killing" happening over there. And if we're digging really deep, Maggie's parents' house is by a lake; in Robert Chambers' The King In Yellow, there's another lake that makes an appearance:

    Along the shore the cloud waves break,
    The twin suns sink behind the lake,
    The shadows lengthen
    In Carcosa.

  • In that same scene, we're introduced to Maggie's mother, who asks her to air her grievances over something (we assume Marty). "I know what it's like to be married to a man," she tells her, later berating her: "Well you beat up on what you can't control. Makes it bad for everybody else." And while this may just be her way of dispensing a little motherly advice, in this twisted world of Dim Carcosa, anything goes. Redditors even noticed a striking similarity between Maggie's mother and a woman in the Episode 8 preview who warns the detectives, "He's gonna come for you. He's worse than anybody." Is that Maggie's mother? IMDB is mum.

Neither of Maggie's parents are listed in the IMDB credits for Sunday's episode, but the actress who portrays Maggie, Michelle Monaghan, already told the Daily Beast, "Our family—everybody—is still going to be part of the plot going forward,"—SPECIFICALLY asking if the reporter was referring to her mother and father. And one of Marty's first lines of the whole season, if you were wondering, is "You don't pick your parents, and you don't pick your partner," AHA SOAK THAT IN, and then maybe watch an episode of Family Guy or something, because you're in it deep now, and this kind of analysis will dry your brain out faster than you can say "The Repairer of Reputations."

A common theory right now is that Maggie's father is involved with the Five Horsemen cult, or whoever's behind all the killing and child-raping around the bayou. Some suspect he may have had a copy of the horrifying tape depicting Marie Fontenot's rape (or a similar horror), with Audrey possibly finding it at his house and watching it, thus leading to all that troubling behavior she exhibited as a child and teenager. There's also suspicion that Audrey suffered abuse at the hands of the cult herself.

And then there's the question as to how involved Maggie is—is she on the side of good, indicated by the blouse with white stars she wore when Marty visited her in Episode 7? Did she help bring Audrey into her father's suspected Satanic circle, as indicated by the yellow blouse she wore when she visited Rust at his bar in that same episode? And what was up with that—there didn't seem to be much of a reason for her to be there, other than to hint to Rust that she was worried about Marty. Was she trying to find out how close they were to the truth? How did she find out where he worked anyway?

Four more days until I find out whether my coworkers should bake me cookies or check me into the insanity ward. (Preferably one with a nice flower mural.) And of course, there's always the chance that the Yellow King is just a fever dream cooked up by Matthew McConaughey's character in Failure To Launch.

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