Finally Some Blood and an Interesting Title

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Gene, Big D and King Bee,

I got off early today, so I decided to go ahead and watch the new episode, “If you have ghosts.” I feel like I’ve really shit on the season in a lot of my emails and on Twitter for what I’ve felt is a bloated exposition, at times. I won’t say that I adored this episode, but I thought it was markedly better than the last one. And we finally got some action. Fuck if that shoot out scene wasn’t realistic. Now, I’ve never seen someone get their head blown off, but I figure that’s got to be close to what it looks like. It wasn’t quite the exciting scene we get in S1 or even in S2, but I thought it was good and needed. I also loved the ending. In truth, I am enjoying the 1980 and 2015 timelines. The 1990 timeline seems to be going in circles at times, though. The tip line call was pretty interesting, but, other than that, the 1990 timeline has not been my favorite. Anyhow, that aside, I wanted to offer some thoughts about the episode title this week, “If you have ghosts.” Now, I don’t know for sure if this was the inspiration, but the title is the same as the title of a 1981 Roky Erickson and the Aliens song. It was also covered in 2013 by the Swedish band, Ghost. Erickson was a paranoid schizophrenic and notoriously dropped a lot of acid making his condition much worse. The song, “If you have ghosts” was written during one of his psychotic breaks, so the lyrics are repetitive, cyclical, but interesting. The lyrics I want to point to are:
If you have ghosts, you have everything.
If you have ghosts, you have everything.
You can say anything you want
And you can do anything you want to do
If you have ghosts, you have everything
The basic idea here is about grief and how it is inextricably linked with loving someone, truly loving them. Think about it. You love and eventually you lose- if not by breakup than by death. When they are dead (or the relationship is dead), you have your memories. Those memories haunt you until you are gone. But the haunting shouldn’t be regretted, but appreciated. Basically, if you are haunted, you did love and were loved, so ghosts are good because it means you had something worth having. If you have ghosts, you have everything. I think this idea is interesting considering the haunted character of Wayne. He has ghosts both literal and figurative. He is haunted by his time in Vietnam. He is haunted by his dead wife. He is haunted by whatever he and Roland did in 1990. We got to see some interesting imagery, to this end, this week in the 1990 timeline when the door Wayne opens in 2015 opens in 1990 while Amelia is reading, and how 1990 Wayne sees a bloodied 1980 Wayne looking through the window. Furthermore, the fact that Erickson was notably mad (both due to his mental illness and drug abuse) has to play into this episode. Early on, when reading her book, we hear that Amelia wrote that grief and madness are one in the same, a twisted circle where one eventually leads to the other. So much about True Detective and this season are about grief… about the madness it engenders in those that allow themselves to feel it. Our eyes this season, Wayne, is grieving throughout every episode. He grieves over the ghosts of his past, his wife, the loss of the relationship with his daughter, his regrets, but, most of all, he grieves over his loss of memory- the sanity he once possessed when he could remember his life. That is perhaps the biggest ghost of all hanging over season three- the fact that we are all haunted by our memories, our regrets, but the true horror, the true ghost is when we know the regrets and memories are there, but we can’t access them to grieve… when we can’t remember enough to remember what we had, or more specifically, remember the fact that as Erickson says, because we have ghosts, we have everything. Instead, the dementia has not only taken away Wayne’s memories, it has stripped him from the knowledge that he had good, that he had something worth having. Instead, he knows he had something, he lived some life… but the grief gives way to madness and traps him there because he can’t remember enough to forgive himself, move on and close the case on his own life, much less that of Julie Purcell. That’s why he hasn’t used that gun from E1. He is waiting for the closure that maybe won’t ever be able to come. I think we will continue to see Pizzalotto play with this idea of ghosts and haunting as we go. We will see it eat alive some characters, as it did with Will and Julie’s Mom, and it will be the liberation of others, perhaps their father. Only time will tell, but I did think the title and its link to this song were interesting. Loved your episode last week. Hoping for another great Watch and your analysis this week. Three episodes, musings and writing to go…

-Ash Schlafly

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