I myself am made entirely of flaws, stitched together with good intentions.
Augusten Burroughs, Running with Scissors (via durianquotes
But life is not a comic book, and Cohle can’t extinguish his own humanity. Of all Matthew McConaughey’s incredible achievements in True Detective, the greatest came Sunday in the stilted, urgent, brief sex scene with Maggie, which lacked any of the erotic qualities of Marty’s encounters. Here we—I, anyway—saw the repressed love impulse in Cohle made explicit. Exactly how he loves Maggie is mysterious, but undeniable. Love, of course, is the thing he had attempted for years to negate, but which became embodied in Maggie—conveniently, maybe, since she was a woman he couldn’t touch. It’s why he becomes so angry at Hart when he realizes he’s sleeping around again. “Goddam,” he says, unable to believe what his partner is capable of losing. And then, because of Maggie’s weakness, there comes a night when she’s no longer untouchable, and the dam that has kept Cohle’s humanity from bursting shows its first crack, and then another, and more, until everything he’s tried to suppress rushes out in an overpowering deluge.
After the flood, when he realizes that he’s exposed himself to a scorned woman, the hard reality sets in. He wants her to have acted from the same wellspring of suppressed communion, but she tells him “it’s not you” as if that’s some kind of favor. It stuns him to the point of tears. Because as he allowed Maggie to reach a place he kept carefully hidden for so long, there was a part of him that begged, like a child, not to be hurt. He made himself vulnerable, and the result was more devastating than he could have imagined. The naked pain on his face, after he’s finally allowed himself a moment of rare hope, is one of the most shattering moments we’ll ever see on television. We know, in our guts, that we’ve just witnessed a man’s last chance; whatever curtains parted in that moment, they’ll now close for good.