Much ink has been spilled trying to get to the meaning of the HBO show “True Detective”. All is wasted energy, I have solved it. For it’s obvious that the whole thing is an homage to Kenneth Grahame’s classic “The Wind in the Willows”.

The story of “True Detective” is centered around two mismatched, deeply flawed men who attempt to solve a series of missing persons reports. A lot of it is depicted on the bayou, in boats and around water.

"The Wind in the Willows", chapter VII, is about two mismatched, deeply flawed creatures who go looking for a missing child. It is depicted on the bayou, in boats and around water.

Compare the spiritually damaged character Rust’s speech here:

“There was a moment, I know, when I was under in the dark, that something… whatever I’d been reduced to, not even consciousness, just a vague awareness in the dark. I could feel my definitions fading. And beneath that darkness there was another kind—it was deeper—warm, like a substance. I could feel man, I knew, I knew my daughter waited for me, there. So clear. I could feel her. I could feel … I could feel the peace of my Pop, too. It was like I was part of everything that I have ever loved, and we were all, the three of us, just fading out. And all I had to do was let go, man. And I did. I said, ‘Darkness, yeah.’ and I disappeared. But I could still feel her love there. Even more than before. Nothing. Nothing but that love. And then I woke up.”

To Rat’s speech here:

`Now it passes on and I begin to lose it,’ he said presently. `O Mole! the beauty of it! The merry bubble and joy, the thin, clear, happy call of the distant piping! Such music I never dreamed of, and the call in it is stronger even than the music is sweet! Row on, Mole, row! For the music and the call must be for us.’

The Mole, greatly wondering, obeyed. `I hear nothing myself,’ [Come on, isn’t that just like Marty?!] he said, `but the wind playing in the reeds and rushes and osiers.’


Rat again: `This is the place of my song-dream, the place the music played to me,’ whispered the Rat, as if in a trance. `Here, in this holy place, here if anywhere, surely we shall find Him!’

Then suddenly the Mole felt a great Awe fall upon him, an awe that turned his muscles to water, bowed his head, and rooted his feet to the ground. It was no panic terror—indeed he felt wonderfully at peace and happy—but it was an awe that smote and held him and, without seeing, he knew it could only mean that some august Presence was very, very near. With difficulty he turned to look for his friend. and saw him at his side cowed, stricken, and trembling violently. And still there was utter silence in the populous bird-haunted branches around them; and still the light grew and grew.


`Rat!’ he found breath to whisper, shaking. `Are you afraid?’

`Afraid?’ murmured the Rat, his eyes shining with unutterable love. `Afraid! Of him? O, never, never! And yet—and yet— O, Mole, I am afraid!’

So, there. Pretty sure I cracked the meaning. No need to look further.

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