True Detective, Season 2, Episode 5:
One day you might find cause to ask yourself
what the limit is to some pain you’re experiencing
you’ll find out there is no limit at all.
Pain is inexhaustible.
It’s only people that get exhausted.
I have this new program, see.
Because my powers of influence
are so meager in this sublunar world of ours,
I try to limit the people I can disappoint.
And I make sure to know the difference
between my obligations and somebody else’s.
Note: That line has been pointed at, across medias, as bad writing because of “who talks like that?” My comment to that is: bad writing that comes around and it is good. No one asks for realism when realism doesn’t add anything. There is not intent for authentic dialogue there, and so no fault.
True Detective is “written”. Charged with meaning, an artificial world. It’s set after the world has already ended. All characters are afterimages on a stage, manipulated as puppets without choice. They are only alive because they suffer. Episode 5 is a distillation of why human beings are utter shit. It’s literally post-apocalyptic setting.
Malazan, The Bonehunters:
‘Nothing can be done,’ Heboric said. ‘We each fall into our lives and that’s that. Some choices we make, but most are made for us.’
Both True Detective and Malazan switch focus from characters to environment, and back. How one shapes the other, and back. Environment as character. How one is a domain within the other.
‘Heboric’s chosen this path, but it’s not by accident. Sure, it’s a wasteland now, but it wasn’t always one. I’ve started noticing things, and not just the obvious ones like that ruined city we passed near. We’ve been on old roads – roads that were once bigger, level, often raised. Roads from a civilization that’s all gone now. And look at that stretch of ground over there,’ she pointed southward. ‘See the ripples? That’s furrowing, old, almost worn away, but when the light lengthens you can start to make it out. It was all once tilled. Fertile. I’ve been seeing this for weeks, Cutter. Heboric’s track is taking us through the bones of a dead age. Why?’
‘Death and dying,’ Scillara continued. ‘The way we suck the land dry. The way we squeeze all colour from every scene. And what we do to the land, we also do to each other. We cut each other down.’