They had not found any other evidence and this was welcomed by both partners. In this scene, Cohle experiences his first encounter of the immorality behind the crime. He sees in the notebook that the perpetrator has invaded and manipulated Dora Lange’s mind. He was able to gain access to her deeply rooted desires to feel a part of something larger and used that access as an outlet for brutality and perversion. In this moment Rust Cohle and his partner begin to shine light on the immorality buried in the darkness they walk through.
As the hero does in Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Rustin Cohle encounters a “road of trials” that he navigates with the help of others. These trials shape the way Cohle looks at the community and what is taking place throughout it.
“‘Do you wonder, ever, if you 're a bad man?’ ‘No. I don 't wonder, Marty. World needs bad men. We keep the other bad men from the door.’”
Marty and Rust discuss the implications of doing bad things for a good reason. Marty asks Rust this in the context of him cheating on his wife, but Rust does not respond within that scenario. He is already thinking about what is to come and what he may have to do to catch this killer. Rust is thinking that he may have to go outside of the familiarity of the confines of the law to produce a just outcome for all of the affected victims. Rust also believes that if he were to do so, he would not face repurcussions...
... middle of paper ...
...t progression of Campbell’s hero into the unfamiliar. Because the detective is an outsider, they peer inward at the culture from a distance. This detachment from the inner community’s ethics is what affords the detective moral malleability. Through the journey of the hero that Ed Exley and Rustin Cohle take, they develop an understanding of ethics as a flexible entity that one can use as an immoral means to a moral end. Both heroes, each in their own adaptation of Campbell’s adventure, journey through the unfamiliar environs surrounding them in search of justice to find that they must become like the immoral in order to defeat that very immorality. This morality metamorphosis is not unique to either of these specific works of detective fiction, but serves as one of many identities of the “sword” that The Hero with a Thousand Faces will return with on his odyssey home.
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