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I watched the first episode of Bitten, but it really seemed like the sort-of thing I wouldn't want to get into nowadays.
I’ve put off going into the philosophy Cohle espouses in the early episodes because I don’t want people making assumptions about the character of Cohle, or the ultimate aim of this season. The totality of Cohle’s character and the show’s agenda won’t be clear until the eighth episode has ended. It’s also important to me that the mass audience doesn’t need to know or engage these associations in order to enjoy the show. Likewise, I wouldn’t want any viewers to assume we had some nihilistic agenda, or reduce Cohle to an anti-natalist or nihilist. Cohle is more complicated than that. As I’ve said recently, Cohle may claim to be a nihilist, but an observation of him reveals otherwise. Far from “nothing meaning anything” to him, it’s almost as though everything means too much to him. He’s too passionate, too acutely sensitive, and he cares too much to be labeled a successful nihilist. And in his monologues, don’t we detect a whiff of desperation akin to someone who protests too much? When Cohle speaks of the unspeakable, is it with the same illusory perspective as when Hart speaks about the importance of having rules and boundaries? Perhaps that is what Hart references when he tells Cohle in episode 3, “You sound panicked.”That doesn’t lessen the potential validity of the ideas he expresses, and that is what I finally think is disturbing about the show so far. It’s not the serial killer that’s unsettling; television shows you far worse than that all the time. What unsettles are the aspects of being human which the show chooses to highlight. That this stuff is being delivered through actors as instantly amiable and comforting as Harrelson and McConaughey makes it doubly subversive. And then I think you’ll find, as we go forward, the show keeps subverting its own subversions.