Episode two, “Night Finds You,” expands this universe and shows us how much the state is itching to dig the rampant corruption in Vinci. At the same time, the detectives dig more into Caspere’s background to learn what led to his murder, all while dealing with their personal drama. Oh, and surprise ending to boot. Let’s jump right in.
The episode begins in the dead of night at House Seymon. Frank is unable to sleep, as he’s drawn to the water stain in the ceiling. How did it get there? It rained maybe twice this year. It’s like everything’s papier-mâché. Jordan, not nearly as invested in this riveting topic, tells her husband to stop thinking, but he’s stuck on this. He doesn’t like being on a ledge, metaphorically speaking. Nobody gets rich on their own money and Frank himself rarely knew what to do with it.
The two always wanted land, but you need children to pass it down to. So really, the land was never yours. Frank thinks back to when he was a lad, living with his father in Chicago. The old man used to lock him in the basement when he went on a bender and would let him out the next day. Figured he was keeping Frank safe.
One night, though, when Frank was six, he woke up one morning and was still locked in. Frank figures that his father got himself arrested. By the second morning, Frank was out of food. On the third day, the light bulb burned out. That’s when the rats started invading. When Frank dozed off, he woke to find one of the rats nibbling on his finger. Frank just grabbed and smashed it until there was nothing but goo in his hands. Sticky goodness, am I right?
Frank remained in the dark until his father returned- two days later. Ever since, Frank wondered what if his father never came home? What if he’s still back in that basement? Hell, what if he died down there? That’s what the water stain reminds him of.
Funny. Water stains just remind me of mildew.
But onto the dead body from last week. Paul, Ani, and Ray listen as the coroner, played by Anjul Nigam, debriefs them on Caspere’s death: he died between four and nine in the morning and toxicology shows Xanax, alcohol and, for what it’s worth, gonorrhea. In addition, hydrochloric acid on his eyes. The burn pattern shows that he was on his back. Also, Caspere was bound with a vinyl fabric. The pelvic wounds are indicative of a 12-gauge at point blank range. It had to come after the eye stuff, as the cause of death is a trauma induced heart attack.
To make matters worse, there’s no trace.
Following this, we get a series of scenes with the three officers being lectured to by their superiors- among them: Katherine Davis, played by Michael Hyatt, James O’Neal, played by Alex Fernandez, and Richard Geldof, played by Masuka himself, C.S. Lee! The different agencies debate who will play what role, as Vinci detectives have been on Caspere as a missing person, but this probe is very important to the governor’s office. In addition, the attorney general’s office has concerns about obfuscation on the part of Vinci PD.
Ani is placed as primary commander of this detail, and she’s told that Ray is bent, so she can leverage something to turn him. Paul is promised a state detective shield and that actress nonsense goes away.
We’re given a bit of background on Vinci for those unfamiliar with the area. It started out as a nice haven in the 1900s, but went industrial in the 1920s and pushed out residents from manufacturing zones. It annually emits or processes 27 million pounds of toxic waste. Geldof himself has been after Mayor Chessani since he won the last EPA suit. It’s all about the money, you see.
According to Ernst Bodine, played by Alain Uy, Caspere was one of the architects of the community renewal initiative. Passing legislature, the city gets to keep 75% of its county tax revenue for eight years. That’s worth about $900 million being kept from the county general fund.
The state will use the homicide to dig into what they can, so Vinci PD needs Ray to run point and control the flow of information. He’ll be working under a Ventura detective. Okay, but one question: is Ray supposed to solve this case or not? The department just doesn’t want any surprises. Ray must accept that dualities have to be effected to serve public interests.
Later, Ray briefs Frank on Caspere’s death. Or rather, his torture. Frank is well familiar with Caspere, as there are deals being made upstate with a lot of money moving around. When Ray asks about the specific of such deals, he clarifies by telling a miffed Frank that the more he knows, the better he can deal with this. All Frank says is that Caspere was important to this thing he had going on and now he has to fix it.
Paul, the good son that he is, pays a visit to his mother, played by Lolita Davidovich. Ma happened to run into Paul’s old prom date the other day- she got fat. She was nice but, as Ma points out, all of the girls were nice to him. Paul tells Ma that he’s going to be busy around Los Angeles and the coast on special detail, but doesn’t go into specifics. Ma hasn’t been working as often due to her carpal tunnel. She’d lose her state check anyway. Paul thought that named Bill would let Ma work off the books, but Ma doesn’t want to talk about that motherfucker.
Ray and Ani investigate the same Caspere location seen in the previous episode, though this time to list contents against insurance audits and find out what was stolen. Maybe someone was looking for something- that could explain the torture. Ani zeroes in on the fact that Caspere thought about fucking a lot. Keep that little detail in mind.
We then see the two riding together, though Ani isn’t a fan of Ray tapping on the window. Caspere was seeing a shrink, so the two need to call every appointment in his calendar and check the circled dates in his GPS. So while Ani isn’t a fan of Ray’s tapping, Ray isn’t all that into Ani smoking e-cigarettes. He tried one once and felt like the e-cigarette smoked him. A real cigarette wouldn’t make him feel like that. It was a little too close to sucking a robot’s dick. I’m not gonna begin to guess how and why Ray picked that as his metaphor.
Frank, meanwhile, is still in a money bind. He speaks with a Mr. Jacob McCandless, played by Jon Lindstrom. Caspere, Frank says, was his bank on this thing. They took the risk, and that risk afforded the chance to buy into the corridor. However, the buy was never made.
McCandless can only account for what purchases Caspere completed. Sure, Caspere sold Frank the land while acting as a short-term holding company, and if Frank got this transaction legally documented, it shouldn’t be hard. That’s an issue. If there was a paper trail, Frank would handle this through banks.
As is, Frank is in the unfortunate position of being owed money by a dead man. About $5 million worth of money owed. Don’t you hate when that happens? Frank was led to believe that his partnership was with Catalast, and had Mr. Caspere made payment, it would have been. That and Frank’s name would have been added to the corporate charter for the development. Since Caspere’s remaining interests have been voided, McCandless can provide you the same parcel, same price: seven million, though Frank was quoted 10. Not by McCandless, though. McCandless can offer a buy-in, but Frank is short.
Frank is in a tight spot, what with his business partner taking his money and then being tortured and murdered. He doesn’t have any assets, as the house and poker room were double mortgated. Frank wants everybody in on this now.
Ray and Ani speak with Ernst about Caspere’s background prior to his death, specifically at a party he attended that celebrated breaking ground on the Red Line extension and the imminent production of a major Hollywood movie. Caspere was with a Miss Tascha. Ernst knows that Ben maintained an active social life, but the two didn’t cross paths that way. They only met over business. No photos from the party to help identify the girl.
Paul goes through some bank records and Caspere’s phone calls while Teague…supervises, I suppose. Ani and Ray show up soon. Nothing huge jumps out except for a $4,000 cash withdrawal. The withdrawals come around the time of the blank days in his calendar. They have his GPS, but there’s nothing on certain dates and the car didn’t go anywhere. His Mercedes was a lease from the Catalast Group. Ray heads off while Ani continues working.
Where’s Ray off to? Meet up with Gena, played by Abigail Spencer. Ray is meant to be meeting with Chad, but Gena says that he’s not coming. More than that, she’s pissed about word from police that someone beat up Wit Conroy that started with a schoolyard confrontation. Ray claims to not know anything, but he does believe that a good beating provokes personal growth.
Gena tells Ray that Chad gets anxious around him, despite Ray claiming that the two bond. Ray says that if Chad does get anxious, it’s because he knows he’ll have to listen to his mother talk shit about his father. Gena comes out and calls Ray a bad person. She and Richard are getting an emergency writ for supervised visits and petitioning for sole custody. This can’t go on, Gena says. Ray was decent until something happened. After that, she says, he wasn’t strong enough to stay decent. Ray is incensed about this revelation, promising to burn the city to the ground. He admits to being a piece of shit, but Chad is all he has.
Frank, meanwhile, goes to help a man who just got rear-ended and a subsequent ass-beating. He asks the man why he would randomly be targeted for an assault and plays up the nice guy routine.
Ani and Ray head to the cosmetic surgery clinic that Caspere attended. They ask the owner, played by Rick Springfield, if there was ever any indication that Caspere was in trouble, but even if there was, the reputation of the clinic rests on discretion and confidentiality.
Okay, so what was Caspere being treated for? A few things: neuroses, anxiety, and guilt over his weakness for young women. He frequented escorts, which brought about self-loathing. His relapses became less frequent in the three years he came here. And though Caspere was sexually obsessed, he was not aggressive. That’s about as detailed as the two will get on Caspere’s personal life.
The owner notes the full name on Ani’s ID: Antigone Bezzerides. He recognizes her connection to Elliot, as he did some social therapy with the Good People. Ani calls her childhood a fucked-up place, though. Five kids lived there- two are in jail now and the other two committed suicide. The fifth one became a detective. How’s that for an origin story?
Frank heads to the city hall to speak with the mayor just as Geldof announces, on television, that offices are conducting a criminal probe into the incorporated city of Vinci in LA County. Frank gives Chessani some money, though he’s short. He’s pulling some stuff together and adding revenue streams, but needs a few more weeks. He still owes the poker room kickback, though, but Caspere died with his money in his pocket.
Chessani informs Frank that he’s had outside interest in the poker room. Frank is insulted that the mayor would bust his balls over ten grand. After all, Frank kept this place as tight as a drum for years and even helped out Chesssani’s son, Tony, who may be losing his fucking mind. Catalast is taking over Caspere’s action. Frank is fucked out of his life’s work and needs a direction to turn to or he may start pulling down walls.
Chessani gives Frank an ultimatum: kickback is an extra 15 next week. 22.50 for the week after. If Frank doesn’t come through, Chessani will have to entertain other interests. Frank, meanwhile, wants time alone with whoever is responsible for this.
Ani and Ray come up with theories regarding Caspere’s money withdrawal, such as a hooker blowout. Maybe pimps wanted access to assets, but Ani thinks that this is more twisted than that. The two drive past a suburban zone that, according to Ray, profits off of immigrant labor and sweatshop economics. In his view, we get the world we deserve. Ani asks Ray why he’s in this line of business. His response? He did time in the LA Sheriff’s Department and needed better pay with regular hours.
Ray figures that Ani’s superiors filled her in all about him. He comes clean about any rumors about him killing a piece of filth that harmed his wife. What about Ani? What’s her deal with all of the knives? Well, it’d be hard to do this job if everyone she encountered could physically overpower her. Fundamental difference between the sexes is that one of them can kill the other with their bare hands. If a man lays a hand on her, he’ll bleed out in under a minute. Luckily, Ray supports feminism.
Though Ray is trying to effect transparency between the two, he doesn’t think that this investigation is supposed to work. The state attorney’s investigation? They must have tapped not just Ani and Ray, but Paul as well. Why not have a team of state grand jury investigators working this case? Why no full court press? It’s an interesting point. Ani drops Ray off and asks how compromised he is. He doesn’t give a straight response.
Paul and his lady friend, who I can now properly identify as Emily, played by Adria Arjona, argue about the tabloid, though Paul maintains that he’s innocent. He didn’t tell Emily because he didn’t want to think about it. He won’t lose his job, as he’s got a new assignment through the state attorney that requires him to work in Los Angeles for some time.
Emily is fed up. Paul barely talks and the two don’t know each other’s families. She doesn’t want to hear from him while he’s away. Paul doesn’t shy away from telling Emily that she’s doing this, not the other way around.
Frank heads to a nightclub and meets with the owner, Danny Santos, played by Pedro Miguel Arce, to talk with some of the women there about whether they’ve seen Caspere.
Ani calls the Hollywood Division Vice Squad again to speak with a detective, but gets nothing but voice mail. No matter. She can immerse herself in Naughty California Angels. A call from Elvis concerning the missing girl’s old roommate momentarily distracts her. It turns out that Vera last called a few months ago. Elvis checked the phone records and a call came from a Guereville address. Fine. Ani goes back to watching her porn. Yet she does not masturbate. What do, HBO? What do?
Ray and Frank reconvene. Caspere had another house where he brought in girls. Frank doesn’t want to go near it, and his people aren’t proficient in evidence handling. He wants Ray to go in as police and grab anything that pushes towards Caspere’s dealings with land purchases. What’s that all about? Money. Frank tells Ray that if this all goes Frank’s way, Ray could be chief of police this time next year.
That’s not what Ray wants, but Frank isn’t interested in what Ray wants. He’s lining stuff up for Ray- a job that pays $300,000 a year. Remember how they got there? A body was dumped. Ray sees no reason to keep at this, but life in prison isn’t a healthy alternative. Everybody’s got the one option, but Ray is tired. Maybe he should get some sleep, then. Frank slips Ray his money and tells him to never talk like that again.
Ray leaves a bit after Frank, leaving the money behind.
In the dead of night, he investigates Caspere’s apartment and finds blood on the floor where the murder occurred. Before he can notice, he’s ambushed and shot twice by a man in a bird mask as the episode comes to a close.
Well, that was a cliffhanger. “Night Finds You” ramps things up by creating complexities for not just the detectives, but Frank and everyone around them as the state begins to dig into Vinci to learn all about this corrupt city. Vinci pretty much exists in its own little world, but due to Caspere’s death, the door is about to be blown open.
In fact, just two episodes in, the detectives are turning on one another. Not intentionally, but by order. Bezerrides and Woodrugh are looking into Vinci because that’s what they’ve been assigned to do, while Velcoro needs to stay one step ahead without blowing his cover, even though Ani already knows that he’s compromised.
Despite that, she doesn’t think any different of him. Hell, she may have more issue with his opinion on e-cigarettes than anything else, in my opinion. Sticking with these two for a moment, I think the car rides between the two were my favorite scenes in the episode. The first season of True Detective had plenty of these, giving us many moments to take in the chemistry and dynamic between McConaughey and Harrelson.
Ray says to Ani that we get the world that we deserve, and though that’s true, that doesn’t mean that we can’t change it for the better instead of being stuck in a vicious, corrupt cycle.
Though I’m not completely sold on the chemistry between Colin Farrell and Rachel McAdams just yet, I did find myself drawn into their conversations as Ray talked about the corrupt world he lives in and how he’s ended up here. He’s trying to be an honest man and wants out of the dirty business, but he’s too far in with the wrong crowd.
More than that, we see that his actions have consequences. The brutal beatdown he delivered during the premiere came back on him quicker than I expected. Since it was unrelated to the ongoing crime story, I didn’t expect this incident to come up as soon as it did, but this only goes to harm his personal life and further erode the rumbling relationship between him, Chad, and Gena.
It’s interesting to see Ray get very worked up about the idea of losing custody versus how he works on the job. When doing detective work, little seems to outrage or anger him, but the thought of not being able to spend time with Chad makes him want to burn the city. It shows how much he does care for his son, but also how unhinged and on the fence he is. Though he wants to get his professional life together, his personal life will take much longer to resolve.
Ani, though, for the most part, manages to keep her personal life in check, even though we know she has a few problems with her own life as well. She’s very defensive and isn’t keen to discussing her family, but that doesn’t make her passive or a pushover. As we see through her talk with Ray, she’s more than capable of going toe-to-toe with anyone who tries to overpower her.
She’s probably the most committed of the detectives to solving this case, as she wants to cut through the bullshit and ask the serious questions. Hell, when she and Ray investigate one of Caspere’s locations, Ani figures that Caspere was just into fucking a lot as opposed to there being some large conspiracy related to his demise. And when Ray wanted to cut out so he could handle some family business, Ani chose to remain and keep working. She’s not the best at what she does- though, none of the three are- but she’s at least committed.
That and she’s got a thing for porn, yet she may be the one person I know of who is mesmerized by porn, but didn’t appear to have the urge to masturbate. I’m thinking too much right now.
Then, of course, there’s Paul, who has an odd and slightly creepy relationship with his mother that, for a second, reminded me of the bond that Jimmy had with his mother, Gretchen, on Boardwalk Empire. I hope I’m wrong and that it doesn’t come to that, but from what I can grasp, they are very comfortable around each other.
As far as the investigation goes, Paul seems to be going about business on his own. The scenes with him aren’t as connected to the overall plot as the ones with Ani and Ray, as he has to deal with the drama between him and his girlfriend. Paul seems like the kind of man who would rather be by himself just so he can work. He doesn’t care about the fact that Emily is breaking things off just because he’s emotionally distant.
Like Ray, something happened in Paul’s lifetime that permanently changed him. We get another reference to this Black Mountain mission or whatever it is that Paul was involved with, but he still doesn’t want to address this. I’m still expecting this to be explained later on in the season. Otherwise, why refer back to it if not just to tease?
Frank, meanwhile, is in serious money trouble. It’s unfortunate that he’s now owed money by a dead man, but more than that, he needs a way to regain the assets and revenue that are now lost. It’s a sharp contrast to the Frank we saw in the premiere that spoke of optimism about the future and leaving a legacy behind for the next generation.
For Frank, though, he feels that he’s earned this. After all, he’s done his part helping make Vinci the way that it is and he’s deep in with city politicians. Why should he be denied what he feels that he’s owed?
The opening scene where Frank discusses the water stain to Jordan is a fine metaphor for Frank’s life, but I think it teetered a bit on trying to make this a Rust-esque monologue. I don’t have a problem with Vaughn’s delivery, but this was one instance where I felt the show trying to recapture what made Rust such an intriguing character. I’m not going to be one of those who says that only McConaughey can deliver such lines. No. I’m just saying that I need more time to appreciate Vaughn’s character compared to Farrell or McAdams.
Oh, and I’d be crazy to not talk about the ending. First, off, no. I don’t believe that Ray is dead. Not because of his casting, but because it’d be too easy to just throw in a main character death so soon. This isn’t Game of Thrones, and I find morbidly humorous that Game of Thrones is now sort of the standard for how to kill off a beloved or main character. Anyway, the scene was tense and the shooter moved fast, but I don’t think that Ray’s time is up. The way he talked about wanting a vacation and how that would only come through death would be too telegraphed if this was his final moment. He’ll be back, I’m calling it.
“Night Finds You” is a solid follow-up, I say. It thickens the plot by opening up the city of Vinci to the state around it, gave us a greater sense of the corrupt world these people live in, and makes me wonder, like Ray, if they’re even supposed to solve this case. Ray’s superiors told him that they don’t want any surprises, but this being True Detective and there being many moving parts and people with questionable morals, surprises are to be expected.