So that was expected. We quickly learn of Ray’s fate and much more angst on this week’s episode of True Detective, titled “Maybe Tomorrow.” But first, looks like I need a distraction.
Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Conway Twitty. The episode begins with a Conway Twitty impersonator, played by Jake La Botz, singing in the all too familiar bar while Ray comes face to face with his father, Eddie, played by Fred Ward. They have the same hands, don’t you know, though Ray has bloody knuckles at the moment. Father always made Ray nervous, but maybe Ray already was.
Or maybe he lacked grit. Dad sees his son running through the trees, but those trees are like giants.
Where is Ray, though? Hard to tell since he got there first. He looks down and sees the bullet wound in his stomach.
Nah, Ray is still on the ground as we pick up the morning after “Night Finds You.” He awakens to find himself alive and wet. Whoops.
When other officers arrive, Ani chews Ray out for heading to a scene without letting her, his partner and the commanding officer of this detail, know. Okay, Ani, first off, Ray already has a partner. Second off, he just got shot and your focus is on reminding him of the chain of command?
Fine, whatever. Ray didn’t know this was a scene- he just walked in and then got two shotgun blasts. How is he alive? Well, the shots were just rubber buckshots. Just impact. As a result, Ray has a couple of cracked ribs and his heart aches, but he’s fine. When asked how he found this location, he tells Ani that he received a tip from a prostitute through a criminal investigator.
Ani heads into the crime scene just as Lieutenant Burris tells another officer that he wants all of the evidence to go through the Vinci Police Department’s Special Homicide Task Force. His explanation for being there is that he’s securing the scene since one of his men got shot. As Ani surveys the scene, she notices that the walls are soundproofed.
Frank, even with the help of adult magazines and fellatio from his wife, can’t get his cock up, which has never happened to him before. Jordan wants to give it another go since this is serious business, and Frank knows that. Doctors already said that he’s fine- phenomenal motility, they said. Even though Frank’s got a major tone problem right now, Jordan isn’t about to just take his shit laying down- or on her knees, I’m guessing.
So since Ani got to ride with Ray last week, it’s Paul’s turn to go riding in cars with Rachel McAdams, but only after they investigate the crime scene. Bungalow was a business lease through the Catalast Group- the same place where the car was leased. Utilities were paid by Porpoise LLC, which was Caspere’s company. Caspere had a landline as well and Paul printed out the phone records, which will come in handy in a moment. Ani wants Paul to work the…well, working girls if they don’t get anywhere with the phone records.
She prepares to ask him about the Lacey Lindel incident, though Paul threatens to flat out leave if Ani asks him if he did what Lacey said. Instead, Ani asks if the incident from that exposure could interfere with the fieldwork. Paul doubts it. Also, Ani suggests that Paul sue her when this is over. After all, the chick’s loaded. Oh, and Paul isn’t a fan of e-cigarettes either. Go figure.
Frank meets Ray at the bar. Though this conversation could have been handled via phone, Ray is trying to stay off the phone for the time being. Thinking that he was set up to be killed, Ray gets right to the matter and asks Ray who else knew about the spot. He tells Frank what happened and then asks about the girl who gave up the spot, but turns out that she was one of Danny Santos’ girls. Frank’s crew doesn’t pimp.
Okay, maybe she had a boyfriend. Or maybe Caspere was into so much dirt, there’s no telling which side the ax came from, because let me tell you, there was some fucked-up psychology at work in that place before it was a murder scene. Frank senses the stridency in this conversation and chalks it up to Ray getting blasted.
Ray is quite apoplectic and refuses to drink alcohol because that takes off the edge. He’s drinking water so he can stay angry. Frank does reveal that Caspere had Frank’s money in play: real estate and property adjacent to the rail line. Ray reveals that a hidden camera and hard drive were stolen after he was shot. Boggles the mind what might be on it. Ray heads off.
Ani and Paul head to Mayor Chessani’s home in Bel-Air, but are greeted not by Betty, but Betty’s stepmother, Veronica, played by Agnes Olech. She confirms that she met Ben Caspere at a dinner party. The home itself looks like it just endured a party, but Veronica says that wasn’t the case. The detectives are just checking because Caspere kept an apartment in the city and his phone records show a lot of phone calls coming to this location. Oh, so that was the point of that.
After Ani checks upstairs, we see a girl suddenly land in the pool outside. It’s here that Ani and Paul hear and meet the fake accent of Tony Chessani, played by Vinicius Machado, who knows that the detectives have no jurisdiction coming to this place. What does Tony do for a living? He’s an organizer of specialty events. What kinds? All kinds.
Meanwhile, Ray gets a checkup and we learn the extent of his damage: burst capillaries, terrible cholesterol, and his liver is redlining. It’s possible to live with unhealthy habits, the doctor tells him, but he doesn’t need to have every single habit under the sun. Otherwise, aside from the suggestion of a few days off, Ray is clear. The doctor then asks Ray one poignant question: does he want to live?
Frank meets back up with Bart Sallis. He wants gratitude that he can count. Bart is indeed grateful for the rail corridor stuff. But how much does Ray expect to be paid for the same thing? 25 percent, every month, that’s what. Things are good now, but maybe Bart’s electrical workers will have a problem with the site.
Probity Loan that loaned the money that lets him buy into the gravy train- they may call back the note and Bart will need a friend, which is what Frank offers. Bart concedes, though he wants weekend deliveries. And those electrician fucks are charging Bart for five guys when three will do just fine.
Continuing with the investigation, Ani and Paul gain access to Ben Caspere’s security deposit box at a Bel-Air security firm. Inside are a couple of articles of incorporation for a few LLCs- corporations he had formed within the last year. They’re looking into asset listing right now, which can be used to follow the money trail. Also inside the box were some blue diamonds
But then Ani’s superiors question on her progress with Velcoro. They question whether he staged the shooting. Her assessment of Ray is that he’s just a burnout. Davis, however, wants to pin a dirty cop like Velcoro to the wall. There’s a crooked cop in Vinci they can leverage. Plus, as she mentions, Ray is a man. She’s not telling Ani to fuck him, but maybe let him think she might fuck him.
True Detective writers, don’t do this. You’re much smarter than this.
Meanwhile, Ray’s superiors and Mayor Chessani are less than pleased with Ani coming into Chessani’s home without a warrant and harassing his family- never mind that two detectives went to the household, but fine, let’s pin the blame on Ani. Ray reports that he found a murder scene in an apartment in West Hollywood and the weird fetish shit at his other place. He also lets them know that whoever shot him also took the hard drive and camera, but Ray didn’t get a good look.
He’s not too worried about Ani, though. She’s not undercover or Internal Affairs- she’s just asked with a murder. Holloway, Burris, and Chessani still want Bezzerides’ badge, though. They want Ray to steer her toward something concrete.
And now we get a scene I’m not entirely fond of. Steve shows up at Ani’s office to talk, but not only does Ani not want to talk- she’s about ready to break things off between the two of them. It’s run its course and there’s not much there, even though Steve points out that Ani started this. Steve calls Ani a suck ‘em and leave ‘em type, which prompts her to threaten to punch out his teeth. Elvis even gets in a snide remark before Steve leaves while Ani whittles down her problems.
What the hell was that?
Ray visits Eddie at home and drops off some pot, as any good son would. Ray notices that his father’s badge is gone, but Eddie just threw it in the trash. He shouldn’t do that, but he knows that he won’t miss it. There’s no police department anymore. Ray decides to give the badge to Chad, who Ray says is doing fine, but they don’t get to see each other as often as Ray would like.
We learn that Eddie is familiar with Holloway, who worked tough beats under Gates back in the days when you could do police work. Burris, too. As for why Holloway set up shop in Vinci, Eddie figures that Holloway is just a smart man. After the riots and OJ Simpson, you couldn’t do the job right. Eddie laments the fact that he himself didn’t look ahead. He wouldn’t have a mere half pension if he did.
At the casino, Frank watches Jordan from above while also speaking with Osip, who will be in Vegas for a few days to attend other business. They can talk next week, even though Frank believed they were at a done deal. Osip doesn’t make these decisions himself, though. In that case, bon fucking voyage.
In the meantime, Frank wonders why Blake isn’t here or responding to Frank’s messages. Stan is missing as well.
Over at the racetracks, Paul catches up with one of his wartime buddies, Miguel, played by Gabriel Luna, who decided to check up on Paul after reading about him in the paper. Seriously, how many of these people read tabloids? Miguel knows that Paul didn’t do it. He’s got steady work with an electrician union, but he occasionally thinks back to the village outside Al Awjar.
Paul reminds Miguel that they aren’t soldiers anymore, but Miguel says that was the last time that shit felt right for him. It was hard to see coming home. This conversation is already a bit tense, but it becomes even more uncomfortable when Miguel refers to a certain three days he apparently spent with Paul that he doesn’t want to forget. Paul snaps and pushes Miguel before heading off on his own.
The three detectives plus Teague- who continues to just exist- go over their evidence. City traffic cameras cake back and Ventura picked up one vehicle around one in the morning on the night of the murder. The car itself is registered to a transportation department.
Ray and Ani head to the set of what looks like a film hoping to capitalize on the success of the recent Mad Max film. Crew members tell the detectives that Caspere arranged the tax incentives, as this is the only way you can film anything in California now. It got him a co-producer credit. The credit itself came with both a check and car that went missing one morning last week. It was filed stolen with the sheriff’s department and the crew even put in the insurance papers yesterday. Now that’s thorough.
In addition, Ani and Ray learn that a driver quit the week before due to family issues. The detectives request the names and addresses of everyone involved with the film. Ray speaks with the set photographer, played by Luke Edwards, who did see Caspere a few times, including at a party. Girls were there, too. After all, they are half the world’s population. This is also true.
The two then speak with a woman who works for the city manager’s office. With Caspere, she was sent to copies of the tax agreements. This is just to get the paperwork in order.
So Blake finally shows up to meet with Frank with bad news: Stan’s dead. He’s dead, Frank. It doesn’t make any sense, as Stan shouldn’t be a target to anyone. Frank considers this a treat to him, as this is too much right after Caspere. Frank wants everyone assembled at Santos’ place to deal with this tonight.
That night, Paul shows Caspere’s photo to some street walkers, one of whom recognizes him as a familiar face who had been around a few times at a nearby club: Lux Infinitum. Big with all sorts, but some expensive pussy as well, so suits may end up mingling with the party people. Paul’s angst may make it hard for him to get information, though.
Gena visits Ray at the same time he’s showing Ani his place. Why is Gena here? Ray is in worse trouble: two state police officers came to visit Gena to ask questions on Ray’s past: any cash he couldn’t account for, any violent tendencies, and whether he took retribution on the man who attacked Gena.
She hands Ray an envelope with $10,000 inside to not contest the custody. She just wants what’s best for Chad. Ray can just go somewhere else as an alternative to this before he can’t turn back. Whatever happens, a custody battle won’t be easy for Chad, so no need to start it. Ray, though, tells Gena to put the envelope away and he’ll pretend that she never thought he’d take it. She didn’t, but she hoped that she might be wrong.
Over at Lux Infinitum, Paul- after having a very brief bump into Frank, whom he’s never met- asks people at the bar about Caspere. Apparently, he was one of those guys that never left the bar, but just waited for a girl to approach him. Oh, is that how it works? He enjoyed watching couples go at it. One girl in particular comes to mind: a Euro trick named Tascha who works private parties, but hasn’t been around lately.
Elsewhere in the club, Frank assembles his Legion of Doom to figure out who would try and screw with him. The others, Danny Santos in particular, don’t think much of Frank, as he used to mean something, but not anymore. He’s a little man and this isn’t his club anymore.
So the two fight. Frank easily takes down Danny, but he also prepares to make good use of a set of pliers on Danny’s teeth.
Ani and Ray meet with the aforementioned driver who quit his job, which he did to take care of his mother. He only lives with her sometimes, though, as he has a place with friends as well. He claims to have nothing to do with the stolen car, though.
But then Ray and Ani find the car. On fire. They also spot a man in a mask and pursue him through what looks like an undesignated homeless zone, but he eludes them by slipping through traffic. Ray pulls Ani back before she’s hit by oncoming traffic. He asks what the state has on him, but Ani doesn’t know.
The episode comes to a close with Frank returning home- teeth in hand- where Jordan awaits. She wants to make up and maybe even talk, but Frank decides to wait until tomorrow.
A very surreal episode, this was. Ray’s dream sequence aside, the episode had the task of following up with what many would consider a surprising finale to the previous episode.
Let’s jump straight to that. Again, I never thought Ray would be killed off so early in the season’s run. A potentially bold move, but not a well-thought out one, given Colin Farrell’s performance and how much more there is to learn about Ray as a character. It is a tad suspect that he managed to survive since he didn’t get hit with the worst kind of bullets.
And in addition to what we learn about his body during his medical examination, we do see how much the shooting has impaired his movement, such as during the chase sequence. So, at the very least, I’m at least glad he didn’t walk away from the ambush unscathed, as that would be common to do with television shows and movies.
But Ray still had a lot on his plate this week in addition to getting shot. I like the dynamic between him and his father, as Eddie comes off as a relic of the good old days when cops could kick ass and crack skulls- essentially when officers of the law could be above the law. Not that much has changed between then and now, but that’s a longer conversation.
Eddie’s best days are behind him and he didn’t map out his future to ensure he would live a happy life, which is why he sits at home with his badge in the trash and lamenting how there’s no country for White men anymore. He relies on his son for drugs and is a shell of the former, well-dressed officer that we saw in the dream sequence.
Though Ray does still care for his father- even going as far as bringing him drugs- their relationship is strained. The two don’t even look at each other that much during their talk at home.
I get the feeling that Ray wants to be the exact opposite of his father: an officer with purpose and a future, but at the same time, his personal problems eat away at him. He won’t take the bribery money that Gena offers because he’s convinced that Chad is still his son, that and he’s still trying to be a good, responsible father. He knows that things can and probably will get worse, but he refuses to just fade out of his son’s life. Despite how violent Ray is, there are at least shades of a man who is trying his best to be there for his son, even though things may not get better for the Velcoro clan.
We never get a clear answer yet as to whether Ray was set up to be killed and who may have done it. He’s on edge and pointing the finger at Frank, and though he has little proof of that, it’s enough drive to keep him motivated to learn who may have marked him for death and whether he’ll be a target again.
Ray’s doctor asked him if he wants to live and Ray gives no response. It’s telling of a man who just wants to keep moving forward, damn the consequences and what happens to his body. Frank says that somebody killed Ray, and it makes me wonder if part of him died when he was shot, but he keeps on moving. At least he didn’t try to go all out during the chase and got his moment when he saved Ani.
And because I’m terrible at transitions, let’s move on over to Ani, who gets to just be an A-hole. I do hope that her character moves beyond angst-filled female cop that hates men. You can do interesting things with that, but right now, if she’s not grimacing or having indifferent looks during investigations, she’s chewing out other men.
We don’t know the full backstory between her and Steve, so I’m not even going to try explaining their falling out since we only briefly met Steve in the premiere. Then, he wanted to talk things out, as he does here, but Ani tells him that there’s nothing there. Whether she’s truly as low as Steve makes her out to be is anyone’s guess. Her barely contained anger is consistent with how she told Ray what she’d do to a man who puts his hands on her, but if this was destined, and she’s already not a big fan of the male species, I’ve gotta wonder what drew the two together in the first place. And the fact that all three- including Elvis- come off like assholes didn’t make them any more likable in my mind.
But at least the writers don’t dumb down her character by making her romantically interested in Ray, even if it’s just to get information out of him. When Davis reminds Ani that Ray is a guy, Ani honestly could not have given less of a shit. She’s not interested in emotional attachment- as her brief thing with Steve implies- and she’s definitely not going to try and get close to Ray just to learn more about him.
She already knows that he’s a dirty cop, but unlike her superiors, she has no interest in nailing a dirty cop to the wall. I’d call it loyalty, but I’d chalk it more up to just her not being interested unless she wants to remind him that she’s in charge. Seriously, what was that?
Then there’s Paul, who gets a bit more involved with the case this week, but also some more seedy investigation as well. Of the three detectives, Paul seems to be the most distant, so I could see him being used to this a lot more than Ray or Ani. But this episode almost seems to confirm what people have suspected about Paul: he’s gay. Or at least in denial.
I don’t have an opinion either way, but if he is, to the show’s credit, the clues have been there all along: he needed Viagra to get it up with Emily, he’s talked about a confrontation with a faggot- though I don’t feel his use of the word faggot should be any more or less of an indication- and now we learn more about not just his Black Mountain days, but of a particular three days he spent with Miguel. It’s implied that the two may have had relations.
Given Paul’s reaction, he seems to be in denial about this, or he just doesn’t want to talk about that, the same way he didn’t want to talk with Emily about his Black Mountain days. Apparently this makes for a sexually frustrated queer man, or just a man with a lot of angst. Given the general feel of this season, I could go either way.
But whatever it is, we know Paul is still a very guarded man with a lot of tightly kept secrets. And he doesn’t have someone that he can turn to for support right. Ray has some of his family, Ani has Elvis, but Paul has…what, his mother? She’s not here right now, so he’s left to himself. All that pent up rage and anger has to come out some time. Hopefully he doesn’t follow Ray’s example.
Yet Paul isn’t the only one having trouble getting it up, as we see with Frank. I needed some way to work that in, but Frank’s troubles continue to mount up. Not only the limp dick issues, now he’s being targeted, but has no idea by whom or why. For all of Frank’s wealth, power, and respect, he’s unable to prove himself to one of the most important people in his life. His anger at the situation shows us his insecurity, but I appreciate that Jordan isn’t going to just take his shit. She’s a loving wife, but she’s no pushover, which I like.
Frank is still a crafty businessman doing whatever he can to save his money, but like Eddie, he exists in a world that is moving past the good old days. The difference here is that Frank, despite dealing with types who don’t see him as a threat anymore, still has a great deal of influence and strength, as witnessed when he beats the hell out of Danny Santos. Even when the odds are against him, he’ll find an opening or remember someone who owes him a favor.
And if not, he’ll just force someone else’s hand. He’s not at the point of desperation and can still exert influence, but given how one of his men has just been killed, it’s clear that he can’t account for everything. And that worries him because he’s been able to keep tabs on and stay ahead of others for so long. Hell, even Ray is rebelling against him after being in his back pocket for so long. He’s not completely off the hook yet- hell, they still meet up- but there’s a divide growing between the two.
Plus, we got our first, brief interaction between Frank and another detective. Granted, Frank and Paul just exchanged glances instead of words and since the two don’t know each other, this moment is probably of little significance to them right now. But it was a small, yet good accidental run-in that I’m guessing will come back up later.
Side-note, going back to the not Mad Max film set, apparently the director, Ashley Daison, played by Philip Moon, apparently resembles Cary Fukunaga. Whether this is a shot at Fukunaga, I don’t know. That appears to be what others on the internet have said, but I don’t really follow the behind the scenes rumblings of this show and didn’t even have a clear idea of what Fukunaga looked like, so there’s that.
And as for the episode’s chase sequence near the end, we’ve got a masked man again. No idea whether this is the same one as in “Night Finds You,” but it’s not impossible. The masks do remind me of the occult stuff from the first season, if anything else, but as the season progresses, we’re digging more and more into Ben Caspere’s odd life.
“Maybe Tomorrow” was a good episode, though Ray’s survival was not surprising at all. We learned more about the detectives’ personal lives, how hard it is for them to smile, and how both Paul and Ray fucking hate e-cigarettes. Perhaps Ani needs a new vice like punching out people’s teeth. More than that, the lines are being drawn among the detectives’ bosses in their never-ending quests to best each other. They’re more into that than the detectives themselves, but the simmering tension between all sides continues to bubble.