A Look at True Detective- Season 2, Episode 4: “Down Will Come”

Just nobody is having a good day, today, I tell you.  This is “Down Will Come.”

Down Will Come- Frank and Jordan discuss wealth, adoption, and future

The episode begins with Ani and Ray inspecting the remains of the burned car, but our attention goes to Frank and Jordan, who are dealing with everyday issues like dying avocado trees.  Frank has a lot on his plate right now, but Jordan thinks that maybe they’ve been going about this all wrong.  Maybe they should consider alternatives…like adoption.  No, Frank won’t have any of somebody else’s time or grief.

Jordan doesn’t see a child as grief since they all come in with their own, but then so does everyone else.  Okay, but what if Jordan can’t get pregnant?  Frank doesn’t see that as a possibility since she did get pregnant before, yet Jordan’s operation may have made things hard.  Frank suggests that Jordan get more tests while he heads to work.  If he doesn’t come up with a new play, the dead trees and gift from the stork will be moot points.

Down Will Come- Paul wakes up at Miguel's place

Paul wakes up and finds himself in a strange situation.  Or rather, a strange place, as he awakens in nothing but his underwear and soon realizes that he’s in Miguel’s bed.  Miguel, sitting on the couch and watching television, tells Paul that the two put out some fires last night, when Paul met Miguel at Lux Infinitum.  Paul, though, has no recollection of the night and leaves in a rush.

His problems don’t end once he leaves, though, as reporters soon swarm him about war crimes allegations and the Lacey Lindel incident.

Down Will Come- Ani and Ray discuss the investigation

Back to Ray and Ani, who believe that they had been set up and that it wasn’t the former transportation man they interviewed in the previous episode.  Instead, it was someone who wanted them to think that it might be dumping the car near his place.  Ray then brings up Ani’s visit to the mayor’s house and how that may come back to bite her in the ass.

Ani isn’t afraid of what Chessani could do, but Ray informs her that the Chessani family controlled the area for 100 years and he lives in the biggest house on his street in Bel-Air.  A man in such a powerful position has to have high-up friends.  Ani doubts that Chessani will have many friends once the state investigation shakes out, but that’s Ray’s point: the family has seen investigations before, but rarely has someone gone to jail.

No, this investigation is the attorney general looking for a handout, possibly in the form of Caspere’s development money.  Does Ani think this is about stopping Vinci from doing what it’s done for a century?  Nobody wants to stop it because nobody gives a shit.  Ani tells Ray that she’s just here to solve a murder, and that’s fine, but once the money has traded hands and the detectives’ betters need something to show for the investigation, who will be the first in the line of fire?  Ray assumes that neither Ani nor Paul are popular on their squads.  Expendable, even.  If there’s a buyout with the state attorney, Chessani could make Ani part of the deal.

Down Will Come- Frank meets with Armin, played by Jack Topalian, about the importance of favors

Over at a bakery, Frank meets with Armin, played by Jack Topalian, about the importance of favors.  Armin payed Osip when he was around to be paid, but Frank just called it a favor, though a favor doesn’t guarantee you free merchandise.  Frank doesn’t want a handout- he’s talking consignment.  Now that he has the Lux again, he needs products like coke and crystal to run through it and he’s offering five percent above Armin’s current going rate.  All Armin has to worry about is his money.

Though it’s suspicious why Frank would choose this path at this moment, as if every other road led to failure.  Frank counters that this is a respectable client that will only upscale Armin’s clientele and increase his market.  5 percent isn’t just a one-time number, either: this is monthly, long-term process of a mutually beneficial relationship.  Oh, and Frank’s never had a fucking cavity.  Think about that.

Down Will Come- Ray picks up Paul

Ray picks up Paul, whose motorcycle was stolen, and offers him some liquid courage in his well-stocked glove compartment.  Ray tells Paul not to worry about the reporter mob, a group for which Ray has little sympathy.  One of those ‘dog fuckers,’ as he described them, said that they would rather be wrong first instead of right second.

The unfortunate thing is that a lot of journalists love the whole concept of being able to break a story first.  And while journalists have a big impact if they get a story right, there’s an even bigger impact if they’re first, but they get the story wrong.  But I digress.

Anyway, Ray knows that Paul has seen some crazy shit in his life, and after what he’s been through, life going forward should be a cakewalk.  Though Paul thinks different, Ray calls him a hero, saying that no one needs to know about the shitty night that he had.

Paul reflects: he did everything that his superiors asked of him, whether the army or police department.  Despite receiving orders, nothing he did seemed to matter.  He’s listened to them so long that he doesn’t even know who the fuck he is.  In Ray’s mind, however, Paul is a survivor.  Even if Paul doesn’t know how to exist in this world, all he has to do is look around and see that few of us do.

Down Will Come- Frank visits Luca Relles, played by Allel Aimiche

Frank visits a less than pleasant looking apartment complex to meet with Luca Relles, played by Allel Aimiche, about some extra hired hands.  Frank offers a 40 percent partnership, even though Luca is already paying Chessani.  Frank will be by at the first of the month.

Down Will Come- Ani and Ray talk with Betty, played by Emily Rios, about Ben Caspere and Mayor Chessani

Ray tags along with Ani, who pursues the Chessani daughter that we briefly met in the previous episode: Betty, played by Emily Rios.  The two follow her to a either a hookah or marijuana bar- I can’t tell, really- and question her knowledge of Ben Caspere, given how many calls he made to the Chessani household.  Tony, though, wouldn’t have much in common with Mr. Caspere.  She’s not sure whether Tony or her father talked to Ben.  And how would she know?  There have never been any rules.

Ani brings up the fact that Mayor Chessani’s wife isn’t Betty’s mother.  True.  Her mother died in a hospital in Nevada.  When Betty was 11, her mother started manifesting schizophrenia, so her father had her committed.  Not long after, she hanged herself.  Betty also mentions a doctor by the name of Pitlor before realizing that she shouldn’t be talking to these cops.  She leaves.

Down Will Come- Ani and Athena discuss their mother and memories

Later, Ani heads to Athena’s place and talks about having memories of their mother.  Some moments are so vivid, but you can’t even remember details from the previous week. As Ani says, some memories stare back at you.  Ani hopes to get one back, but she already took her mother’s knife.

Ani then tries to talk her sister out of this webcam stuff, saying that Athena is working with bad people, but Athena is a straight arrow.  She doesn’t go to parties and she’s saving up to leave that business in two months.  Parties?  Ones with the real hooking, but Athena wasn’t into that shit.  Though Ani admits that she should have been there for Athena, Athena says that Ani isn’t even there for herself.  As we’ve seen and will see again very soon, that is a valid point.

Down Will Come- Emily tells Paul that she's pregnant

Paul and Emily meet up at a diner to discuss their argument during their last interaction.  He admits that he’s not easy to be around, and Em was right.  Know what else Em is?  Pregnant.  Sure, she was on the pill, but you know those things aren’t 100 percent effective.  Also a valid point.  Emily doesn’t believe in abortion and plans to keep the baby.  To her surprise, though, Paul wants her to do that.  In addition, he thinks that the two should get married.  He doesn’t think this is completely right, but he loves her.  Damn it, he wasn’t sure until right now!

I mean, it’s not as big as the swift marriage in Big Eyes was, but it comes very close.

Down Will Come- Ani and Ray speak with Elliot about Pitlor

Over at the Panticapaeum Institute, Ani and Ray speak with Elliot about Pitlor.  He recognizes the name belonging to a man who was around in the 1980s, researching the dynamics of communal living.  Part of Chessani’s lodge, too.  Yup, good old Dad knew Chessani.  He recognizes the name Ben Caspere, as he attended a few seminars, but never spoke.

Elliot shows the two some photos of the men when they were younger.  Also, he likes Ray’s green and black aura, that and Ray must have had hundreds of lives.  Auras are green and black, apparently.  That or someone is really into mood rings.

Down Will Come- Ani and Ray meet with an EPA agent, played by Travis Hammer

Ray and Ani then drive to Fresno, as Ani noticed during her visit to Chessani’s that there were soil readings for Fresno land.  They meet with an EPA agent, played by Travis Hammer, next to a field where they believe that bodies could be buried.  The agent explains that the EPA is constantly finding new contamination.  A lot of the mines have been closed for decades.  Companies are bankrupt and the state doesn’t have the resources for a cleanup.

But why would Caspere visit so many of these sites?  No idea.  So many unsafe levels of cadmium, arsenic, lead, or mercury.  It’s contaminated the water level to such a degree that farmland is useless and people have just given up trying to cultivate the land.

Down Will Come- Frank and Jordan speak with Malkin, played by David Denman, about making him a part owner of the club

Frank and Jordan speak with Malkin, played by David Denman, about making him a part owner of the club.  The club’s equity guarantees the land investment, but how is the capital multiplied in dry farmland in the middle of the state?  The rail puts the land in line for commercial zoning and development.  Federal money means more coverage.  This is the last pork barrel outside of defense, Frank says.

Malkin says that he’ll talk to his business managers, but Frank sees right through that and knows that Malkin isn’t interested.  Hell, he only agreed to this meeting because Jordan asked.  He is interested, but trust takes time.

Down Will Come- Paul and Teague at a pawn shop, checking watches

Paul and Teague visit a pawn shop and match Caspere’s watch with one on a description form.  Turns out that a female pawned them, and the shop owner has the tape as well.

Down Will Come- Ani gets a complaint about sexual misconduct

Ani speaks with her superior about the previous night and wants it made known that Detective Velcoro put herself in harm’s way for her.  That’s fine and all, but Ani has a problem: there have been complaints of sexual misconduct from Deputy Steve Mercer- conducting a relationship with a subordinate.  That’s coercion, didn’t you know?  And Ani should know better- she attended the seminar!

Ani can’t believe this shit.  She feels what she does outside of work is her business, but this is an Internal Affairs complaint.  Even worse, officials now know of her relationship with Detective Ilinca as well.  No choice now- the county has to begin an investigation.  Until then, Ani, who refuses to apologize or back down, cannot enter the building.  She’s placed on departmental leave, but she can work on this investigation as a special investigator.

More than that, word is Ani may have gambling debts, and if that’s true, investigators will want to look into her bank records as well.  As Ani leaves, Elvis confronts her, explaining that he wouldn’t try and slap a complaint on her, especially considering his busted marriage.  There’s talk of a hotel room meet between the two that Ani apparently didn’t give a chance, but there was no chance.

Down Will Come- Paul gives a lowdown of Ledo Amarilla, played by Cesar Garcia

Following this, Ani heads to a squad room where Paul explains to the detectives there that they’re looking for Ledo Amarilla, played by Cesar Garcia, whose prints, along with Caspere and those of Irina Rulfo- who assisted Ledo- appeared on the jewelry.  An APB has been put out in Los Angeles and Ventura.  The idea is that Ruflo turned tricks with Caspere.

Down Will Come- Ray fills Frank in on Ledo Amarilla

Ray meets with Frank at their location to fill him in on Ledo Amarilla.  Even if he’s pawning shit, Amarilla may not be the guy with Frank’s money.  And there’s no connection between him and Stan, which prompts Ray to ask what happened.  After a long silence, Ray figures it out.  But Frank isn’t worried.  He’s getting back into the club scene.  Ray figured that was behind Frank, but Frank thought that being poor was behind him as well.

But Ray knows that sort of shit never leaves you.  Frank informs Ray that he’s got big plans and could use Ray in fuller capacity.  Ray, though, knows that he’s not muscle material, but Frank thinks it may be time for Ray to put this cop shit to bed.

Down Will Come- Ray gives Eddie's badge to Chad

Later, Ray gives Chad the badge that belonged to Eddie, but he should probably hide it from his mother and Richard.

Down Will Come- Frank fills everyone in about Ledo Amarilla, tells Blake to stay

Over at the casino, Frank fills everyone in about Ledo Amarilla, who now owes Frank a long conversation.  In addition, Frank senses something off about Blake, as he and Osip talked for a very long time at the Soho.  Not to mention that Osip was particularly glad to see him.  Frank asks Blake if he’s familiar with the word louche.  Somebody is pulling him out on the streets and Blake is louche.  Tonight, he’s the pit boss.  Though Blake hasn’t done that for three years, he’s to stay there until he can prove himself to Frank.

When Blake leaves, both Jordan and Frank see something is amiss with Blake.  The new generation, they say, just wants to get straight to the top without any hard work.  Frank recalls that Chessani said last week that someone wants the poker room, but he was vague about whom.  He implied that he was choosing sides since Frank is broke and all.

Down Will Come- Officers prepare to make a move on Ledo Amarilla

Back with the detectives, one of Dixon’s criminal investigators tipped them to Amarilla.  He crashes at his cousin’s warehouse off of 6th.  Dixon called in surveillance and Amarilla himself just arrived home.  State can’t get a tactical squad until later, so the detectives will have to go with the firepower that they have right now.

Okay, what follows is a scene that has apparently divided True Detective viewers.  Some like it, some dislike it, and some wonder if it’s reminiscent of a similar scene in Season One.  Take it how you will, and let’s get to it.

We go to the warehouse and see citizens who rely on public transportation, protesting a shortage of bus routes and maintenance in order to subsidize a rail system that they feel doesn’t service their communities.

Down Will Come- Trailer shot

The detectives head towards the target- and give us one of the shots we saw in the trailer for this season- when gunfire breaks out around them out of nowhere.

Down Will Come- Explosion

A shootout ensues and they turn their fire toward the top floor of the warehouse.  These detectives must have some of the most combustible bullets ever because the top floor soon explodes.

Oh, and Dixon takes a bullet to the head.

Ani heads in to pursue one of the shooters that escapes in a getaway van.  This van is either the slowest moving van ever or Rachel McAdams is quick on her feet.

Either way, the van collides with a bus.  The shooters fire at some of the protestors.  Ani runs out of ammunition and prepares to take out her knife, while Paul shoots and kills one of the shooters about to kill Ani.

One shooter snags the bus driver and uses him as a hostage that he soon kills, prompting Velcoro and Woodrugh to empty into him.  As almost everyone around the three lay dead, they can only wonder what in the blinking blue blazes just happened.

Down Will Come- Shootout over

And scene.

That literally escalated quickly.  I mean, that really got out of hand fast.  Yeah, tons of people made that Anchorman reference already, but it’s pretty applicable to what happened in “Down Will Come.”  This episode dealt with taking chances, making mistakes, and getting messy, minus a magic bus.

True Detective has always been about the unexpected, and that’s very clear in this episode here, as we didn’t know everything that would happen going into this shootout.  But even before that, characters had to contend with situations where they weren’t prepared for the outcome and, in some cases, were outright blindsided in a big fashion.

The director of this episode, Jeremy Podeswa, directed the Game of Thrones episode “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken,” and we all know how that went down, so we know that the man has a taste for the surprising.  Sure, a lot of that is writing, but how a scene is directed factors into that as well.

Down Will Come- Malkin says that trust takes time

An overall message that I picked up on this week was ‘Trust, but verify.’  The detectives, Ray especially, know that they’re working in a corrupt world for corrupt men, but they’re striving do the best job possible.  No one is completely sure about the deals or moves they make because there’s a chance that a partner or friend can screw them over and leave them with nothing.  And while it’s one thing to be knocked off by a random person, it’s another to get it from someone that you trust, or thought you trusted.

Down Will Come- Frank negotiates with Armin

Frank is in the midst of losing his wealth, which he thought would never happen.  Last week, Danny Santos and others reminded Frank that his glory days were behind him.  Even still, without many options, he has to go back to running clubs in order to turn a profit.  It’s not the move he wanted to make, but it’s one where he feels he can recapture what made him such a force in the first place.

Again, Frank is an opportunist.  When one door closes, he has several others waiting for him.  He’s someone who needs to remain in control of the situation, no matter how dire.  He suspects something off about Blake and though there’s nothing concrete, it’s enough to reel him back in order to prevent a potential future sabotage.  While Frank isn’t afraid to take a gamble, he’s not going to give Blake a chance to screw him over, so he pulls him back sooner, based just on instinct.

Yet he isn’t willing to take a chance with his marriage since he insists that he isn’t the problem.  We had this issue last week, but here, we see that Frank isn’t willing to take risks if they don’t satisfy him in the grand scheme of things.  Going back to running clubs isn’t ideal for him, but he knows that it may help later down the line.  Adopting a child serves him no purpose because he played no part in that child’s creation and it would be taking on someone else’s grief.

Down Will Come- Jordan says that people take chances

Jordan has one of the standout, yet blatant lines in the episode: people take chances.  We take chances on happiness and ensuring a better future for ourselves, regardless of the risk.  We take risks when we leap headfirst into danger without assessing the situation or considering the consequences.

Down Will Come- Ray warns Ani about the Chessani family

And I feel that’s what Ray tried to get across to Ani when he warned her about meddling with the Chessani family.  Ani just wants to solve the murder, but she’s getting in too deep with corrupt forces that she doesn’t understand.  She doesn’t fear Mayor Chessani- or much of anyone, but she’s still in unknown territory.  Vinci is a city that’s been corrupt for years.  Ani can’t just come in and try to break that power structure in a little bit of time.

Down Will Come- Ani is defiant

Things reach a turning point for Ani when she receives the sexual misconduct notice.  Ani balks at this, even going as far as asking whether a man would receive the same type of treatment.  First off, fuck off with that shit, True Detective writers.  Don’t pull that gender bullshit nonsense with this show.  You’re better than that.  Regardless of who brought the complaints against Ani, the point is she still screwed around with subordinates.  And what’s worse is that she seems incapable of forming a long lasting relationship.

Down Will Come- Ani and Elvis argue

She told Steve that it didn’t work and apparently Elvis never had a chance, either…which makes me wonder why she had these flings in the first place.    Was it out of desperation?  A quick fuck?  I’ve gotta wonder what it is that Ani wants out of life.  It’s not a long-lasting relationship, from what I can gather.  Rather, she’s clinging to the memories of her mother, as if she connects more with the dead than a living person.  After all, she, Ray, and Paul don’t exactly have what I’d call a bond- they’re just working the same case.

There’s no telling who leaked this information Ani’s superiors.  Maybe they just found out, perhaps Steve said something, or maybe it was Chessani who had dirt on her.  Either way, as a result of the investigation, her role in the case has been reduced.  She’s still a special investigator, but it’s still a reduction.  She made a choice of her own volition and now she has this hanging over her head.

Down Will Come- Miguel embraces Paul

While Paul has his affairs of the heart hanging over his head.  He’s downplayed his queer side, but now he’s awoken in Miguel’s place.  This wasn’t supposed to happen for him.  Paul talks about following orders amounting to nothing.  He went to work, did what he was supposed to do, came home to his girlfriend and tried to keep out of trouble, but the past continued to haunt him.

Down Will Come- Paul asks Emily to marry him

So now Paul is torn.  He won’t be able to push out his past forever, but he doesn’t want to ruin the life he’s made for himself.  As such, he hastily decides to marry Emily not because he wants to or because he wants to be a father, but to prove that he’s moved on from his shady past.  As we see from his reaction to being at Miguel’s place and how he handles the reporters, he’s still haunted by his past discretions.

Down Will Come- Ray encourages Paul

But Ray at least seems to see Paul in a positive light.  It’s not a very long scene, but I did like the conversation between Paul and Ray.  He also had a telling, yet obvious line when he told Paul that no one really knows how to live their life.  If these characters are any indication, that’s very true.  However, like Paul, Ray’s past can’t escape him.  If he could get away, Ray probably wouldn’t be indebted to Frank and be his eyes and ears within law enforcement.

Down Will Come- Ray with Frank

As of now, though, Ray is stuck and being pulled from different sides.  He’s tasked with the investigation, yet also sent to sidetrack Ani and Paul from learning too much about Vinci.  And in the middle of all of this, he’s feeding information to Frank.  He is, quite literally, tired of this shit and Colin Farrell sells the look of a man exhausted from this life.  He doesn’t know how to live his life either, and I think he’s just going through the motions.

Down Will Come- Shootout

Now as for the shooting at the end of the episode, it felt all over the place, if I’m honest.  The frantic cuts keep you from really taking in certain moments like Dixon’s death, but this is a shootout I’m talking about here.  The detectives didn’t even see it coming, so we at least share their surprise.  That said, even when Ani ran out of ammunition, I never felt that the main characters were in any danger.  We’ve seen Ray take two shots at close range and survive, so I doubt any of the three detectives would be killed here.

When it’s all said and done, with so many dead around them, the three are sure to wind up in a lot of shit after this.  “Down Will Come” was all about building up to this moment.  Think about it: it wasn’t until the end of the second episode that Ray got the idea to investigate on his own after spending a fair amount of time looking into Caspere’s background.  Here, the detectives learn about Amarilla and are tipped off to his location in one episode.  Seems a bit too easy, but then the shootout started.  Was it a setup?  Were they expected to live?  Who knows?

What we do know is that some major shit went down this week.

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