And so here we are, Season Two finale of True Detective. We get the world that we deserve, but we damn sure can fight to change it. That can be a challenge if darkness reigns. There was a lot to overcome in this finale and a lot at stake. Will everyone get out alive? Let’s jump right into it. This is “Omega Station.”
The episode begins back at the motel where Ani and Ray lay awake in bed. Ani, taking puffs of a cigarette, talks of trees and a little place in the rock- a cave is how she remembers it, just like a fairy tale. Four days. Ani thinks that maybe she was given something, but she just remembers a black, empty space. She later got in the car, but this man didn’t force or even get near her. He just cut her pretty. Not the best feeling. Each time she remembers that prideful feeling, she feels sick to her stomach. She felt proud that this guy thought she was pretty. Ray, though, says that none of this was Ani’s fault.
As Ani relays this to Ray, we get snippets of them watching each other that night.
Ray then talks about walking up behind the guy who he’d been picturing for months. He couldn’t sleep. Ray didn’t say a word. He just raised his hand and killed the man as he was turning. And yet, this didn’t make things better, but worse. People, Ani says, will want to blame him, but she doesn’t. Despite his intentions, Ray then tells Ani that he killed the wrong man, while the real one was captured not too long ago. Now, Ray doesn’t even know if who the guy was really matters anymore.
Ani can tell that Ray hasn’t been like this way in years. He seems like he’s making up for lost time, she says. I suppose sex is the best outlet for letting your emotions fly, you know?
At the train station, Jordan and Frank talk about their future and ten more years. Frank still plans for Jordan to go with Nails and he’ll follow in two weeks, but fuck that, Jordan refuses to go. She always has a choice and puts her foot down on staying. Frank tells her that things between them won’t work, but Jordan is too smart for that. Even still, Frank insists that this isn’t an act. He tosses his ring to make an example, but then Jordan does the same. And hers had a big diamond, too!
Now it’s Jordan’s time to talk. Whatever happens to Frank, happens to her as well. There’s them and everything else is in the gray. She came into this with her eyes closed. Jordan will leave if Frank goes with her to hold onto what’s theirs, but Frank won’t run because he knows that others will keep coming for him. He needs to finish this with his final play. Frank refuses to put Jordan’s life in danger. If something happens to her, he couldn’t live with that. He can’t do the things that he does unless he knows that she’s safe.
But would that make the last six years nothing? No. Frank promises to see Jordan in at least two weeks or less. There’s a park where Frank wants Jordan to wear a white dress. In exchange, Frank will wear a white suit and a jacket. He’ll come out of the crowd, higher than everybody else. The two kiss.
Frank pays Nails, who doesn’t feel that he needs it. He owes so much to Frank already, though he promises that nothing will happen to Jordan. Goodbyes are said as Jordan and Nails head off.
Let’s see how this plays out.
Elsewhere, Lieutenant Burris is at the crime scene and receives a call on Paul’s phone- it’is Ray, who soon learns of Paul’s death. Ray tells Burris that he knows all about the news dating back to 1992, so Burris arranges to meet in person so they can make this go away. Burris doesn’t see a major issue. After all, he was queer. When the call ends, Ray informs Ani about Paul’s death, which is a major blow to his family.
Ray concludes that this was Burris. Ray’s already being implicated for Davis’ death and blame for this may fall on him as well. Ani is distraught. Paul, she says, was better than both of them and saved their asses not two, but three times. He deserved better. So where to go now? Erica is in the wind. Ray turns his attention to the two orphaned kids. One of them works at the film set. If there’s a chance to get them, Ani wants to take it, despite how dangerous this can be.
Frank finds to the Chessani household to find Austin himself floating dead in his pool. Inside, the mansion appears deserted. He finds plan for a rail system, but then he hears the voice Veronica, who tells him about Tony and a Russian man. She was introduced to Austin through Tony, but she was Tony’s friend first.
Frank shows Austin’s body to Veronica. He wants to know where Betty is. Veronica can’t believe that Tony would do this. Chances are that she’ll be taking the fall. And Tony is the one with access to the money.
Ani and Ray enter a home and find a familiar looking bird mask. Deeper inside? Computers, rifles, nonlethal shells, photos of Burris and Holloway- pretty much the jackpot.
Oh, and a young woman. Actually, this is Laura, or Erica, whom we met on the film set a few episodes back. She and her brother were split up after the ’92 shooting. She ran away at the age of 16 from her foster family. She met Caspere through Tasha, who introduced her to Tony. She learned about the diamonds and the family knew. Tony used to visit her mother. She changed her name and dyed her hair red. She eventually found her brother years back and he’d been through a lot. She got him a job on the movie set.
And Caspere? She went to his other place, put a pill in his drink, and then she was spotted. Leonard, her brother, was going to use the asset to get Ben to talk and learn who killed their parents, but he got too angry and put him out on the road. Maybe he thought it was funny, even though Caspere confessed everything about the rail corridor. Thus, Leonard drove him around to all of those places. Erica was driven around because she was going to talk.
There’s an exchange coming with Lieutenant Holloway. The hard drive, though, erased itself. Leonard is probably going to kill Holloway. They’ll be meeting at a public place- the train station. Ray heads off and tasks Ani with watching Laura.
Frank speaks with Osip, who is very upset for what happened. Frank tells him that he’s long out of the state, but they’ll soon meet to finish their business. But then he gets another call: Ray.
Ani gives Laura a bus ticket to Seattle. She needs to leave and forget this so it can blow over, but she’s convinced that it never will. Ani is giving her a chance to have a life because whatever debt there was, she’s not the one who needs to be punished. Lay her brother to rest since it sounds like she lost him years ago. As for what she’s supposed to do, Ani doesn’t have an answer. For one, I’d suggest taking a bus line that isn’t Greyhound, but that’s another subject.
Back to Frank, who arrives at a hidden location in the bar, with guns in tow. He’s signing the bar over to Felicia when this is all done. For Ray, it’s a frame-up, and Frank needs transportation for Ray and Ani to Mexico.
We then cut to Ray, who arrives at the train station and keeps an eye open for his intended target. He notices on the news that there’s a manhunt for him. He comes upon one man he believes blasted him while wearing a bird mask- this is Leonard. Ray knows why he’s there and what happened to his father and sister. Ray wants revenge too, but suicide won’t help. Leonard, though, says that he’s the blade and bullet. I wonder if he’s also the stone that the builder refused.
In casual wear, Chief Holloway arrives at the station, where Burris also watches him from a distance. Ray, holding a bag, catches Holloway’s attention and the two have a seat on a bench. Inside the bag, Ray says, is the hard drive. One of the hostage kids killed Caspere, but he’s in a Vinci landfill now. If something happens to Ray now, Holloway will lose the agency.
Holloway reveals the diamonds. Ray wants his name cleared in exchange for the hard drive and land documents. As for Bezzerides, Ray says that Ani and Paul think he killed Davis. Caspere made a deal with Chessani. How’d the shootout happen? Dixon may have gotten a tip about the raid. Now Holloway has a piece of that central corridor.
Chessani is dead, but not the Chessani that Holloway worked for. He says to put this on Bezzerides. Geldof is already on board. And Ray can’t walk away right now, with Burris watching. The woman was pregnant and knew things. Ben didn’t even want the kids, especially the girl, who, it turns out, was Ben’s illegitimate daughter.
Leonard snaps and springs to life, slashing at Holloway. This brings Burris into the action as he fires away. As Ray tries to lend a hand, he loses his gun and the recorder is crushed. Now that’s just insult to injury. The struggle between Holloway and Leonard continues as Holloway manages to shoot Leonard before the two are both killed by other officers. Ray catches up with Ani, hidden in the crowd, and the two make their escape.
At the safe location, Frank has new bunk mates in the form of Ani and Ray. Frank can tell that Ani is a call not because of her tits, but dignity. Relationships are important, Frank says, even though he thinks that Ani disagrees. Take the Venezuela deal and get out. There’ll be a lady there in two weeks in a park. Her name is Jordan. If she’s there and Frank isn’t, he wants Ani to give her a message: tell her that he wanted to be there. The story they told is still true. He hands her a photo.
Ray, now a bit patched up, enters to see Frank’s massive arsenal. The two talk alone. Frank knows that Ray doesn’t have access to finds to make an escape. If he wants to leave, he’ll need money. Frank gives up the name of the man who set up Ray: Blake, who did not go nicely. When asked if Paul was his friend, Ray admits that he didn’t know him very well. This can be justice or vengeance, but Ray knows that these kind of corrupt men usually escape. With Frank, though, they won’t.
Ani and Felicia go over plans to get to Venezuela. Much easier to get people in than out. The man that hurt her years ago was taken care of by Ray, and then Frank then gave her the money for the bar. As for Ray, Ani admits that the two saved each other’s lives.
Later, Ani and Ray talk over a shared cigarette and joined hands. Tony, Betty, Pitlor- Ani wants their confessions on the record, but Ray has heard enough confessions. Neither Ani nor Ray have nothing to run on and Ray owes these filth.
One highway shot and evening later, it’s time to get to work. Frank and Ray investigate one home.
While Ani finds Dr. Irving Pitlor’s body, tied to a chair.
Ray and Frank advance on the cabin and kill everyone and everything that moves to escape. After throwing in a smoke grenade, the two enter and continue their killing spree. Frank comes face to face with Osip. Old times, Osip says. He saved him. Frank responds by shooting Osip until he’s out of bullets in his clip. Ray and Frank begin bagging all of the money they soon find.
Later that evening, the two head to a meeting point and vow to meet each other down south. Ray, though, doesn’t leave. He’s thinking about Chad. Frank has made other arrangements besides the boat, but he still promises to see Ray down there. After setting fire to the Range Rover, Frank and Ray leave.
Ani informs Ray about Betty and Tony’s disappearance. Frank is on his way with a hell of a retirement bonus. Ani is all packed and the boat leaves at three. Ray stammers on his next sentence, but needless to say he’s in a bit of a good mood right now.
Let’s see how long this lasts.
Frank packs and delivers the diamonds to the Jewish men he previously met for the monetary value of the jewels. He then pockets the jewels and puts them in his suit pocket. He then meets with Armin and receives his passport in exchange for the money. They wonder when they’ll hear about what Frank did to the Russians. He promises another $500 when he’s where he needs to be.
Ray, though, unable to get his family off of his mind, makes a detour and watches Chad from afar. Sitting on the table in front of Chad is the badge that his father gave him. Chad looks over and spots his father. The two give a silent salute to each other just before Ray leaves.
However, when Ray returns to his car, he notices fluid leaking underneath and a transponder planted on the vehicle that he can’t loosen. He surveys his surroundings and lights up as he considers his next move. Soon enough, against his best judgment, Ray heads off.
And not long after that, a black SUV begins to tail him.
Frank, though, gets stuck in traffic and before he can grab his gun, he’s ambushed with guns all around him. His captors give him no response when he asks why.
Ani dyes her hair black as she receives a call from Ray, who tells her to get on that boat. He’ll catch up. Ani, confused, just tells Ray to hurry, but Ray thought that he had time to see Chad again. Ray can’t get rid of the transponder on his car and if there are eyes on him, it won’t matter what he does with the tracker. He’d lead them to Ani. He plans to ditch the car at a parking garage, but right now, he tells Ani to stick to the plan. He then asks Ani to put Felicia on the phone.
On the phone, Ray tells Felicia that he won’t make it. Calling in a favor, Ray wants Felicia to make sure that Ani gets on that boat, no matter what.
At a deserted…well, desert, Frank is brought before Gonzalez. The two made a deal. No club, no location. Frank tells Gonzalez about the flat million in the suitcase. So is business square? Sure, but that doesn’t buy Frank a ride back to town. One henchman wants Frank’s suit, which Frank isn’t ready to hand over, since the diamonds are in the suit pocket.
Instead, Frank punches the henchman, which earns him a knife in the back. Badly bleeding, Frank is left in the middle of nowhere on his own. He begins hobbling on foot.
As he does, he envisions his father and others berating him. Soon, Frank is bleeding to the point where crows are starting to follow his blood trail.
Ray leaves an apology message for the man he became and the father he was. He hopes that Chad knows how much his father loves him. If Ray had been stronger, he would have been more like his son.
He drives faster and enters a forest, where he abandons his car, cash, and flees on foot with a rifle on hand.
He continues to flee as Burris’ squad gets closer. Ray manages to kill one of the officers and soon picks off another and continues fleeing as bullets whiz over his head.
Eventually, Ray rests against a tree and looks to the sky. When Burris asks where Bezzerides is, Ray says to himself that she’s in a better place.
He heads off to face the officers and is promptly shot to death. I’m not sure what Ray expected to happen, and his recording didn’t even send. Well, that’s just an extra kick in the teeth.
At the docks, meanwhile, Ani boards the ship for a new life.
Finally, Frank spots Jordan, which makes me think that he’s already dead. She tells him that he’s safe. Hell, Frank even starts walking regularly. Like he told her, he’d make it. And he did. This means that he can rest. But no. He stopped moving way back there.
Frank looks back and spots his body. When Jordan disappears, Frank falls flat onto the earth.
Later, Elliot learns about his son’s fate and Gena receives the paternity test results: Ray is most definitely Chad’s father.
Paul Woodrugh also has a Memorial Highway named in his honor.
In the next year, through narration, Ani informs us that arrests came in later that year. Tony Chessani was made Mayor of Vinci. These people really do deserve a better world.
We then see her providing evidence to a journalist- all about larceny, murder, and cascading betrayals. The man wants Ani to testify to bring this to the Times, but Ani won’t. She wants the man to remain until she’s been gone for an hour.
She then heads to speak with Jordan, who was taking watch of Ani’s baby. Ani gets ready to head off for her long trip ahead.
As the festivities around them continue, Jordan and Ani meet up with Nails and head into the night as Season Two of True Detective comes to a close.
As Ray said just two episodes in, we get the world that we deserve. If it’s ridden with corruption, the forces of good should take it upon themselves to right the wrongs of evil. Where there is light, there will always be darkness.
But in this case, there may be too much darkness for our protagonists to handle. While I still contend that this season has been slow to start, now that it’s over, I actually enjoy watching this growing conspiracy unravel as we go from one mystery to the next. As they put out one fire, they have to contend with several larger ones.
I see the second season of True Detective as a tragedy. No one is truly happy with the lives they have and our main characters in particular exist in a world where corruption runs in an endless cycle, as seen with Tony Chessani stepping into his father’s shoes as Vinci’s new mayor. There’s no triumphant victory. Granted, the first season didn’t exactly end on the most uplifting note either, but the outlook here is bleak, even with who survives.
The characters themselves are looking to redeem themselves for their past sins. It’s hard to escape the darkness when there’s so much around you, but the characters kept moving to make new lives for themselves. Despite how the season wraps up, there’s some semblance of redemption and possibility of vindication, but that remains to be seen.
Caspere’s death kicked off a ripple effect throughout Vinci that led our detectives digging deeper into the rabbit hole as they worked to unravel this mystery. I’ll give the writers credit for this: the 1992 robbery and mystery surrounding the two orphaned kids came up in the latter half of the season, but little did we know that we’d seen both of them on the film set. Sure, their parts were minor, but these two kids who had been missing for years were right in front of us. Their roles were so insignificant that I didn’t think much of their appearances back then.
“Omega Station” felt like a race against the clock with Ray, Ani, and Frank realizing that the odds were too highly stacked against them. Okay, so Ray, Ani, and Paul found Vera, but that didn’t solve the Caspere investigation. Frank may have burned down the club, but while he kept his eyes on the Russians, he forgot about the Mexicans. And Paul, though he’s dead, didn’t anticipate Burris coming from behind to finish him off after he thought he was in the clear.
Only on a few occasions did characters have time to breathe, and even then, it was either to grasp the reality of their situation, consider their future, or discuss their pasts. We see this play out when Ani and Ray talk about the moments where their lives changed forever as they entered dark places. Or, in Ani’s case, brought to a dark place.
Same goes with Frank and his past haunting him as he walked to his death, though I think this was a tad more blatant with the real-life visualizations of him being taunted. On a side-note, I wasn’t a fan of the way these final sequences were edited together. Just show all of Frank’s final moment and then cut to Ray. Doing them together and giving us glimpses of Ani was jarring to watch.
And though the detectives had some minor victories here and there, not only were they not ready for one new threat after another, they weren’t the best people to handle this. Granted, I’d be hard-pressed to name detectives in this world who could, but they aren’t the best at their jobs, either. Chief Holloway even tells Ray that few thought of him as competent, and I think that applies to all three. The shootout was a bust, saving Vera came at the expense of two men being killed, Ray and Paul died during battle, and even though she escapes, Ani doesn’t fully win in the end.
Neither does Ray, whose death irks me because it didn’t have to go down the way that it did. Let’s take a look: so Ray is being blamed for the murders of both Davis and Woodrugh. He’s a wanted man, but he has a clear exit strategy that just involved him sticking to the plan. Even if he didn’t nail the likes of Holloway and Burris and bring some closure to Ben Caspere’s murder, he had a way out.
But the moment he decided to take a detour and check on Chad, despite telling Gena that he would leave them alone, it was clear that something bad would happen. So while I get that he wants to have one last look at his son, I’m not certain that Ray needed to do what he did. He knew in his heart that he was Chad’s father, and that’s all that mattered to him. But doing this made him a target and set up his death. At the same time, at this point, there weren’t many places Ray could go since he was still wanted for murder, so I just call this detour a foolish decision on his part.
While I’m glad that Ray went out fighting, it wasn’t a very smart way to go because he could have escaped. He wanted vindication that his son was alright, and he was, but Ray didn’t need to see this with his own eyes. Get to a safe location first, and then just call your son, especially when Gena learned the paternity test results and would probably be more receptive to setting things straight.
And to add insult to injury, after Ray rushes to his death after dispatching some of the officers with Burris, his final message to Chad about being strong didn’t even send. That’s just more salt in the wound for a man who tried to right his wrongs and had a chance to start over, but his error led to a hastened death.
It brings some of Ray’s arc full circle, as his father said during the dream sequence of “Maybe Tomorrow” that he saw his son running through the trees, but the trees are like giants. And where does Ray end up before meeting his end? Beneath the giant trees.
Again, Frank takes the necessary precautions to ensure Jordan’s safety, but their bond is tight enough to the point where she almost refused to leave, no matter what. Like Ray and Ani, he knows that there are others coming for him, but he has loose ends to tie by getting back at Osip. He manages to do that, destroy the casino, and send Jordan away, so Frank is making the sacrificial play, knowing that there’s little chance that he’ll see his wife again.
When characters in television shows or movies part ways, but talk about some dream moment where they’ll reunite, it’s pretty clear that one of them is going die. Perhaps someone would ambush Jordan and Nails, or Frank would bite it, but this kind of pre-happy ending just spelled trouble from the beginning.
Frank had lost so much already, but to the very end, he went down fighting. Could Frank have been put in a position where he’d survive, but be unable to reunite with Jordan? It’s possible. After all, the reason he didn’t hand over his suit is because he still had the diamonds. Giving those up in addition to the money he surrendered to Gonzalez would leave him with nothing except his clothes.
Given how the characters have been dealing with these large, corrupt forces and paying little attention to the smaller ones in front of them, it’s interesting how much stock Frank put into killing Osip, but didn’t consider that Gonzalez would keep to the terms of their agreement. With no club to run, Gonzalez can’t make a profit. The question of how Gonzalez found Frank confounds me, though, considering he was in a completely different vehicle. Maybe Armin sold him out? I dunno. He seemed like a low-key player, so I’m just speculating.
I did really enjoy the final moment between Frank and Jordan in the desert. It’s like in recent moments on Boardwalk Empire or The Walking Dead where a character on their way out envisions a more perfect world where they’re at peace, only to reveal that they’ve already died. Frank had come so far and looking at severity of his stab wound, it was clear that he wasn’t going to make it out of that desert alive. So he had one moment to say goodbye to his wife before realizing that he’d already left this world.
But the last person standing is Rachel McAdams. Ani’s quick bond with Ray still isn’t something I’m a fan of, but these are two tortured characters that found each other through their own messy lives and tried to make something out of it, which came in the form of Ray’s second son that he never got to see.
Despite not thinking much of Ray in the beginning, Ani formed a close bond with him and given the concern in her voice when she learned that Ray wouldn’t make it in time, this was a connection that she did not want to lose.
So her trump card is all of the collected evidence in the hands of the Times reporter, which is a nice callback to the eight part mini-series on Vinci that we heard of the season premiere. I think of this as similar to the ending of Watchmen: there’s a chance to right wrongs and ensure justice to those denied, but we don’t know where the story goes from here. All we know is that Ani, Jordan, Nails, and the baby must navigate a new world on their own, always watching their backs.
Even though Ani is the only one of the four main characters to survive, she doesn’t much to show for it. She has her child, but to make it to this point, she had to cut all ties to her family, she’s still wanted for questioning in a security guard’s death, and both of her new partners, one of whom is the father of her child, are now dead.
No one gets a happy ending. Chad will never hear the final words of his father, who is still blamed for the deaths of Davis and Woodrugh. Paul himself just gets a highway named after him, Jordan will never get that reunion, and Ani must abandon her past life to start anew in secrecy. It’s like Dante said on Clerks: “That’s what life is- a series of down endings.”
Let’s wind back a year. At the end of Season One, Rust told Marty that between light and darkness, the light was winning. Yes, the slight optimistic note, that season also ended on a downer. That trend continues here with the corrupt cycle continuing and claiming the lives of most of the characters we’ve followed for eight episodes. And there’s still some parts unresolved, as we don’t follow up with Emily or Cynthia at all since Paul’s death. Yeah, we see them and the baby during the dedication ceremony, but that’s it. We don’t get their reactions to Paul’s death.
There was a lot of “Omega Station” that I liked: the reveal of the two orphaned kids being right in front of us all along, the shootout sequence, Frank wandering through the desert, Ani and Ray bonding in their final moments, and the lack of an optimistic ending. That, I think, makes it feel a tad more real.
Again, Season Two of True Detective had a large hill to climb before it even aired and when it eventually premiered. During its run, the season has had many comparisons to Season One- some criticism was warranted, I’ll admit, but I’m trying as best I can to judge this on its own merits. As a whole, this season is good. I personally wouldn’t say it’s as good as Season One, but just for now. I need this to settle in and want to revisit this later so I can catch up on the hints and plot points planted that I missed on my first viewing.
The biggest strength, I feel, of this season came through the performances from the leads. Each of them has something strong to bring, with Colin Farrell being the standout, in my opinion. Rachel McAdams and Taylor Kitsch were good as well, and Vince Vaughn took awhile to grow on me since some of his dialogue felt like it was written for Rust Cohle. Like 2014, the mystery became more complex as the protagonists kept moving forward, but every time it felt like they had a way out, darkness pulled them back in.
There’s a possibility that the light may win in the end, but we can only wonder.