A Look at True Detective- Season 2 Finale: “Omega Station”

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.”

Omega Station- Ani and Ray talk about their pasts

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?

Omega Station- Jordan and Frank's final moment together in the train station

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.

Omega Station- Burris tells Ray about Paul's death

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.

Omega Station- Frank finds Austin Chessani dead in his pool

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.

Omega Station- Frank shows Austin's body to Veronica

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.

Omega Station- Ani and Ray investigate, find evidence

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.

Omega Station- Ray and Ani speak with Laura-Erica

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.

Omega Station- Ani gives Erica a bus ticket out of the area

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.

Omega Station- Felicia helps Frank into a hidden section of the bar

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.

Omega Station- Ray encounters Leonard at the train station

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.

Omega Station- Ray and Chief Holloway talk about Caspere

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.

Omega Station- Leonard slashes at Holloway

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.

Omega Station- Frank and Ani meet for the first time

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.

Omega Station- Frank and Ray talk about their plan

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.

Omega Station- Felicia tells Ani how Ray and Frank helped her

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.

Omega Station- Ray and Ani smoke and hold hands

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.

Omega Station- Ani finds Dr. Irving Pitlor's body

While Ani finds Dr. Irving Pitlor’s body, tied to a chair.

Omega Station- Frank kills Osip

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.

Omega Station- Frank and Ray shake hands before parting ways

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.

Omega Station- Ray calls Ani

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.

Omega Station- Frank prepares to put away the diamonds

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.

Omega Station- Ray watches Chad from afar

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.

Omega Station- Ray sees a transponder under his vehicle

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.

Omega Station- Frank taken hostage

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.

Omega Station- Frank is brought before Gonzalez

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.

Omega Station- Frank gets stabbed

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.

Omega Station- Frank envisions his father berating him

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.

Omega Station- Ray leaves one final message for Chad

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.

Omega Station- Ray on the run from Burris

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.

Omega Station- Ray dies

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.

Omega Station- Ani sets sail

At the docks, meanwhile, Ani boards the ship for a new life.

Omega Station- Frank spots Jordan waiting for him

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.

Omega Station- Frank is already dead

Frank looks back and spots his body.  When Jordan disappears, Frank falls flat onto the earth.

Omega Station- Ray is the father

Later, Elliot learns about his son’s fate and Gena receives the paternity test results: Ray is most definitely Chad’s father.

Omega Station- Paul Woodrugh Memorial Highway

Paul Woodrugh also has a Memorial Highway named in his honor.

Omega Station- Tony Chessani becomes Mayor of Vinci

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.

Omega Station- Ani presents her evidence

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.

Omega Station- Jordan, Ani, and the baby

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.

Omega Station- Nails, Jordan, and Ani head into the night

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.

Omega Station- Ray's farewell to Chad

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- Gonzalez speaks with Frank

“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.

Omega Station- Ani and Ray have a moment

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.

Omega Station- Frank hallucinates

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.

Omega Station- Paul's body wrapped up

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.

Omega Station- Ray's final moment

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.

Omega Station- Ray salutes to Chad

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.

Omega Station- Failed to upload recording

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.

Omega Station- Ray beneath the trees

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.

Omega Station- Frank and Jordan in the train station

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.

Omega Station- Frank walks to his death

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.

Omega Station- Frank walks without a problem

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.

Omega Station- Ani fears the worst

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.

Omega Station- Ani learns that Ray won't be joining her

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.

Omega Station- Ani is the last detective standing

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.”

Light Winning

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.

Omega Station- Ani and Ray escape the train station

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.

A Look at True Detective- Season 2, Episode 7: “Black Maps and Motel Rooms”

How do you recover from nearly being killed at an orgy with powerful figures?  Well, you can’t, really.  It’s hard to come back from that sort of thing without it fucking up your head.  We ended “Church in Ruins” with our detectives making some headway and finding the missing girl, Vera.  But instead of things looking up, they just get worse.  Oh, and everything is fucking.  Welcome to “Black Maps and Motel Rooms.”

Black Maps and Motel Rooms- Ani and Ray regroup after the mission

The episode begins at the Molera Motel where Paul goes over the documents retrieved from the heist while Vera sleeps.  He receives another call from Emily, but ignores it.  Ani, meanwhile, feels fucked up from what happened at the mansion.  She tells Ray all the powerful men she saw during the operation and how she’s been waiting her entire life to gut a man like she did.  How sweet.

She talks about running out and being found in the woods, but drops it when Ray asks her to clarify.  She then starts putting the moves on Ray, who had very different plans for the night.  He lets a delirious Ani go as she tries to rest off the effects of the drugs.  Plus, Ani is too far out of Ray’s league, anyway.  Ray wants the ladies to stay while he and Paul report to Davis.  In the meantime, Ani can call Athena.

Black Maps and Motel Rooms- Paul and Ray go over the documents and signatures

Paul and Ray go over the documentation to new owners, including Osip and Anthony Chessani.  It includes mentions of new land parcels and a buy-sell deal that involves reselling Caspere’s land.  Paul receives an ominous text regarding Emily, but disregards it for the time.

Ani joins the two to discuss their next move.  Paul needs to check in on his fiancé, so he heads off for now.  Ray thinks that Ani should drop their information on Davis when the next opportunity arrives.

Black Maps and Motel Rooms- Frank plays by himself, Jordan joins him

At the casino, Frank assembles a game with himself when Jordan joins him.  He fills her in about new people helping out at the club while being gangbanged by forces unseen.  What can Frank pull together right now?  Maybe $2 or even $3 hundred thousand.  That’d be 45 years of his life gone.  He can’t see himself working at Applebees, though.  Soon, Ray enters and sits with Frank to tell him about his strange night.

Black Maps and Motel Rooms- Paul and Emily talk

Paul tells Emily about his text message involving the undercover case.  He wants her to be safe for a couple of days so he can clear this situation up.  He’s just trying to be a good man, but Emily thinks that he doesn’t try hard enough.  Well, she’s not completely wrong.

Black Maps and Motel Rooms- Ani fills Athena in on what happened at the orgy

Ani fills Athena in on her night and tells her to disappear for awhile.  After all, Ani did use her name.  Maybe she can go up north to Oregon to be safe.  For how long?  No idea.  And Ani is seeing someone and starting school soon, but Ani needs her gone now.  She won’t go back home.  Ani tells Athena that she saved her a girl and that she herself was given something at the party, as Athena had done before, but leaves out the killing details.

Black Maps and Motel Rooms- Paul drops Emily and Cynthia at a motel

Paul drops off Emily and Cynthia at the motel where they’ll be staying.  It’s too complicated to go to his superiors at this point and this may be nothing, but Paul needs them to be safe for two, maybe three nights.  He advises them to not answer the door or phone if it isn’t him.  All they need to do is relax.  I’m sure that’ll be easy.

Black Maps and Motel Rooms- Frank and Ray talk about personal attachment and investment

Frank talks to Ray about personal attachment and investment.  For what?  This goes bigger than Blake, Ray says.  He mentions the documents from holding companies and how it involves Chessani’s kid.  Ray also mentions a European-looking man by the name of Osip.  He’s actually Russian-Israeli and part of a deal to fuck over Frank.  Frank fills in Ray about Irina Rulfo’s involvement and how he found her…dead.  Frank promises through word of honor to have a name for Ray by the end of the day.  Ray calls Paul to let him know about Rulfo’s involvement.

Black Maps and Motel Rooms- Vera looks through some photos

Ani speaks with Vera about her disappearance and the contents of a mailbox that Vera kept- some photos.  Vera apparently forgot about the box and the contents that must have been sent from a woman named Tascha.  Vera met Ben Caspere at the Panticapaeum Institute and that’s where Vera had been hooked up on the circuit.  Tascha was his favorite and had photos of these parties.  Maybe the photos were backup.

As for the diamonds, Vera says that Caspere showed them to Tascha once.  But what happened to Tascha?  Wherever they were up North, someone had a camera.  There was a cabin out back where Tony Chessani and his men took Tascha…

Vera refuses to testify and she clarifies to Ani that she never tried to get out of the mansion.  Hell, she didn’t want to.  She was never missing, despite the condition she was in when Ani found her.

Okay.  So who is the other girl in the photos?  Probably Laura.  She wasn’t dumb enough to end up at the cabin.  Vera just wants to get back to her life, but she’s not looking forward to reuniting with Dani.  She has nice things and had something well going on with Tony Chessani.  But Ani tells her that maybe she was put on this Earth for more than fucking.  To Vera, everything is fucking.

How very profound, True Detective.

Black Maps and Motel Rooms- Dani and Vera reunite

Dani arrives, though Vera isn’t pleased to see her and won’t be going with her.  Ani tells Vera to lay low until it’s safe.  After all, Ani is the only one who can get her out of danger.  And if Vera doesn’t abide, Ani can just spill that Vera talked to a cop.

Black Maps and Motel Rooms- Paul looks into Dixon's background, sees that Ani is wanted for questioning

Paul looks into Teague Dixon’s background.  His chief accountant?  Ben Caspere.  Paul also learns that Ani’s wanted for questioning in the death of a security guard.

Black Maps and Motel Rooms- Blake alone with Frank

Blake meets with Frank and talks of a private thing he had last night.  He made $15,000, so he’s like a natural born pimp.  Frank saw a difference between a whore and a pimp.  A whore has integrity.  Blake says that he can be moved up, but there’s nothing he can be moved up to, Frank says.  All Frank’s shit has been taken down to the street.  Blake assures Frank that he’ll make it back to the top.

Stan followed Blake, Frank says.  Frank wants to know what it is that Stan saw that led him to die.  Blake fucked up by letting himself be alone with Frank right now.  That’s just arrogance.  Frank smashes his glass into Blake’s face.  He lays into Blake, who tells Frank everything that Ray already told him.  Osip and the other powerful names reached out to Blake, who just took the opportunity.

No one knows who killed Caspere, though.  Caspere was always going to fuck over Frank out of his money.  Where were all of Frank’s plans going to leave Blake?  Stan?  He did always teach them to make their own opportunities.

Frank then asks about the man who hurt Ray’s wife.  It was some meth head that said Blake ripped him off.  He was going to come after Blake, but then Blake heard about some deputy’s wife.  Blake says that he can get the money back, though, which stops Frank from choking him to death.  There’s a cash exchange tomorrow- $12 million.  Blake doesn’t know who will be at this handoff for sure, though.  Osip, at least, is sure to be present.  Osip’s people are taking it all.

Black Maps and Motel Rooms- Blake bleeds out on Frank's carpet

Blake can work on the inside as a triple-cross since Osip doesn’t know he’s been found out, but Frank decides to shoot Blake in the stomach instead.  He relays the tale of how he first found Blake, who had potential, and is now bleeding out on Frank’s carpet.  So his tale has come full circle, I suppose.

Black Maps and Motel Rooms- Ray finds Davis dead

Meanwhile, at an industrial plant, Ray receives a surprise when he goes to meet with Davis, only to find her dead in her car.  He speeds off.

Black Maps and Motel Rooms- Ani shows her father some photos

Ani shows some photos to Eliot, who had no real relationships with the others.  Everyone was passing on separate journeys.  Some wanted freedom, many came and went.  He regrets so much of this time.  Ani tells her Eliot she finally remembered the face of the man who took her away, even though she said she couldn’t remember anything.  True, but people came and went.  There was a man and Ani thinks that she always remembered it.

Eliot searched the forests for four days.  He wishes that he could give that time back to Ani.  He wanted to be like his strict father.  God damn everything.  Ani won’t and can’t turn herself in, but she can fix this.  Though Ani’s life hasn’t been easy, Eliot still thinks that Ani is the same, innocent person he’s always known.  I can’t tell if that was meant to be a joke.

Black Maps and Motel Rooms- Ani says goodbye to her father and sister

Elvis shows up and lets her know her place is being watched because of the APB.  The two make amends, with Elvis admitting that he was jealous.  However, Ani admits that she fucked up on that one.  She admits that she may be unfair to people at times.  Understatement of the fucking season, Rachel McAdams.  Ani says her farewell to her family and tells Elvis to tail them until Eugene.

Black Maps and Motel Rooms- Jordan sees Blake's body

Back to Frank, who acknowledges that he’s in a secret war.  He wants Jordan brought inside.  She sees Blake’s body and isn’t aghast at the sight.  Frank tells her that others are gunning for him.  As for what Jordan can do, Frank tells her to pack a bag since she can’t stay home anymore.  Nails will accompany her.

Black Maps and Motel Rooms- Frank looks into the diamond exchange rate

Frank looks into the diamond exchange rate, where the owner doesn’t wish to partake in such exchanges, even though the money would be untraceable.

Black Maps and Motel Rooms- Frank and Armin talk about the consignment

He then speaks with a travel agent about plans and even gets some passports made.  At the bakery, he arranges with Armin on how he’ll pay the consignment them the day after tomorrow.  He fills them in about the Russians’ takeover plan.  If the owners help Frank now, he’ll pay them back later.  Right now, he needs two clean cars and a clean passport to get where he’s going.  If that’s done, there’s another half million for the owners.  His ship has come in.

Black Maps and Motel Rooms- Ani, Paul, and Ray discuss Davis' murder

Ani, Ray, and Paul discuss Davis’ murder and how the three are covering their tracks.  Ray even changed his license plates at a fucking mall because he’s being set up as Davis’ murderer.  Burris and Dixon served together under Holloway in 1992.  It’s possible that Caspere helped them move the diamonds.  The diamonds are how they bought in.  But Dixon?  He checked in on the diamonds before our characters knew about them.

In addition, Burris arrested Ledo Amarilla in 2006, but soon released him after interrogation.  Hell, there weren’t even any notes left over from that arrest.  The shooting from a few months back also turned out be a setup, as it’s possible that the key players involved thought it would go down different.  That would explain why Caspere’s place was tossed- a frantic search for those diamonds.  Tascha was going to blackmail Caspere.

Caspere’s death kicked off everything, but why wasn’t he tortured for the diamond?  It doesn’t add up.  There are also few places to take this to since Davis is dead and this investigation was off the books.

Black Maps and Motel Rooms- Frank talks with Mayor Chessani

Mayor Chessani talks it up with a woman when Frank arrives and tells him about Tony’s involvement with Osip.  He’s getting fucked over by his own son.  You don’t see that too often.  Frank, while leaving a gun behind the bar, serves some drinks to Osip, who later arrives.  The clubs, Osip says, are now his.  He’ll be doing a lot of business in California.  Frank admits he was out of his element with this land stuff, to which Osip finds it surprising that Frank is taking it so easily.

Black Maps and Motel Rooms- Osip talks with Frank

Osip tells Frank that his board wanted to take him out, but Osip spoke on his behalf as a smart businessman.  He offers Frank a chance to help run the club, even though Frank wants out.  It’s time to find something new to build on.  That’s all Frank hopes for, going into the future.

Black Maps and Motel Rooms- Paul meets with Miguel

Paul, on his own and having received some compromising photos, calls Ray and lets him know something that no one else knows.  He tells him that someone sent photos of him and how he thinks that he’s walking into a trap.  He meets Miguel, who has to take his gun on orders.  Paul isn’t in a position to protest, as there are eyes all over, watching him.

Black Maps and Motel Rooms- Ani and Paul go through some photos

Ray tells Ani that they need an exit strategy, since there’s no way they’d be allowed to go to trial.  Ani mentions a woman named Laura.  The two go through the photos and Ray notices a woman named Laura, Caspere’s secretary.  One of the orphans in the robbery was also named Laura.  Ray pulls out the photo and they put it against the more recent photo of Laura.  Coincidence?

They plan to move forward, but when they call Paul, they only get a voicemail.  All to do now is wait.

Black Maps and Motel Rooms- Paul is brought before Chief Holloway

Paul is brought before, to his surprise, Chief Holloway, to answer some questions.  The tunnels they’re in go throughout the city.  Dixon was keeping an eye on Paul, which is what led to the photos.  Documents were stolen from a private gathering and Holloway knows that Paul had them.  He asks about Ani and Ray’s whereabouts.  Paul offers to call them and set up a meeting.  Davis used them all, but she’s dead now, and Paul could give a shit about either Ray or Ani.

Problem is that Paul doesn’t get any service.  He gets Holloway subdued and manages to make an escape.

Black Maps and Motel Rooms- Frank kills a henchman after announcing a gas leak

Back at the casino, Frank tells a henchman that the club needs to be cleared for a few hours due to a gas leak.  Time to cash in those chips.  One of Osip’s henchmen asks about the gas leak.  He’s killed for his troubles.  So Frank does indeed start a gas leak, starts a fire, and leaves.

Black Maps and Motel Rooms- Cynthia and Emily watch a movie

Emily and Cynthia bond over some old-timey movies since they have nothing else to do.

Black Maps and Motel Rooms- Ani and Ray drink

Ray doesn’t think that this will go over well with Chad, given what his son will learn about him when this gets out.  Ani apologizes for bringing Ray back into this, but that’s no big deal to him.  A long time ago, Ray thought everything came from something else, but it came from there.  She had something like that too, right?  No.  That’s not something that Ani talks about, which is something that Ray admires about her.  Well, now.

After a long silence, Ani admits that Paul isn’t a bad man, but he disagrees.  He is, in fact, a bad man.  He asks Ani if she misses it- anything.  She responds by taking his hand into hers.

Black Maps and Motel Rooms- Paul on the run

Paul, meanwhile, continues his escape, but the men are closing in on him.  He manages to take out two men and slowly makes his way out, but he’s forced to run as bullets start flying his way.  He takes cover and ambushes two men searching for him.

After taking a moment to regain his composure, Paul heads to a ladder and makes his way up.

Black Maps and Motel Rooms- Ani and Ray kiss

He’s not having as good a time as Ani and Ray, who start to have their fun.

Black Maps and Motel Rooms- Frank burns it down

Back at the club, Frank empties alcohol all over and turns on the gas.  Then, from a comfortable distance, he watches the fire.

Black Maps and Motel Rooms- Paul is shot by Lieutenant Burris

Ray escapes, but just as he’s about to make a call, he’s shot and killed by Lieutenant Burris.  Burris nabs Paul’s phone and flees as the episode comes to a close.

So instead of our detectives having some feeling of accomplishment after their convenient rescue of Vera last week, “Black Maps and Motel Rooms” showed that things only got worse for them.  And they aren’t getting any better, from the looks of it.

Kind of like how Rust and Marty tried to make sense of the occult stuff from the first season, our four protagonists learn that this corruption goes deeper than they imagined.  The shootout from the end of “Down Will Come,” Davis’ murder, Blake’s involvement with Osip, all of them set-ups for the main characters.

And there’s little to no recovery time because they all realize that they’ve been screwed over by a corrupt system.  Much like “Other Lives,” this episode mostly dealt with the fallout of the previous one, but the stakes and consequences are much larger here.

Black Maps and Motel Rooms- Paul with Miguel

Let’s go straight to Paul, as he’s an unfortunate casualty due to being betrayed by Miguel.  Of the three detectives, Paul, I feel, is the most shrouded in mystery.  We’re given hints about his past, but we know the least about him compared to Ray and Ani.  What we do know is that, despite the shit thrown his way, he’s a fighter to the very end.   But he couldn’t let his closet homosexuality get out.

Black Maps and Motel Rooms- Paul making his way out

Despite the impossibility of his situation, he fought his way out in an impressive sequence that, to be frank, impressed me a bit more than the shootout of “Down Will Come,” if only because Paul appears to be better than Ray and Ani at adapting to his environment and using anything to his advantage.

The problem is that Paul got too deep.  He learned more about the diamonds than necessary and managed to connect the investigation to an unlikely source: Lieutenant Burris.  Burris has had a number of appearances, but he’s mostly been a background character popping up every now and then to speak with Ray.

Black Maps and Motel Rooms- Lieutenant Burris kills Paul

We learn this week that Burris was involved with the likes of Dixon and Caspere as far back as the 1992 robbery with the jewelry store being their district.  When Tascha was going to blackmail Caspere, Holloway and Burris killed Caspere instead.  So these two officers of the law that, for the most part, just stick to making sure Ray did his job, have been orchestrating part of this affair for years.

Black Maps and Motel Rooms- Chessani talks with Frank

Yes, we’ve known since the season premiere that Vinci is a corrupt hellhole, but unlike someone like Mayor Chessani- who turned out to be naïve all along- nothing gave me the impression that Burris and Holloway had a corrupt slant to them.  Maybe a bit of darkness in their lives, sure, but that they’d be behind this was a bit of a surprise to me.  This makes Burris out to be even more dangerous, I think, because of how unassuming he is.

Caspere is dead, but Burris is still alive and can put a stop to anyone that learns too much, as we see with Paul.  The threat didn’t have to be some looming, shadowy presence.  It ended up being someone that we knew this entire time.

Black Maps and Motel Rooms- Blake under Frank's heel

That’s a constant in this episode, with characters being screwed over not by some unknown force, but by those within their inner circle.  Take Blake, who felt that Frank couldn’t be touched, only for us to learn that he’s been touching Frank the entire time.  Phrasing, I know.

Black Maps and Motel Rooms- Frank strangles Blake

Rather than remain a lackey, Blake wanted to rise above his mentor.  Okay, that’s fair, but that came at the expense of his life when he decided to try and screw over Frank.  Blake is that lackey who’s unhappy with playing second fiddle.  He’s tired of playing the game and wants to be a kingmaker, but his methods are sloppy.  He gets involved with the very people already screwing over Frank, thinking that he’s one step ahead of him, but he forgets how much Frank utilizes Ray.  That or he didn’t count on Ray spying on him.  He got in over his head.

Black Maps and Motel Rooms- Frank watches the casino burn

And Frank just wants out at this point, but not before screwing over everyone that screwed him.  It’s understandable why he’d kill Blake, but now he wants to make sure that Osip doesn’t get his hands on the casino after his power play.  It may be part of his legacy, but if it’s out of his hands, Frank sees no need to let others have what he’s lost.  He may be down, but he’s taking down as many people with him as possible.

Because the characters can meet their end at any point, they take steps necessary to protect their loved ones.  Frank entrusts Nails to travel with Jordan, Paul sends Emily and Cynthia to a hotel, and Ani has her father and sister sent out of the state and escorted by Elvis.  All because they don’t fully know what they’re dealing with and want to keep their families safe.

Black Maps and Motel Rooms- Ani and Eliot

Ani gets a chance to make well with her father and sister and while they’re still a screwed-up bunch, at least they get to end on a good note for now.  I’m mixed on the interaction this episode between Eliot and Ani.

Black Maps and Motel Rooms- Eliot asks if Ani will turn herself in

Eliot calls Ani the most innocent person he’s ever known, and that is seven kinds of fucked up.  There are few to no honest people on True Detective.  If this is meant to be an emotional moment, I think it fails because Ani, who has been pretty blunt from the start, should have rebuked that because she’s far from innocent.  Hell, she’s far from even being a good person.

Black Maps and Motel Rooms- Ani won't turn herself in

I get that she wants to end on good terms, but I think she had a chance to admit that she’s not this angel that her father thinks she is.  And not that Ani has been shy about admitting how much of a fuck-up she is.  But then, the people who she tries to make amends to aren’t all that much better.

I mean, they’re a notch above her, but they also aren’t innocent.  Even if Athena was out of the game, she still did webcam shows, Eliot’s lifestyle may have led to Ani losing her innocence, and Elvis sold out his partners.  It can be argued that these things aren’t as bad as Ani killing two men, but again, there aren’t many honest people in this world.

Even though Ani managed to rescue Vera, she’s still reeling from the effects of the drugs and what she did.  For all the turmoil caused by the shootout, the sting was, I feel, much more dangerous for Ani because she stepped into that den alone.  She had Paul and Ray outside, but she had to fend for herself and almost died as a result.  That sort of stuff can really fuck with your head, and we see that here with Ani.

Black Maps and Motel Rooms- Ani and Ray join hands

She tries putting the moves on Ray for, I think, just some form of attachment.  I repeat, just some attachment.  Even before Davis suggested that Ani make advances on Ray, it was clear that there was no sort of attraction between Ani and Ray.  For them to get intimate seems to be them just going through the motions of two fucked-up people finding one another.  I doubt much will be made of this next week and I certainly don’t expect them to pair off and ride into the sunset when the season ends.

Black Maps and Motel Rooms- Ani and Ray on the bed

And the second go, though I’m not a fan of it, at least felt more natural than when Ani put the moves on Ray earlier.  There, the effects of the drugs still lingered, but come episode’s end, they’ve both accepted that they are, in fact, bad people.  They may have good intentions, but in general, like most characters in True Detective, they’re not good people.  And when they try to do the right thing, fate fucks them over in the worst ways possible.

Black Maps and Motel Rooms- Ray realizes that Davis is dead

Ray, one of the few to constantly acknowledge that he’s a fuck-up, has his share of personal issues already, but now he’s being implicated in Davis’ death.  Davis, one of the few with some semblance of integrity, winds up as a victim.  And though it looked like a brutal murder, what made this moment so impactful, I think, is that we’re not given time to dwell on it.  Sure, we see Davis’ body before Ray does, but we don’t get much time to soak in the murder.  It’s just body on a growing pile, but it’s made worse because Davis actually wanted to solve Caspere’s murder.

And it happens pretty early in the episode as opposed to being a final moment.  Davis is dead, Ray learns this, move onto the next scene.  You can’t absorb it because there’s too many other things to deal with at the moment, which I like because it keeps things moving.  If we stayed in the car, we’d just get Ray realizing that Davis is dead, but we know that and there’s nothing more that can be done at the moment.  Despite Davis being a relatively straight arrow, even she wasn’t immune to death.  It’s a bleak world these characters live in, but as Ray said, we get the world that we deserve.

Black Maps and Motel Rooms- Paul dead

As we head into the season finale, what took seven episodes to build up to is slowly giving us pieces of an incomplete puzzle.  “Black Maps and Motel Rooms” gives our characters room to breathe, but little more than that.  Their situations have gone from bad to worse as the conspiracy around them involves almost every single powerful figure around them, with the exception of Mayor Chessani.

It put Ani and Ray in dire situations with them both wanted for murder, gave Frank motive to burn bridges and the casino along with them, and put Paul in the crosshairs of Lieutenant Burris.  We did learn more about this growing mystery: we learned of Burris involvement way back in 1992, who died in the cabin, how long Dixon had been looking into the diamonds, and overall, just how fucked-up this world really is.  Our protagonists are navigating into unknown territory and already one of them has been taken.  What happens next?  We’ll see as we head into the season finale.

A Look at True Detective- Season 2, Episode 6: “Church in Ruins”

So last week ended with Ray banging on Frank’s door for answers.  This week, sex, drugs, hard music, and some bloodshed make for one crazy episode.  This is “Church in Ruins.”

Church in Ruins- Standoff between Ray and Frank

The episode begins immediately following Ray confronting Frank at the end of “Other Lives.”  Both men sit down and skip the pleasantries.  Ray demands to know the name of the man that Frank delivered him on a piece of paper a long time ago.  Is it because Frank knew what Ray would do?  No, as he barely knew Ray at the time.  He only knew what he would have done to this greaser crankhead.

Frank, though, isn’t the originator of this information- he received and passed it on.  After all, why not get blackmail on a sheriff’s deputy?  Ray informs Frank that Gena’s attacker has been caught.  Frank didn’t know much about this since he thought the information was solid.  Despite Ray’s anger, Frank doesn’t falter.  He doesn’t see it as using Ray’s tragedy to get him to kill someone.  All he did was give Ray a name.  Ray made his own choice and he should own up to it.

So who gave the name?  A man that one of Frank’s men knew who told Frank all about Ray’s story.  Up until then, Frank had never heard of the crankhead or Ray- he just knew that he was scum.  If Ray wants out, then he’s got it, as Frank doesn’t feel that he’s had the nerve for this for some time.  Frank insists that he didn’t set up Ray.

So Ray fills in Frank about Blake running girls outside the clubs, which isn’t too much of a surprise to Frank, but then he learns that Blake is also in deep with Tony Chessani and has a special stable of Eastern Bloc girls that received surgery at Dr. Irving Pitlor’s clinic.  Caspere attended these special parties where men went to get deals done.  Ray needs Frank to look up the man who tipped him to the rapist.  Frank, who appears to have time on his hands, promises to look into it.

Both have their mutual interests beyond this, as both Frank and Ray are searching for Irina Rulfo.  If Ray helps find the hard drive, then Frank will give Ray the man who did him wrong.  Ray then heads off to see about killing a man.

Church in Ruins- Davis, Bezzerides, and Woodrugh talk about the cabin investigation

A tech team investigates the cabin that Ani and Paul found.  The team finds that the blood all over is female- dead gonorrhea biophages.  Davis shows up at random as Ani tells her that this discovery is part of the bigger picture involving Vinci, Caspere, and these parties.  Davis, though, is just interested in collusions, but maybe these parties are where the collusions get sealed.

The sheriff doesn’t have any word of parties being thrown up here as of recent.  The area itself is private property, not state forest.  As per the previous episodes, Ani is tasked with working the girls and parties while Paul works the diamonds.  Maybe they can finger whoever took them.  Ha.  When Davis asks about Velcoro, Ani covers and says that he’s looking into the Rulfo girl.

Church in Ruins- Ray visits a prisoner, played by Marco Rodríguez, to discuss Gena's rape

Well, not right now.  He visits a prison to take a stroll down memory lane with one prisoner, played by Marco Rodríguez, in particular who he thought he killed.  Ray starts by reminding the man about an incident that took place 11 years ago on September 2004.  The victim in particular was a 29-year-old female attorney and this incident occurred in an underground parking garage.  The man claims to have done a lot of things, but he forgets things as well.  Some kind of brain condition.

Ray tells the man that the victimized woman was his wife.  He just came here to look into the prisoner’s eyes.  He then warns that the man will be burned, but if he gets life, Ray promises to have every inch of the man’s flesh removed with a cheese grater, starting with his dick.  He’ll then cut off his nose, lips, and nuts as well, but Ray will make sure that the man lives.  Hell, if the man gets life, Ray may do it anyway.  Nothing about father butt-fucking, though.

As Ray leaves, the man yells that he doesn’t even know Ray, but Ray insists that he did- he just didn’t know that he did.

Church in Ruins- Paul speaks with a former officer about the jewel robbery

Paul takes part in his episodic ritual of looking into the diamond and learns about a robbery at the Sable Fine Jewelers in Hollywood on April 30, 1992.  A retired officer tells Paul about the tumultuous time that was 1992: fires starting everywhere, snipers taking shots at cops, ‘Fuck the Police,’ all that fun stuff.  A lot of officers just up and quit.  The Sable Fine Jewelers robbery resulted in a loss of $2.5 million in blue diamonds.

But it goes deeper than just a robbery: it was also a double homicide, husband and wife proprietors.  The woman, named Margaret Osterman, was pregnant.  There was no crime scene integrity and the police report doesn’t list a single suspect.  No looters, either, the officer figures, since the security tape was missing.

Paul shows a photo of the two kids, Leonard and Laura, who were at the scene but hid for a long time in one of the display cabinets.  The riots overwhelmed the system- if a case didn’t get closed soon, you just kept moving.  The kids ended up in the foster system.

Church in Ruins- Athena gives Ani the rundown on the party she'll be attending

Ani gets in some knife work while Athena explains the routine for this party operation at the Kali Klub in Ventura at 6:30 pm. She’s to use Athena’s name and has to wear a dress that makes her look like she’s $2,000 a night.  This is Ani we’re talking about, so that could take time.  She won’t be allowed to take anything in like a purse, phone, or even a knife.  Even if she snuck something in, the pat down and strip search will find any hidden items.  Whatever Ani plans, she gets on that bus and it’s fuck or run.

Church in Ruins- Frank and Jordan talk with Stan’s widow, Joyce, played by Sprague Grayden

Frank and Jordan talk with Stan’s widow, Joyce, played by Sprague Grayden, about the loss of her husband, and give her some cash, but not for consolation.  Joyce asks if Blake is present, as he stopped by her place after the funeral and asked how she was doing.  Joyce is just worried about her son, Mikey.

Church in Ruins- Frank speaks with Mikey, played by Austin Nash Chase, about Stan

So Frank heads out and speaks with Mikey, played by Austin Nash Chase, about Stan.  Even though Mikey has received enough sympathy, he agrees to sit and listen for some time.  Frank tells Mikey that things will be hard for some time, but Mikey, like his father, has a fighting spirit.  This sort of loss splits your life into a before and after.  Frank has a few, but this is Mikey’s first.  If you use the bad thing right, it can make you stronger.

This, Frank says, is what makes you stronger and shows that inside of you is pure gold.  Frank knows that, as did Stan, and now Mikey does as well.

Church in Ruins- Ray's supervised visit with Chad

Played against this nice little moment is Ray’s supervised visit with Chad.  It doesn’t go smooth, as Ray has to watch his words and tone around the supervisor.  Despite giving Chad a stealth bomber- which Chad points out can kill people- all Ray’s son wants to do is sit around and watch Friends.  I guess Ray didn’t have any idea that these visits were gonna be this way.

Chad learned from his mother that he may not be able to see father that often.  When he gives a nonchalant to Ray’s admission of love for him, Ray turns his attention to the supervisor.

Church in Ruins- Drunk, drugged-up Ray calls Gena to talk about the custody battle

Ray then returns home and heads down a spiral of angst as he drowns himself in alcohol and cocaine.  He later rummages about his wrecked living room and calls Gena to concede.  He won’t contest custody, saying that Chad will be happier with Gena and Richard.  However, Ray doesn’t want Gena to tell Chad about where he may have come from, since no kid should have to know that.  Let him believe that Ray is his father.  Though Ani needs to know the truth, she eventually gives in when Ray promises to leave her life forever.

Church in Ruins- Frank wants answers on where to find Irina Rulfo

In a parking garage, Frank and his men meet with one of Ledo Amarillo’s friends for information about Irina Rulfo.  When the man doesn’t initially fork over information, Frank has one of his underlings put a nail through this man’s left hand.  That doesn’t get him talking, so one goes through the guy’s back as well.  Frank promises the man a flat thousand…or the next nail goes right through his eye.  He learns of a location: El Monte.  Frank drops off the cash, but this is still gonna hurt.

Church in Ruins- Ray, Paul, and Ani brief each other on things that we already know

Ray, Ani, and Paul meet for updates on things that we already know: the diamonds from the unsolved robbery, double homicide, headway on the Rulfo girl, and Ani’s undercover plans.  Paul and Ray will be tailing the bus- Paul even provides Ani with a transponder that she can stick somewhere like her shoe.

This scene was kind of pointless.

Church in Ruins- Ani in disguise, speaks with Blake

Later that night, Ani goes in under Athena’s name.  After clearing with Blake, she boards the bus with other women.

Church in Ruins- Ani about to take pure Molly

As the journey continues, she’s given some pure Molly in order to keep her in a good mood.  Sheesh, Ani, don’t you do your drug research?  Come on.

Church in Ruins- Mexican standoff between Frank and Gonzalez

Frank, meanwhile, gets into an actual Mexican standoff with actual Mexicans: Gonzalez and his posse.  Frank tells Gonzalez about his search for Irina Rulfo.  Sounds like a deal, but Gonzalez remembers that these two never had a formal agreement.  All Frank wants, though, is to speak with Rulfo.

If Gonzalez can help, Frank offers him a chance to peddle his stuff through Frank’s two clubs for three nights a week for one year.  At the end of the year, the two will renegotiate based on mutual performance.  First year, Frank won’t take any percentage.  Gonzalez keeps what he makes.  Gonzalez agrees to get Irina to call.  It’s a start, but Frank insists upon a face-to-face encounter soon.

Church in Ruins- Frank speaks with Irina on the phone

Soon enough, the phone encounter comes as Frank speaks with someone on the phone going by the name Irina.  She refuses to talk in person at the moment, but she does admit that, as far as the stolen items from Ben Caspere’s place go, a man gave them to her.  In addition, Irina received $500 from a man she describes as a thin, White male cop.  How does she know it’s a cop?  She just knows one when she sees one and this cop in particular, she remembers.

Again, Irina won’t talk in person, but when Frank says that her people can come with her, she agrees.

Church in Ruins- Frank finds Irina's body

Frank then assembles some men to meet Irina at a construction site, only to find her with her throat slit.  Gonzalez and his men approach and take the Thursday through Saturday club option.  Frank is reasonably angry at this discovery.  Why hurt Irina?  She was working for the cops.

Church in Ruins- Ani runs into Mr. Wyman, played by Brett Rice

Back at Ani’s Most Excellent Adventure, many prominent men, such as Jacob McCandless and the attorney general, are in attendance.  The Molly blurs her vision as she tries to maintain her composure.  She runs into Mr. Wyman, played by Brett Rice, who calls her a real woman and tries to whisk her away.  She heads with him, but not before grabbing a knife from a table.

Church in Ruins- Ani's dream sequence

In the middle of this, Ani has flashes to her youth when a man brought her into his van…

Church in Ruins- McCandless and Osip negotiate

In another room, McCandless discusses a secure exchange with Osip.  They can enter the money into the system as marketing costs, investment overlay, just like with Frank Seymon.

Church in Ruins- Paul gets some documents

When the two leave, Paul enters through the window and rifles through the drawers until he finds some documents.

Back downstairs, Ani walks among the tons and tons of sex all around her.  It’s a strange sequence, I’ll admit.  Not too strange for True Detective standards, in my opinion, but it is an interesting change of pace.

Church in Ruins- Ani conveniently finds Vera, played by Miranda Rae Mayo

Anyway, it’s Ani’s extremely lucky day because she manages to find Vera, played by Miranda Rae Mayo, who also happened to be attending the party.  Ani helps her out and cuts down two men in the process, but outside of that, she has little to no trouble escaping the mansion.  Sure, she almost gets choked to death, but she did stab the guy before he got his hands on her and he bleeds out in under a minute.  Ah, so now we get that payoff.

Ani and Vera rendezvous with Paul outside and escape gunfire from men who have the accuracy of Stormtroopers.  Ray picks up the three and they whisk off into the night.  Ani announces that she may have killed someone while Paul and Ray see that those contracts have signatures all over them.  Contracts do tend to have those.

“Church in Ruins” does manage to ramp things up from previous episodes and build on the detectives trying to get to the bottom of what’s happened in Vinci.  While I have some issues with how this episode ended, I did enjoy a lot of how it dealt with characters battling their inner demons.

Church in Ruins- Frank tells Ray that he didn't make him kill anyone

Like Frank told Ray, all he did was supply a name.  If Ray wanted to act on his violent tendencies, he didn’t need Frank to push what was there all along.  And I think that’s true for a lot of us.  If we hold any resentment or deep hatred for someone, sure, a little push may help, but we had that inner anger inside from the beginning.  Own it, Frank says.  If doing less keeps you out of Heaven, he wouldn’t want to go because he’d rather walk the Earth as he truly is, not by repressing his darker side.

These characters have struggled with their demons from start to now and we see how people like Ray and Ani crumble under extreme duress, not made any better through drug usage.  Though in Ani’s case, she didn’t have much room to object.

Church in Ruins- Sex

Sticking with Ani and that ending sequence for a minute, I did like how it felt different from most of what we’ve seen this season.  From the choice of music to the blurred sexual encounters to Rachel McAdams’ spaced out expressions as Ani acted out of impulse, I think the whole orgy at the mansion was a well-done sequence.

Church in Ruins- Ani out of it

And given how Ani was undercover, the tension came from the possibility that something could go south if she made a wrong move or exposed herself.  Figuratively, anyway.

Church in Ruins- Ani's dream, joining hands

We dug a bit into Ani’s past through the dream sequence where she was literally lured into a van with a strange man and, presumably, lost her innocence.  This worked well against the orgy atmosphere because it just screws with Ani’s psyche and makes her feel vulnerable and fragile, just as she was during that fateful moment.

Church in Ruins- Athena tries to get Ani to open up

It’s a sharp contrast to how we’ve normally seen Ani, who makes a point of not caring that she’s alone and not becoming attached to people, even her flesh and blood.  She needed Athena’s help and yes, it was for her case, but she spent the majority of the time cutting away with her knife.  Hell, Athena even worked on a piece of art for Ani: a painting about a woman who drowned, just like their mother.  But Ani’s response is that she’s never been into art.

Church in Ruins- Ani with Athena

This shows how disconnected Ani is from everyone around her.  She’s married to her job and possibly even herself.  Rarely does she lower her defenses except in the rare cases she’s with her father or sister.  But in this charged, drugged atmosphere, until she finds Vera and has to fight her way out, Ani is exposed.

Church in Ruins- Ani after stabbing a man

She experienced the pain of losing her innocence, and those memories rushing back when she’s already emotionally unstable just meant that she was on the verge of doing anything.  Ani didn’t really have many options here, but I doubt her killing the two men was her first option.  It felt unplanned, which is what made it more surprising, but still a bit calculated for her.  Remember that this is the same woman who said that if a man put his hands on her, they’d bleed out in under a minute, and that’s exactly what happened.

Now I do have a problem with this sequence, but I’ll get into that later.

Church in Ruins- Ray clashes with Frank about Gena's rape

Since the two month time jump, Ray may have cleaned up his appearance, but he’s still as lowdown as before.  This isn’t anything new or something that someone like Frank brought about, but it’s who Ray has always been: a man with a dark past.

Church in Ruins- Ray spends time with Chad

He’s still committed to being a good father and being there for Chad, but just going off of his son’s indifference, Ray realizes that he’s fighting a losing battle, despite Davis’ help.

Church in Ruins- Gena talks with Ray

So he backs off the custody battle, thinking that he’s doing the right thing by letting Chad and Gena go.  In the end, he just wants Chad to have a happy life, which we see when he pleads Gena to spare Chad of the details surrounding his potential true father.  He says that no child should have to grow up with that.  Ray has already seen plenty of darkness, but he hopes that his son doesn’t have to grow up with traumatic news or incidents that could shape his life- the same sort of bad things that Frank would say make a person stronger.

Church in Ruins- Ray is a drunken, drugged-up wreck

Ray’s self-destruction is another example of Colin Farrell’s acting prowess, I’ll admit.  We’ve seen Ray drink before, but when he dips into drugs as well, we see how hard the pain of potentially losing his son and family for good is affecting him.

Church in Ruins- Ray talks with Gena in a wrecked room

It was a bit shocking to see him observing a model in one moment, but when we return to him after he calls Gena, we see that the entire room is in shambles.  Those models are just painful reminders of a time when Ray had a bond with his son.  Through his desire to let his son grow up with some semblance of normalcy and happiness, that bond has been severed with Ray realizing he wants what he can’t have.

Church in Ruins- Ray threatens Gena's rapist

The prison visit was also very well done and Ray’s threats to the man felt familiar to when he threatened Wit Conroy in the premiere.  And going off of the evil in Ray’s eyes, I don’t doubt that he meant it, but I wonder whether he would follow through on that threat.

Church in Ruins- Frank comforts Mikey

Vince Vaughn gets to show a tender side to Frank through his scene with Mikey about using bad things that make you stronger.  Frank, just like Ani, Paul, and Ray, has had his life split into before and after moments.  They are still enduring their share of demons, but Frank isn’t letting the negativity envelop him.  And Frank comes off as more genuine to Mikey than others apparently have because he’s not saying what he thinks Mikey wants to hear, but what he should hear when it comes to dealing with the death of his father.

Church in Ruins- Frank tells Ray to not shoot him

Frank may not be the most upstanding man, but he’s at least to the point and cuts through the bullshit when it comes to his friendship with Ray.  The conversation between the two was tense and I never thought they would come to blows or gunshots, but even then, the talk never got explosive.  You can tell that these two have known each other for years that, even though Ray wanted nothing more than to shoot Frank, he just wanted an explanation.  If he could get that, there’d be no need for violence.  And it speaks to their strong bond that Frank would trust Ray to not shoot him.

And part of me does believe that Frank didn’t set up Ray.  He didn’t know much about him, so there’d be little to no reason to blackmail a deputy.  And with Ray so hell-bent on getting revenge on who he thought hurt his wife, there’d be no reason for Frank to try and tame the beast when he’s already on the verge of exploding.

Church in Ruins- Frank asks why Gonzalez killed Irina

Again, Frank is someone who likes to remain in control, despite his circumstances, but Gonzalez has thrown that off track with him killing Irina.  And Frank did look genuinely concerned that someone not directly tied to this situation or his money loss, so if he can avoid violence, he will.

Now my problem with this episode is how it ends.  It’s too neat of an escape to end on, even though we know that the detectives’ problems are far from over.  Vera has been missing for quite some time, or at least since the season premiere.  There’s no telling where she might have been or if she was even alive.

Church in Ruins- Ani finds Vera

But this was either laziness on behalf of the writers or the stars aligned perfectly for Ani Bezzerides.  That or very little thought went into this rescue.  I don’t doubt that Vera could always have been alive, but I find it too easy that not only is she alive, but she also happens to attend the exact same orgy as Ani, who was only undercover for the first time when looking for her.

If Ani had attended several parties and eventually found Vera, I could buy that, but I don’t accept that Ani just happened to get lucky and rescue Vera on her first attempt.  That’s too much of a coincidence and it ruins an otherwise well done sequence.

But we are far from done.  There’s still the matter of Frank finding his money, what to do with Vera, Ray’s family woes, and I’m certain that Ani using Athena’s name will come back to haunt her.  Like the shooting, this was an unfortunate series of events, but made even worse because the three are working off the grid and one of the detectives assaulted two people, one of whom we know is dead.

“Church in Ruins” was pretty good at tying the threads of these storylines together and gave us an interesting and different sequence for this season as the detectives finally rescue the missing Vera and get the documentation that they may need.  Again, Ani finding Vera on her first go is lazy writing and could have been handled better, but I’m interested in seeing where things go from here.

A Look at True Detective- Season 2, Episode 5: “Other Lives”

Time for a slight jump forward, but don’t worry.  That shootout from “Down Will Come” is still fresh in everyone’s minds as our characters grapple with the fallout of that battle, but also come across some key opportunities and leads that will give them a second chance at redemption.  This is “Other Lives.”

Other Lives- Aftermath of shootout

The episode begins with the aftermath of the shootout from the end of “Down Will Come.”

Other Lives- Frank checks on Jordan

Frank watches a news report detailing the 66 days that have followed since Ben Caspere’s murder.  After checking in on Jordan, he gets ready and heads off for the day.

Other Lives- Lieutenant Burris visits Ray's place to ask about Dixon

Lieutenant Burris stops by Ray’s place and the two chat about Ray’s decision to leave the force.  Burris reminds Ray that he didn’t have to quit, but Ray doesn’t think that the previous events were well-handled.  The state made its move and Ray found it better to walk before the investigation made him run.  Geldof closed the case, so Ray is in the clear.  There’s a chance that word is being spread about the Mexicans being behind Caspere’s death.

Then Burris asks Ray if he and Dixon ever talked when they worked together.  Why?  Turns out that Dixon knew some things and has some photographs that show he may have been into some people.  Also, bad news for Ray: he’s being evicted, as the row houses are reserved for municipal employees.  It sucks, but Burris was at least nice enough to give Ray 60 days’ notice.

Other Lives- Ray collects money on Frank's behalf

Never mind this.  Ray gets to work as Frank’s muscle.  He heads to the apartment complex where Luca Relles lives in order to collect, but there’s $200 missing.  What gives?  If Relles can buy beer, he can pay rent.  Ray, after looking inside and seeing a room with kids, tells the tenant that she and Relles have until tomorrow.

Other Lives- Sexual Misconduct circle

Meanwhile, Ani sits in a circle with other people who have a history of sexual misconduct.  And she’s the only woman.  I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess that there aren’t a ton of women who have complaints brought against them for sexual misconduct.  But anyway, this is a time for sharing stories about how apparently complimenting a woman means that she’s going to hire a lawyer.

Other Lives- Ani really likes big dicks

Ani, though?  What’s her story?  Apparently, she just likes big dicks.  It’s not just about length, though.  It’s also girth.  She really wants to have trouble handcuffing the thing.  The men, with the exception of the moderator, are willing to let the lady finish.  How kind of them, I guess.

Other Lives- Paul still has to deal with Lacey Lindel

Then there’s Paul, who may have received a commendation for his work, but now works insurance fraud cases and still has to contend with Lacey Lindel, who just wants to put this terrible thing behind her.  You bitch.  Paul claims his innocence, but Lindel’s representatives start to ask him question about his Black Mountain days and whether he was at Pandahar village.

Lindel feels that she’s learned a lot in therapy, as she got her publicist to try and smear Paul, but now she wants to drop the allegation.  Though there could still be a civil suit, Paul stands his ground.

Other Lives- At Lux, Frank receives a visit from Cisco Kid and Gonzalez, played by Robert Renderos

Over at Lux, Frank receives a visit from a man named Gonzalez, played by Robert Renderos, who had an arrangement with Danny Santos.  But hey, nobody’s seen Santos, so Gonzalez wants to ratify his agreement with Frank, even though he never had one in the first place.  Gonzalez and Cisco Kid leave.

Other Lives- Frank and Mayor Chessani discuss Archeron Waste Management

Following this, Frank visits Mayor Chessani to discuss Archeron Waste Management, which was sold off after they sprinkled the corridor valley with heavy metals.  The guy who Frank sold it to, Ali Komunyakaa, whom Frank never saw finish a beer, got drunk once and drove off of a hillside in Ventura.  Now how does that happen?

Frank reminds Chessani about how there were outside interests looking into the poker room.  Who?  Chessani says that they’re foreign interests, but he hasn’t been in touch for some time.  However, he does order Frank to pay an extra five a month for running girls through the poker room.

Other Lives- Ray and Gena at hearing regarding custody and Ray's actions

Now let’s see how Ray’s troubles can just pile on for him today.  He and Gena attend a hearing regarding Ray’s role as a person of interest in the state investigation, which yielded nothing.  After the firefight in Vinci, he resigned under scrutiny and pending a substance abuse charge.  Ray voluntarily submits to take a drug test, so it seems like he’s in the clear.

Then he learns that Gena’s attorneys are contesting Ray’s paternity and wish to establish whether he qualifies for father’s rights.  After all, Gena believes that her rapist is the biological father of her son.  So there’ll still be a paternity and toxicology test, but until those results are in, Ray must have supervised visits.  Needless to say that Ray is livid.  He’ll fight this, but he needs to get some cash.

Other Lives- Ray tells Frank that he needs more money, the two discuss Ben Caspere

So he meets up with Frank and lets him know his situation.  He offers to work more hours at Lux, but Frank may have another job for him.  The guy who bought the waste corridor died and the place has been cleaned, but Frank is going to start listening to the hot feeling in the back of his neck.  He wants Ray to tail Blake and learn his life outside of Frank.  Ray is curious about Frank’s reasoning and guesses whether it has to do with running girls, but Frank isn’t in the mood for confession.

The two then discuss whether the Mexicans really did in Ben Caspere. No idea, though, since it was bullshit surveillance.  Regardless of who was responsible, Caspere still died with five million of Frank’s money.  More than that, Stan is dead and Ray has been squeezed out of the rail corridor.  The enemy won’t just reveal itself.  It stymies Frank’s retribution, like blue balls in your heart.  Make of that what you will, because I can’t think of something snarky.

Other Lives- Cynthia isn't pleased that Paul is getting married

Paul tells his mother the good news that he’s getting married to Emily.  Cynthia is less than enthused about her son getting hitched to a woman whose four years pregnant.  She thinks it a stupid decision since Paul is a good-looking White man with who could do anything he wants.  And how!

Other Lives- Paul learns that his mother took his money

But then Paul isn’t happy when he searches a backpack and realizes that the $20,000 he brought back from Afghanistan is missing.  Yeah, Cynthia took it.  After all, she thought it was for her.  She’s been out of work and had every reason to expect a little help.  And Cynthia has had a hard life, you know!  She carried Paul in her stomach while still working as a dancer.  She claims that Paul ruined her career and she’s still carrying him due to his weirdness.  Yup.  Mom knows all about Paul’s good friends, the boys.  How’s a son to respond?  Call your Mom a fucking poisoned cooze and storm off.  That’s how you get under Mom’s skin.

Other Lives- Ani speaks with Vera's sister

Ani shows some photos to Vera’s sister.  The police never found anything.  There’s not much to make of the photos except that it looks like a party scene.  Vera’s sister didn’t get any follow-up with the Sheriff, though, and she didn’t want to just hand this over.

Other Lives- Elvis visits Ani in evidence and tells her about the last address Vera called from before disappearing

Because of Ani’s sexual misconduct, she’s been reduced to the dungeon of the department and deals with handling evidence.  She examines a photo and notices one face looks familiar to that of State Senator Fred Jenkins.  Elvis stops by and reaffirms that he did not rat out Ani, as the Sheriff already knew about the two of them.  Somebody was trying to do Ani in- perhaps if she had a few more friends, it might have been harder to get done.

Ani brings up the foreclosure from way back when involving the missing girl, Vera, and how Elvis looked up her old roommate’s phone records.  Elvis found an address up north from where Vera last called.  If he can get it to Ani, she promises to do a fearless and searching moral inventory of herself.  Bullshit, but okay.  Let’s keep moving.

Other Lives- Ray spots Blake greeting Rick Springfield and Tony Chessani

Ray tails Blake and spots him not just greeting Osip, Rick Springfield, and Tony Chessani, but bring along some females as well.

Other Lives- Jordan and Frank discuss the gangster life, their future, Danny Santos' books, and children

Back at the Lux, Jordan tells Frank that Danny Santos’ books are bullshit.  She can’t make out what was made here, but that’s expected.  Frank says that can be wiped clear.  Jordan is wise to what’s going on in what she calls Backslide City.  She knows what’s going on in the poker room- she and Frank aren’t just running a club

But what’s happening now, Frank says, is that they are surviving.  It’s like having a design.  Such a design doesn’t work when someone has stolen your money, leaving you knee deep in dirt.  This isn’t a situation where you bring in a kid.

Other Lives- Jordan tells Frank that she doesn't think she can have kids

This has to be about more than them, as Jordan isn’t interested in being a fucking gangster’s wife.  Frank hates that word.  He didn’t ask for this world- he was just born drafted on the wrong side of a class war.  Jordan doesn’t falter- going as far as calling Frank a pimp, but Frank refutes that.  He’s just trying to keep the two of them above water.  Crime exists contingent on human desire.  These are the avenues left for him.

But what’s the expiration date for this?  Their child?  Well, the child and being legitimate are part of the design.  Right now, that’s on hold.  If Jordan loves Frank if she’s not with him, just say so.  Jordan ultimately doesn’t think that she can have kids.  She’s been pretending that it might not be that way, but she went to the doctor alone for multiple visits.  Frank is upset, but he also wants to know why Jordan picked this time to come clean.  Well, it helps that they’re both out in the open.

Jordan thought about when she first talked adoption a few months ago.  She thought of a young Frank and what it would have meant if someone looked out for him.  Jordan does love Frank, yes, but she doesn’t want to see him lose who he’s become, and she doesn’t mean the money.  Her problem is with Frank not coming to bed and both of them being half in the bag each night.  She thinks that when Frank said no to the adoption, he said no to the kid he once was.  With that, Jordan leaves and hopes that her husband makes time to join her.

Other Lives- Frank and Jordan have a quiet moment at home

Later on, the two do just that.

Other Lives- Paul and Emily have dinner with Emily's mother,  Irma, played by Saundra Santiago

Paul has dinner with Emily and her mother, Irma, played by Saundra Santiago, who is looking to move in until the marriage, which she thinks needs to be sooner, rather than later.  They’ll want her around.  Also, Irma likes Paul in a suit instead of being on a motorcycle.  I suppose somebody should.

Other Lives- Ray and Ani meet at the bar to go over some photos

Over at the bar that time forgot, Ray and Ani meet to discuss the evidence and how Ani has hit dead end after dead end.  But the folks in the photos look familiar, though, and the pictures themselves had to have been taken before Caspere died.  In addition, the diamonds from Caspere’s safe deposit box went missing from evidence.  That’s not unheard of, though.

Ani speaks about the missing girl who disappeared shortly before Caspere’s body turned up, so it’s time to return to those talks about those escort parties that Caspere attended.  Judging from the photos, these types of parties wouldn’t allow cameras, so maybe whoever took them wanted them for blackmailing someone else.

Though the Caspere case may not be completely clear, Ray doesn’t see why Ani even cares.  But that’s just the point: this girl is missing, the interior’s poisoned and suddenly worth billions, and a bunch of people got shot to shit, but no one gives…well, a shit.  Either way, Ray isn’t a cop, Ani isn’t a detective, and Paul is miserable.  Granted, we’ve known that since the season premiere, but sure, let’s hear it again, two months later.

Other Lives- Davis tells Ray that she's opening a special investigation

Paul, Ani, and Davis are ready to start a confidential state investigation.  The slated goal is to track down Irina Rulfo, who was never brought in.  The real purpose, though, is to find out who killed Caspere: uncover any evidence of collusion between Vinci PD, the mayor’s office, attorney general, and any other state bodies.

Other Lives- Ray is hesitant to join Davis' special investigation

Ray, though, is hesitant to join since he’s not a cop, but he has his PI license.  Davis, therefore, could detail him as a state attorney’s investigator into a missing person.  She needs people who won’t who won’t ping on the radar.  Though Ray has a job, Davis tells him that the job won’t help him get Chad.  It’s not looking good for him, but the State Attorney’s office could intercede on his behalf with Family Services and offer recommendations and testimony.

Ray agrees to help, but all he can offer is that the camera and hard drive were never found.  In addition, Ray doesn’t think that the nut who shot him was in that crazy shootout.  Ani wants to take a look at some land up north, and she may have a line on those hooker parties.  Yes, Ani can’t be cleared for this, but luckily she’s using vacation time.  She’s being placed as a confidential investigator, meaning Davis doesn’t have to register.  Well, that’s a tad convenient.

Paul can follow up on the diamonds, but Ray asks why Davis wants him.  Her response- he’s out of the system, but knows Vinci PD.  With proper motivation, he’s a good bet to get the dirt.  Ani tells Ray to think it over since it’s never too late to start all over again.  I get a feeling that the writers and directors of this season thought the exact same thing…multiple times.

Ray is still a bit skeptical since Davis once thought Ray was an awful person. But then Davis saw that the rumor about Ray killing a guy was bullshit.  Wait, what?  How did Davis know it was a rumor?  Ray has been so out of the loop that he didn’t know that the guy had been captured a few weeks ago in Venice for sexual assault.  His DNA matched that six unsolved rapes, including that of Gena’s rape kit.  Sounds like he’ll get life.

Other Lives- Frank speaks with Jacob McCandless about land

Frank speaks with Jacob McCandless about some land owed to him, which McCandless will have trouble explaining to his board.  Frank threatens to spread word of how the corridor’s been brought up over the past five years and how it came to be so cheap, though McCandless can’t see that being of any interest.  Archeron Waste Management is dissolved.  There may still be something for Frank, though.

McCandless asks Frank if he knows of Caspere possessing a collection of films, home movies, to be specific.  If Frank is interested in helping out, this could put him back in the corridor.  The police never did find that hard drive in either of Caspere’s houses, though.

Other Lives- Ray visits Rick Springfield, Dr. Irving Pitlor, to talk about Chessani and Caspere

Ray visits Rick Springfield, who we can now identify as Dr. Irving Pitlor, to start asking the right questions about Pitlor, Chessani, girls, and human trafficking.  Ray figures that Pitlor does their implants and nose jobs- he’s not just a psychiatrist.  As Ray begins to beat the hell out of Pitlor, Pitlor spills that, for these hooker parties, he turns eights into 10s and makes sure that they have the proper prescriptions.

The parties are a conclave for men of influence.  Caspere came up with the idea of the parties with Tony Chessani- a pimp with political ambition.  Tony’s service makes him friends with these influential men.  Caspere facilitated the deals.  Pitlor thinks that the men used the occasions to compile potential blackmail material on their guests.  Caspere may have had footage of important people, possibly including McCandless.

But Ray keeps going, saying that Pitlor must have put Chessani’s first wife in a mental hospital.  He did everything that he could for Helene.  The Chessani family, Pitlor says, is a highly inventive family.

Other Lives- Ani and Athena walk on the beach, Ani wants Athena to gain access to a party

Ani and Athena go for a walk on the beach. Ani wants Athena to get back into this party scene and get in touch with some girls, even if she has to lie, though Athena isn’t about that life anymore.  She’s busy getting into Cal Arts.  And Ani’s reaction has about as much enthusiasm as a brick.

Other Lives- Paul checks with vendors about the blue diamond

Paul checks various jewelry and pawn shops to find anyone that can identify the Caspere’s blue diamond.  He finally gets to one owner who not only recognizes it, but tells Paul that other policemen came by a few months back with pictures of identical diamonds.  The detective left his calling card that the man still has.  And the detective’s name?  Teague Dixon.

Other Lives- Paul and Ani look for a spot that used to be a commune on River Valley

Later, Paul shares this with Ani.  He would have to have come around before the two of them found the safety deposit box.  The two are en-route to the address Elvis found- a spot that used to be a commune on River Valley.

Other Lives- Gena learns about rapist being captured

Meanwhile, Ray tells Gena about the captured serial rapist.  Gena isn’t swayed, though.  What Ray did ruined everything, including Ray himself.  She’s having the paternity test to put everything where it’s supposed to be and so Chad doesn’t have to continue living this family fantasy.  An incensed Ray says that Frank set him up, but Gena doesn’t know what that means.

Other Lives- Ani and Paul find a cabin with arterial spray everywhere

Paul and Ani follow carrion birds- not high on Paul’s list of things to do- and end up at a cabin.  Inside the cabin is a worn down chair and arterial spray decorating the walls and floor.

Other Lives- Jordan and Frank in bed

After Frank and Jordan have some bed time, Frank notices that the damn water stain in the ceiling is finally gone.  Well, no more monologues about that, I suppose.  The two talk of selling what they have, leaving this life, and buying a farm so they can grow organic products as farmers.  As far as Frank getting back in the game, though, with McCandless, Jordan asks if he trusts him.  Frank just trusts self-interest.  But this talk is interrupted by pounding on the door.  Frank gets his gun and heads to the door.

Other Lives- Ray tells Frank that they need to talk

The episode comes to a close as Frank comes face to face with a furious Ray, who tells Frank that the two need to talk.

Very interesting, this episode.  As easy as it is to latch onto one line, Ani telling Ray that it’s never too late to start over again really does, I feel, represent the approach taken for “Other Lives.”

In the aftermath of such a bloody shootout, it would be easy to just move on and not acknowledge it.  Time skips are tricky like that, depending on when and how you do them, as we’ve seen with recent examples on Masters of Sex, Fargo, and hell, even the first season of this very show.  You want to bridge the past with the present and not just gloss over something huge.  A lot went down in that battle and there should be some aftermath.

Other Lives- Ani observes a photo in evidence

For that, I’m grateful that there are repercussions for what took place, as the detectives and even Frank aren’t in good places.  It’s only been two months, yet their lives feel very different: Ani is reduced to evidence work, Ray is Frank’s muscle, Frank himself is back to gangster work, and Paul, while he technically looks more presentable with his work, is miserable.

So really, we’re not in completely different territory since we’ve seen these people be unhappy for four episodes now.  I understand the need to bring them back together to get to the bottom of Chessani’s murder, but for my money, I wouldn’t have minded seeing a full episode dealing with the aftermath of “Down Will Come.”  What we got is fine, but I think a longer episode just about what happened after the shooting would show us much more how far the protagonists had fallen.

Other Lives- Ray says that there is no limit to pain we experience- pain is inexhaustible

But they continue to weather the storm because they’re built for this and will encounter much more.  Ray says at one point that there’s no limit to pain we experience- pain is inexhaustible, it’s just the people that get exhausted.  We can try and protect or cover ourselves as best as possible, but we aren’t invincible.

Other Lives- Ray versus Irving Pitlor

I think one way this comes across very well is in Ray’s fight with Irving Pitlor, who has spent so much time changing and altering his face, but even if he feels that he looks better, he still registers pain like anyone else.

Other Lives- Geldof announces gubernatorial run

At the end of the day, they just want to find out who murdered Ben Caspere, and it’s not as simple as ‘There was a shootout.  Problem solved.’  Geldof used the massacre to springboard a gubernatorial run because he wants to ‘protect’ locations like the always corrupt Vinci.  He’s doing it because he claims that he cares, but he’s being opportunistic.

Other Lives- Ani talks about the many ways in which people don't care

And that’s because, for the longest time, no one gave a shit about things that went on in Vinci, as Ray has known.  He even wonders why Ani would put so much stock into this case.  She’s not even from the area and this should be far from her mind, but it’s because no one cares about things like the people who died during the shootout or Vera’s disappearance that’s pushing her to get to the bottom of this and bring herself some real closure.

But, this being True Detective, it’s never that simple, as we now learn that not only was Frank right in suspecting that Blake played him, but that it was Tony and not Mayor Chessani himself- as far as we know- who played a part in this seedy business.

Other Lives- Ani reminds Elvis about the foreclosure they served

It’s interesting how some moments or subplots that could have been interpreted as throwaway have more significance as a result of not just the time jump, but the reinvestigation into the Caspere murder.  Ani and Elvis looking into Vera’s disappearance was strictly their own work and had no bearing in the Caspere investigation, but with these sex parties and cases of trafficking going on around them, it connects to the larger case.

Other Lives- Torture chair

In addition, the address where Vera called from led to the discovery of the cabin where someone was tortured.  It could have been Caspere, Vera, or any number of victims, but I do like how this unconnected thread now has a bit more importance due to where it takes Ani and Paul at episode’s end.

Other Lives- Ani likes big dicks

But their journeys are still rough ones, as Ani is not just stuck dealing with evidence, but she has to share her stories about sexual misconduct.  Whether Ani actually meant what she said, was exaggerating, or wanted to see if the guys would freak out, I’m not sure, but it seemed to have the opposite effect since most of the guys were suddenly interested in hearing Ani share her story.  I can’t help but smile at Rachel McAdams’ straight face when she talks about big dicks.

Other Lives- Ani needs Athena's help

She’s trying to be a supportive sister, but her family life isn’t much better since she barely reacted upon learning that Athena got into CalArts.  In addition, she hasn’t returned any of her father’s calls.  Ani isn’t the best of sisters, we’ve seen, as she tries to get Athena to jump back into this party scene.

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

In a nice nod to continuity, in a line that easily could have been a throwaway, keep in mind that Athena did say during “Down Will Come” that she never went to the serious hooking parties and how she would leave the business in two months- which is just how much time that has passed between “Down Will Come” and “Other Lives.”  It’s small, but it does show how, I feel, the writers mapped out how certain lines and plot points would play bigger roles in later episodes.

Other Lives- Ani smokes a regular cigarette

At the very least, Ani isn’t smoking e-cigarettes anymore.

Other Lives- Paul and Lacey Lindel

Paul looks more presentable with his circumstances, but he’s not happier.  Again, this is a man who enjoys a huge rush, which is why he felt so comfortable riding his motorcycle at blistering speeds or how he never shirked during the shootout.  As Ani and Ray note, he belongs in the field, not working insurance fraud.  Despite his situation, he hasn’t been neutered and he remains firm on how he didn’t accept sexual favors from the lying harlot that is Lacey Lindel.

Other Lives- Paul listens to Irma

So he’s still trying to go on with a cover life by going through with his marriage to Emily, even if he knows that he’s living a lie.  And he still drinks, so he hasn’t kicked all of his bad habits.  His mother certainly isn’t a stranger to his weirdness, which many suspected that she knew all along.  That said, the scene with Paul and Cynthia arguing over the money wasn’t as impactful for me as it could have been.

Other Lives- Cynthia blames Paul for how her life turned out

Five episodes in and only now do we, as an audience, learn a bit more about Cynthia’s history and how much she resents Paul for ruining her career.  This seems like an odd moment to bring it up when this can’t be the first time the two have clashed like this.

Other Lives- Paul searches for his money

If it’s more volatile because of the missing money, then maybe, but that’s part of the issue: Paul knows that his mother has had trouble with work and isn’t the best with money, so I’m not sure why he’d think it was ever a good idea to keep $20,000 at her home.  And even then, why is he only looking for it now?  If he’s been with Emily all this time and even wanted to marry her prior to this episode, why not keep it at her place?  The two obviously trust each other to stay together, despite what they’ve endured.  This is just a case of Paul not thinking straight.  I guess being weird does that to you.

Other Lives- Frank asks Ray if he thinks the Mexicans killed Caspere

Ray finds himself still indebted to Frank by being his loan shark and while this apparently allowed him to get a quick shave, he’s still got family problems.  Gena warned Ray that a custody battle wouldn’t be easy and, of course, it isn’t.  He’s already at a disadvantage due to his past and isn’t in a position to barter, despite his good intentions.

Other Lives- Ray learns about his wife's attacker

And yet, he may have a chance to set things right when he learns that Gena’s attacker is still alive.  No, this news didn’t let Gena and Ray make up, but now Ray has motive to find out why Frank set him up.  I really enjoyed Colin Farrell’s performance when he learned about the captured rapist, as if he were relieved by this revelation, but didn’t know how to process it.  He now has a chance to reunite with his son and clear his name.

Other Lives- Davis offers Ray a way to possibly keep his son

Though I question why Davis would use Ray’s happiness as a bartering chip just to get him to help her.  After all, he’s right: Davis wanted to pin him to the wall.  Sure, she now doesn’t think he’s as bad as she previously believed, but it came off as a bit convenient to me.

Other Lives- Frank hates the word 'gangster'

I’ve said that Jordan reminds me of Anna Morales from A Most Violent Year, but now I’ll go one step further and say that Frank almost reminds me of Abel, Oscar Isaac’s character from the same film.  He abhors the word ‘gangster,’ as if he considers himself above it- which could explain spout lines like ‘blue balls in your heart’ or ‘There’s no bandwidth for that right now.’

He doesn’t like the gangster lifestyle, but he acknowledges that he’ll need to get his hands dirty to ensure that he, Jordan, and whomever else they bring into their lives will have a promising future.  Right now, that involves Frank reverting back to sleazy tactics that pull him away from the businessman and more towards the mobster.

Other Lives- Frank gets a second shot from McCandless

He also gets a second chance at redemption through McCandless’ proposition, and right now, after all Frank has been through, he needs a win.  He needs to prove that he’s not a gangster and that he has what it takes not just to be a capable leader, but potentially a capable father as well.

Other Lives- Ray, Paul, and Ani back on the investigation

Oh, I know that we’ve been following the main characters since the season premiere, but keep in mind that this is just Ray’s jurisdiction.  So from a writing perspective, I see why Davis would corral in Paul and Ani so we don’t have to be introduced to two new characters, but if it’s not their area, why not just go with officers from Vinci?  What, are there no other officers in the Vinci PD besides who wouldn’t pose a problem?  Or does the narrative just necessitate that Ray, Paul, and Ani reunite to finish this investigation?

Other Lives- Jesus

Why do Ani and Paul pass Jesus?

“Other Lives” showed that not only do serious actions lead to serious repercussions, but that, if you commit to it, you can have a second shot at redemption, which I find also speaks to those who have found this second season of True Detective to be lackluster in comparison to the first season. The episode took us forward a bit, but also had some payoffs to minor moments in previous episodes that hold more weight as a result of their importance. While I had some issues with this episode, I like where the story is going now that the detectives are asking the right questions as we dig deeper into the corrupt hole of Vinci.

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.

A Look at True Detective- Season 2, Episode 3: “Maybe Tomorrow”

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.

Maybe Tomorrow- Conway Twitty, played by Jake La Botz

Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Conway Twitty.

Maybe Tomorrow- Ray speaks with his father, Eddie, played by Fred Ward

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.

Maybe Tomorrow- Ray awakens

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.

Maybe Tomorrow- Ani speaks with Ray as he's being patched up after being shot

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.

Maybe Tomorrow- Burris secures the crime scene

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.

Maybe Tomorrow- Frank can't get it up

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.

Maybe Tomorrow- Ani and Paul talk about Lacey Lindel

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.

Maybe Tomorrow- Ray tells Frank about the shooting and asks whether he was set up to be killed

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.

Maybe Tomorrow- Paul and Ani head to the Chessani household and talk to Veronica, played by Agnes Olech, about Ben Caspere

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.

Maybe Tomorrow- Tony Chessani, played by Vinicius Machado, speaks with Ani and Paul

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.

Maybe Tomorrow- Ray gets a check-up and it sucks

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?

Maybe Tomorrow- Frank wants gratitude from Bart Sallis

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.

Maybe Tomorrow- Ani checks in with her superiors about the investigation

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.

Maybe Tomorrow- Ray's superiors speak to him about Ani

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.

Maybe Tomorrow- Ani ends things between her and Steve

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?

Maybe Tomorrow- Ray and Eddie talk about being a police officer in this changing world

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.

Maybe Tomorrow- Frank speaks with Osip, who will be in Vegas soon

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.

Maybe Tomorrow- Paul catches up with one of his wartime buddies, Miguel, played by Gabriel Luna

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.

Maybe Tomorrow- Colter thinks about Ray

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.

Maybe Tomorrow- Going over evidence

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.

Maybe Tomorrow- Ray and Ani on the set of Not Mad Max

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.

Maybe Tomorrow- Ray speaks with the set photographer, played by Luke Edwards, about Ben Caspere

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.

Maybe Tomorrow- Frank learns that Stan is dead

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.

Maybe Tomorrow- Paul asks around about Ben Caspere

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.

Maybe Tomorrow- Alicia offers Ray $10,000

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.

Maybe Tomorrow- At Lux Infinitum, Paul asks around about Ben Caspere

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.

Maybe Tomorrow- Frank assembles his Legion of Doom

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.

Maybe Tomorrow- Frank takes some pliers to Danny Santos' teeth

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.

Maybe Tomorrow- Ray and Ani speak with the driver who quit his job

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.

Maybe Tomorrow- Chasing the masked man

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.

Maybe Tomorrow- Frank arrives at home and finds Jordan waiting

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.

Maybe Tomorrow- Ray survives

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.

Maybe Tomorrow- Ray talks with his father

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.

Maybe Tomorrow- Eddie speaks to Ray in the dream sequence

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.

Maybe Tomorrow- Ray and Alicia talk about custody and hush money

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.

Maybe Tomorrow- Ray is asked if he wants to live

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.

Maybe Tomorrow- Ani checks on Ray at the crime scene

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.

Maybe Tomorrow- Ani threatens Steve

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.

Maybe Tomorrow- Ani doesn't care that Ray is a guy

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?

Maybe Tomorrow- Paul tells Colter to stop talking about their past

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.

Maybe Tomorrow- Paul stays away from Colter

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.

Maybe Tomorrow- Frank still can't get it up

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.

Maybe Tomorrow- Frank with Bart Sallis

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.

Maybe Tomorrow- Frank faces off with Danny Santos

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.

Maybe Tomorrow- Paul and Frank run-in at the club

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.

Maybe Tomorrow- Ashley Daison, played by Philip Moon

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.

A Look at True Detective- Season 2, Episode 2: “Night Finds You”

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.

Night Finds You- Frank talks about a water stain on the ceiling

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.

Night Finds You- Coroner, played by Anjul Nigam, briefs the detectives on Caspere's death

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.

Night Finds You- Katherine Davis, played by Michael Hyatt, and Richard Geldof, played by C.S. Lee, speak with Paul

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.

Night Finds You- Ray is told to control the flow of information

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.

Night Finds You- Ray briefs Frank on Caspere’s death

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.

Night Finds You- Paul with his mother, played by Lolita Davidovich

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.

Night Finds You- Ray and Ani investigate one of Caspere's locations

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.

Night Finds You- Ray and Ani go for a ride, Ani smokes an e-cigarette

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.

Night Finds You- Frank speaks with Jacob McCandless, played by Jon Lindstrom

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.

Night Finds You- Ray and Ani speak with Ernst about Caspere’s background prior to his death

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.

Night Finds You- Ani, Ray, and Paul go over Caspere evidence

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.

Night Finds You- Ray meets with Alicia, played by Abigail Spencer

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.

Night Finds You- Frank helps a man who just his ass beaten

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.

Night Finds You- Ani and Ray talk with Rick Springfield about Ben Caspere

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?

Night Finds You- Frank talks to the mayor about Caspere and money

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.

Night Finds You- Ani and Ray come up with theories regarding Caspere’s money withdrawal

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.

Night Finds You- Paul and Emily, played by Adria Arjona, argue

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.

Night Finds You- Frank meets Danny Santos, played by Pedro Miguel Arce, at a nightclub

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.

Night Finds You- Ani calls Hollywood Division Vice Squad before taking a call from Elvis and then going back to watching Naughty Cali Angels

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?

Night Finds You- Ray and Frank meet to discuss Caspere

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.

Night Finds You- Ray is ambushed and shot by Birdman

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.

Night Finds You- Ani is placed in charge of the investigation

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.

Night Finds You- Ani asks Ray how compromised he is

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.

Night Finds You- Ani and Ray go for a ride

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.

Night Finds You- Alicia talks to Ray about the beating he delivered

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.

Night Finds You- Ray threatens to burn down the city

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.

Night Finds You- Ani talks about her siblings

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.

Night Finds You- Ray leaves while Ani keeps working

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.

Night Finds You- Ani searches for Naughty Cali Angels

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.

Night Finds You- Paul speaks with his mother

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.

Night Finds You- Paul tells Emily that she's doing this

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?

Night Finds You- Frank in money trouble

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?

Night Finds You- Frank tells Jordan about his father

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.

Night Finds You- Birdman shoots Ray

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.