Previously on True Detective, ‘The Western Book of the Dead’
Before I get into the meat and potatoes of this week’s crazy episode, I would like to run down a few things that I became aware of as I watched this week:
- The camera artistry in this show is on point.
- LA looks to be the last place I’d ever want to live (or drive) with all those roads.
- I no longer find Taylor Kitsch attractive. He has a mean face.
- No matter how hard I try, I just cannot take Vince Vaughn seriously in this role.
Frank And His Water Stain
Now that is out of the way, let’s get down to business. We open with Frank laying in bed staring at a water spot which somehow reminds him of a time when his shitty father locked him in the basement when he was on a bender, which he often did to “protect” Frank, and then got arrested and Frank was locked in there for days on end. The most I got from this lesson was that he killed a rat. Hard. And that maybe he’s already dead. If I was his wife I’d tell him to shut his fucking mouth and go to sleep.
The best part of the above scene was the awesome transition to the autopsy shot of Caspere’s body. Ani, Paul, and Ray are gathered in the medical examiner’s office going over the autopsy results as their respective bosses have a jurisdictional pissing contest somewhere that I assume smells better than the morgue. We learn that Caspere had traces of Xanax and alcohol in his system and that he also had gonorrhea. The hydrochloric acid applied to his eyeballs was done so with precision, potentially with a glass dropper. The autopsy also reveals that he was bound and positioned upside down or near to it.
Finally, the cause of death was shockingly not that his dick got blown off with a shotgun, but that he had a heart attack at some point during his torture and that there was no trace evidence under Caspere’s fingernails. Props to True Detective for going somewhere Game of Thrones has yet to go in 5 seasons – they showed the missing-cock-area. Unfortunately, this was less Ken doll and more horrific, but still credit where credit is due.
Who Is In Charge Here?
The bosses argue who is in charge of the investigation, and the state takes charge regardless of anyone’s arguments. They decide to put Ani in charge with Ray as her backup, despite knowing that he’s a shady cop. They offer Paul the opportunity to serve as an investigator for this case, and then to become a detective once the case was closed. He just wants to ride his bike around town, but he agrees to work this case.
After the chain of command is worked out, Ray sits down with the City of Vinci officials and they tell him what his role in the investigation is. It’s pretty clear they just want to cover their shady asses, so he asks if he is supposed to solve the case. They look offended at his brashness, but give a political answer which I took to mean, just make this go away quietly. Ray goes to Frank with the information he has discovered so far, and Frank has a lot of questions. Ray bristles when Frank tells him how to do his job, but they part with each attempting to figure out what they can to check back later.
Paul’s weird ass goes to visit his weird-ass mom in the trailer park. He brings her some Kentucky Fried Chicken from 1982 judging from the box design, and then peels it for her when she says that she doesn’t touch bread. Paul’s mom was very handsy and complimentary of him and it made me uncomfortable. She also hated on one of his ex-girlfriends from high school who, he says, was nothing but nice. She convinces him to stay the night in his old room after he tells her he needs to head to LA for a while to work the case.
The Investigation Gets Underway
The next day, Ani and Ray visit Caspere’s ransacked house. Ani’s helpful observation was the guy really thought about fucking a lot. They find his appointment book and the visit isn’t a total bust. As they drive away, Ray looks over the appointments and notices Caspere had a shrink, and she points out they need to compare his GPS coordinates with the circled, but blank, days on his calendar. As they drive, Ani puffs on an e-cigarette which Ray seems to take real issue with, comparing it to sucking a robot’s dick. During his diatribe on e-cigarettes, he deftly avoids Ani’s question about where the 70,000 incoming Vinci workers live.
Frank goes to meet with a representative for the Catalyst Group and finds out Caspere never paid for the land Frank purchased through him from Catalyst. The representative tries to give him the runaround, but Frank loses his patience. The rep offers to extend the same deal to him that he had with Caspere, which is actually the same piece of land for less money than Caspere told him it cost. In the car, Frank monologues pointlessly about Caspere fucking him over. Did I mention that I can’t take Vince Vaughn seriously?
Ani and Ray meet with the city leaders of Vinci and the douchebag running things is a total chauvinistic prick. When Ani asks a question, he turns to look directly at Ray and answers like she’s the most annoying person on the face of the planet. I think part of this could be due to the fact Ray hasn’t shut her down yet and has allowed them to be questioned. Regardless of his lack of couth, the city guys have no helpful information they are willing to offer.
I Investigated a Murder And All I Got Was This Shitty Bunker
Back at the headquarters of this rag tag investigation team, which seems to be in a run down bunker/hangar, Ray’s worthless partner drinks from a flask and is generally a waste of space while Paul attempts to discuss the case with him. Paul also takes this chance to make a completely homophobic comment about the bank teller who supposedly hit on him. Show of hands on who thinks Paul is gay? He reports his findings at the bank to Ani and Ray when they arrive at the bunker HQ.
It is made glaringly apparent that the least chauvinistic of all three men on this case is Ray, which is saying a lot. He does later state he supports feminists, so there is that. Ani asks for the GPS records, and the useless partner rolls his eyes as he hands them over, Paul regards her with skepticism at best, and Ray just stands there impotently. Fuck all these guys. They determine the ATM withdrawals occur near or on the circled days on the calendar, but that the GPS information does not line up with these dates, as they show the car as parked and unused on these dates. Also, the Catalyst Group is the title owner on his Mercedes, which strikes everyone as odd.
Ray, You Ain’t Shit
Ray leaves to go meet his son, gifts in tow, but is met instead by his ex-wife who informs him that he ain’t shit. He agrees, but is still irate at the prospect of not being able to see his son. He does a piss poor job of denying the beat down he delivered last week, and this conversation delves a little into their shared history, but ends with her telling him that she will be pursuing sole custody of their son. When he argues she threatens a paternity test and he outright begs her not to. Bizarrely, she still refers to him as “babe” as she essentially tells him to fuck off.
Frank flexes his mobster muscles by getting two cronies to rear end someone he wants to blackmail, and when he gets out of the car, they pepper spray and then beat the crap out of him. Frank then comes over to help him up as they drive off and implies that this fucker needs to watch his back. This was as close as I got to believing Frank selling this mobster persona.
Ray and Ani continue their investigation by going to question Capere’s shrink. Evidently, in LA they offer your psychological services with a side of cosmetic surgery, but regardless, this doctor looks like he needs to spend a little less time under the knife himself. After Ray reveals Caspere got acid droppered into his eyes, the doctor agrees to reveal he was treating Caspere for the past three years. He was treated for anxiety, neuroses, his painful past, and his guilt surrounding his desire for young women. He indicates Caspere was not aggressive, but passive in his sexual nature. As they leave, the doctor asks Ani about her father, who he once knew. She indicates that growing up on the commune was not pleasant and that of the five children she grew up with there, two are in jail and two committed suicide. Ani is the fifth.
In a news conference, the state officially announces their investigation into the City of Vinci. Afterward, Frank pays the acting city manager a visit and drops off quite a wad of cash. Evidently this is still short about 10K, so they go back and forth about this for a bit and we learn just how horrible this guy is. Frank asks that once the killer is found, he gets some time with him/her because they have his missing money.
Ani Will Straight Cut A Bro
As Ani takes Ray back to Vinci, they discuss what they have learned about Caspere. Ray waxes poetic about how, “We get the world we deserve.” He attempts to be transparent and tells her why he works in Vinci and the rumors she may hear about him and his past. He asks her what her deal is with all of the knives and she gives a pretty kick ass response. She indicates that the true difference between the sexes is that one can kill the other with their bare hands. She carries knives to ensure that if a man lays his hands on her, he’ll bleed out within a minute. Considering she’s a police officer, I can see where this would come in handy. This prompts Ray to say he supports feminism. As he gets out, Ani asks him how compromised he is, but he doesn’t answer at all and leaves.
Paul packs for LA at his girlfriend’s house when she comes storming in with a tablet showing the news story about him and the actress which landed him on suspension in the last episode. She is irate that he never told her about it and he tries to play if off. This leads to them arguing about how distant and closed off he is. He yells some, she tells him not to call her again. He makes sure she realizes that she is the one making this decision, but generally doesn’t seem too torn up about the outcome of events.
Frank Is A Better Detective Than The Detectives
Frank goes investigating at the stripper club he used to own asking a large man with a really bad lisp-causing grill if his girls know anything about Caspere. They find a girl who was his escort somewhat recently. Frank asks her a few questions and she gives him the address of where he took her, a second house, not his sex-toy mansion in LA, but a smaller house in Hollywood.
Ani is home enjoying a relaxing end-of-day beverage and perusing escort sites. I assumed this was part of the investigation until she ends up watching porn with rapt fascination. Her partner calls in the middle to give her an update on the missing sister from last episode, but she tells him she will talk to him tomorrow and goes back to watching her porn. Paul winds down on the balcony of his hotel room smoking. He watches the bustle of the street and then stares hard at a male escort who was just dropped off on the corner. Definitely think this kid is gay or contemplating a hate crime.
Ray winds down at the same familiar bar from last week, discussing the case with Frank. Frank gives him the address he got from the escort and tells Ray to see if there is any information about his money there. Ray tries to tell Frank that he wants out of the shady scene, but Frank is having none of that. He tosses down some money and leaves. The waitress comes over to talk to Ray about taking a vacation and he says that he won’t get a vacation until he croaks. He then takes off and leaves the money on the table.
Ray Needs a Flak Jacket
Ray goes to the address Frank gave him to inspect the house. After picking the lock, he enters to find a pool of blood in the middle of the floor, a sex swing hanging from the ceiling, and a camera room hidden behind a two-way mirror. As he walks farther into the house, someone approaches from behind, he spins quickly to shoot, but is shot by a shotgun and goes down. A person in a crow or raven mask (I couldn’t tell which) walks over and delivers another shotgun blast directly in his belly. I really hope that Colin Farrell got paid up front for this series, because I am pretty sure there ain’t no coming back from a shotgun double tap.
With this shocking ending the episode comes to a close. I was completely shocked that one of our main players was taken out of the game this early on. I am going off of the assumption Ray is dead, and now that we have the weird sex fetishes and animal mask mystery, this is starting to feel a lot like the True Detective we all fell in love with last season. I am very eager to see where this season goes.