Previously on True Detective, ‘Night Finds You’
Show of hands of everyone who is underwhelmed thus far by season two of True Detective? Surely it’s not only me. And with the opening scene of this week’s episode, I wanted to turn it off and claim the season a wrap. I felt like this was a weird mix of an acid trip paired with one of the horrible music scenes from AHS: Freak Show.
We open to a horrible lip syncher performing on stage in the bar Frank and Ray frequent. Ray is sitting across from his father looking confused. You and me both, Ray. His dad went on some rambling monologue about Ray walking in the woods, and then coming out and being killed. Ray asks what this place is, and his dad admits that he doesn’t know, that Ray was there first. Ray then realizes he has a shotgun-blasted hole in his chest.
Psyche, Ray’s Alive!
A lot of you thought the ammo in the shotgun was going to turn out to be non-lethal and I was unconvinced. However, you were all correct and I was dead wrong. Ray comes gasping back to consciousness with a very, very few small pellet marks on his abdomen considering that point-blank range blast last week. He also realizes he’s pissed himself. You’ve earned that right, Ray.
Ani arrives on scene being stereotypically annoyed that as the lead investigator he didn’t call her to the scene before entering. He plays it off and explains he was shot with rubber shot before telling her that Vinci PD is already on the scene. She walks in with her combative feminist trope going strong and asks why they are on her scene. They clear out after explaining that since their officer was shot, they damn sure came to check it out.
Frank Can’t Get It Up
Next up is Frank getting a blow-j from his wife in a fertility clinic deposit room. I’m no fertility expert, but I am positive that men are not allowed to receive help in the form of another person when providing their “contribution” during artificial insemination procedures, HBO. Regardless of the efficacy of the sperm, Frank can’t get it up and in turn blames their fertility issues on his wife since he was told by the doctor that he has phenomenal motility. She tells him to suck his own dick after throwing the specimen cup at him and storming out.
Back at the shitty bunker HQ, Paul gives the team a rundown of his findings on Caspere owning the house that Ray was just shot in. I still haven’t discovered the purpose of Ray’s partner in this investigation. As Ani drives, she instructs Paul to work the prostitute angle and put his looks to work. I wasn’t aware prostitutes were likely to talk to psychotically homicidal looking angry men. She then asks if his dealings with the actress were going to have an effect on his ability to perform field work. He says no and then goes off about her e-cig. Dudes, why is everyone harshing on her buzz?
Ray calls Frank to meet him at their bar and discuss the fact that he got fucking shot in the gut after Frank sent him to this house. Frank tries to play it coy at first, before he realizes that Ray is so pissed off he is drinking water. He finally comes clean to Ray about his dealings with Caspere and how he needs to know who killed him so he can figure out who is after him. Ray points out the camera and hard drive were stolen from the house and gives Frank a knowing look that says, “Cover your ass if needed, bro.” They also both use the word apoplectic in conversation like that is normal, and I am pretty sure that neither of their characters, nor Vince Vaughan, actually know the definition of the word.
The Mayor’s House Is A Wreck, Both Figuratively and Literally
While Ray sorts his ribs out, Ani and Paul visit the Mayor of Vinci’s house. His blitzed-off-her-ass, young, Russian wife answers the door and isn’t coherent enough to not invite them in. She immediately crosses to her vaporizer back and takes a large puff off of her “medicine for eyes” before settling on the sofa. Paul asks her questions about her knowledge of the Mayor’s dealings with Caspere while Ani snoops around the ransacked house. With the wife completely distracted with Paul, Ani wanders upstairs to the Mayor’s office before hearing a ruckus from upstairs and going to check it out. She asks a girl (I presume his daughter) if everything is ok, and her rude ass just gets up and shuts the door in her face.
Downstairs, as Paul chats with the wife, and girl yelps and is thrown into the pool from a height. They run outside to the pool littered with used condoms, packaged condoms, beers cans, and other detritus to find her floating laughing while the Mayor’s son yells down to her from his balcony. Ani approaches him from behind and he turns with an obnoxious accent asking if she has a warrant when she asks him to cover up his junk. As the son shows them out, he drops the ridiculous accent and tells them that he is a party planner who adopts different accents with different clients. He then kicks them out before their attorney arrives.
Ray is at the doctor getting cleared for duty. The doctor points out his various ailments and unhealthy habits. I got the impression Ray is basically a walking corpse. Ray admits that being shot has made him reconsider the bad habits. As he leaves, the doctor asks him if he wants to live and this seems to blow Ray’s mind.
What’s The Real Point Here?
With Ray otherwise occupied, Ani and Paul retrieve the contents of Caspere’s safe deposit box and Ani reports to the state higher ups what she’s found so far. Simultaneously in Vinci, the Mayor is losing his goddamn mind that Ani went into his house, emphatically calling her a cunt twice. Is it standard practice for Mayor’s to be openly drunk and slurring on the job? As Ani gives the rundown of the contents of the box, the state seems uninterested in her findings and more interested in her opinion of Ray.
In Vinci, they don’t want the state looking into their town because they are all obviously shady as fuck, so the Mayor rants and raves about wanting Ani’s badge and her “running a yogurt stand” when Ray points out that she is in charge of the investigation. Ray attempts to tap out of the investigation considering he was just shot, but these bastards aren’t having any of his shit. Back at the state office, the lady in charge suggests that Ani pretend she wants to sleep with Ray to get some of his dirty cop info from him so they can nail him.
Back at her home office (not the shitty bunker office) her fuck buddy from episode one approaches wanting to get up in that again. She blows him off and tells him it’s over and he loses his shit. He tells her she is the real “suck ‘em and leave ‘em” sort” and she threatens to send him home with his teeth in a baggie if he talks to her like that again. Her partner also antagonizes him as he walks out and that was my favorite part of this episode.
Taking advantage of his day off, Ray pays his dad a visit at home and drops off a baggie of weed. His dad, obviously an alcoholic, seems bitter and angry. Through discussion, Ray determines that his father has tossed his police badge in the trash, which Ray fishes out. His dad asks after his son, and Ray kind of sidesteps the question before leaving with the badge.
While the case is winding its way (torturously slowly) toward being investigated, Frank exhibits that he is returning to his previous mobster ways by going to shake down someone who previously bought Frank out of a construction project. Later at his casino, he is confronted with the fact that Osip, previously his premiere investor, is jumping ship and going home. He asks the scar-faced assistant where the blonde assistant is, and I am pretty sure that scar-face went to the Nicholas Cage School Of Acting with his breathy and overdramatic response.
Calm Down, Paul
Instead of talking to prostitutes, Paul visits a dirt bike track and chats with a buddy from his military days. They catch up and drink a few beers, and as they leave, his buddy starts to reminisce about how he felt free during battle and sometimes wishes he’d stayed there. When Paul gives him a questioning look, his buddy reveals they had a three-day Brokeback Mountain style tryst. Paul overreacts and shoves his friend down on the ground before storming off and making a scene.
Ray and Ani go to a movie set to check out a car that was found dropping off Caspere’s body in traffic photos. On the movie set, Ani talks to the producers while Ray questions the set photographer. It is revealed Caspere was assisting with the movie and being paid. The photographer reveals Caspere used to party with the director of the movie. They question the director on the party and the director is unhelpful, using his drunkenness as an excuse as to why he doesn’t remember the happenings of the party. They also notice Caspere’s previous assistant is on set collecting the tax forms that Vinci sent her to get, clueing them in to Vinci trying to cover the town’s tracks.
Still at the casino, Frank’s blonde assistant finally shows up and upon getting yelled at, reveals Stan is dead. I’m not sure who Stan was, but his ass is dead. They end up in a warehouse looking at Stan’s dead body in a hole. Frank is understandably pissed, and demands his lackeys round up all of the people who have ever worked for him at Santos’ club.
Paul finally gets to working the prostitute angle by walking around and questioning them on ever seeing Caspere around. He continually strikes out because he looks like an asshole cop (I’m assuming that’s why, at least), before finally getting lucky with a male prostitute who isn’t currently working, just happens to be outside smoking. He’s seen Caspere at Santos’ club, so he takes Paul up the street because he’ll never get in on his own.
Upon entering the club, Paul literally runs into Frank (clichéd HBO, tired and clichéd). He finds a guy who has seen Caspere around and was paid to have sex with a girl in front of Caspere once before. He says Caspere wasn’t the type to participate, but he would sit in the corner and watch. Paul gets the name Tasha from him as a girl who would know more about Caspere.
Ani and Ray stop by his house and get some coffee. His ex-wife stops by to inform him the state came to talk to her about his past transgressions and she attempts to give him an envelope containing ten thousand bucks to not contest the custody filing. He is rightfully livid, refuses her offer, and sends her on her way. He and Ani leave to follow up on the leads they found at the movie set regarding the stolen car.
Get Some Marshmallows, Y’all
They question the driver who quit his job the previous week and he tells them that he quit because he has lumbar problems and he was taking care of his mother, who is sick. As he pulls up his shirt to show them his back brace, a car goes up in flames around the corner. They run and find a masked figure taking off across the road and a chase ensues through a homeless camp. Ani holds her own running after the person in the mask and ends up on a freeway aiming her gun at the escaping figure. Ray bursts through the trees and saves her from getting run over by a semi, hurting his ribs in the process. When she attempts to thank him, he tells her to thank him by telling him what the state has on him. She replies that she doesn’t know.
Frank Flexes His Muscles
The episode ends with Frank slipping completely back into his mob persona. He makes a speech to the men assembled in the basement of Santos’ club stating he needs to figure out who is after him. His assistants pass around photos of Caspere and he tells them to ask around in their circles for leads on who killed him. Santos balls his handout up and declares the meeting over since Frank is no longer in charge. To say Frank does not appreciate this would be an understatement. They fight, and Frank kicks Santos’ ass. He also removes his grill with pliers.
When Frank arrives home, his wife is up waiting for him reading an actual book on the couch like a peasant. She points out that she waited up for him and that they should make up. He pours a drink and dumps Santos’ gold teeth in the trash before turning to face her. She asks if he wants to talk and after a couple of seconds he responds, “Maybe tomorrow.”
I am torn between being bored out of my mind during the episodes and enjoying the few spurts of action we do see. I really hope they narrow the plotlines down to just a few soon, because as of now, Frank could die and disappear from the show, and I feel like his storyline wouldn’t be missed in the least. Paul’s apparent self-loathing homophobia is more interesting than the entirety of Frank’s plot points. Last season, Rust’s rambling monologues were intriguing and fascinating, but any attempts they’ve made this year have fallen flat. Here’s hoping the show starts to pick up soon!