True Detective Recap and Review: Season 2, Episode 3

Well, T.S. Eliot may have had it slightly wrong…

After all, it is supposed to end with a whimper, and not a bang, right?

Well, maybe the world will go out with a whimper, so its still possible that Eliot could be right about that…

But if he was talking about True Detective, then Eliot certainly missed the mark.

Last week’s episode did not exactly go out with a whimper (well, except for Ray Velcoro…even tough guys with crazy ‘staches certainly have the right to whimper after getting shot).  And this week’s episode began with a bang, and ended with…well…a bang.  And it seems the season has now taken off, so to speak, so I think we will be seeing a lot more bangs in episodes to come.

So here you go…bang (see what I did there?)…here is my recap and review of True Detective, season 2, episode 3!

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Synopsis

The episode begins with a dream sequence from the mind of Ray Velcoro.  Ray dreams of the club where he normally meets Frank, but encounters his father in the dream.  There is also a man impersonating Conway Twitty and lip-synching to the song The Rose.  We learn that Ray has a troubled relationship with his father.  Ray then comes back to consciousness and realizes that he is not dead, but has been injured because he has been shot with buckshot.  Ani is called to the scene, and chides Ray for not calling her for back up.  Ani then tells Ray to seek treatment, and also to take some time off from the job.

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Frank and his wife are then seen at a fertility clinic, presumably to begin treatments for in vitro fertilization.  Frank complains that the process is unnatural, and argues with his wife before they leave the clinic.

Ani and Paul pay a visit to the home of the mayor of Vinci.  Paul and Ani question the mayor’s wife and son, but obtain no new information on the murder of Ben Caspere.  The mayor’s son hints that he may be involved in some unsavory business but then proceeds to kick Ani and Paul out of the house.

Ray visits his dad and tries to engage him conversation.  However, Ray’s father is not receptive, and only tells Ray that law enforcement is now corrupt.  Ray leaves his father’s house, taking his father’s police badge to pass on to his own son.

Ray also visits his doctor.  The doctor clears him for duty, but warns Ray that his excess drinking and other unhealthy habits may lead to an early death.

Frank renews his contacts in the underworld that he left behind, as he is desperate to find out what happened to Caspere, and to find out what Caspere did with the collateral given to him by Frank.  Frank also finds out that an associate of his named Stan has been murdered.

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Per the suggest from Ani, Paul begins to investigate various prostitutes and call girls in an attempt to gain a lead on the murder of Caspere.  Paul also meets with one of his friends from his days in the military, but the encounter ends in an argument after the other man begins to hint of an intimate encounter with Paul.  Paul also investigates a club that Caspere was known to frequent.

Ani and Ray also investigate a movie set that was tied to Caspere.  The vehicle used in the murder has been traced back to the movie set, but the staff claimed it was stolen.  One of the staff had quit recently.  Ani questions the man, but he claims that he quit due to medical issues.

Frank questions various people on the murder of Caspere and his associate Stan.  The questioning turns into torture, and Frank uses pliers to remove the gold teeth of one man.  Frank then returns home, where his wife is waiting for him.  Ray tells her that he does not feel like talking, and disposes of the gold teeth before going to bed.

Ani and Ray stop at Ray’s house while pursuing leads in their murder investigation.  Rays ex-wife pays him a visit at his home, and informs him that state police are questioning her about some of his activities.  Ray’s ex-wife hands him an envelope with $10,000 and tries to bride him to not contest custody of their son.  Ray refuses the money and dismisses his ex wife.

After Ray’s confrontation with his ex-wife, Ray and Ani head back to the vehicle.  However, they are stopped in their tracks as the vehicle has been set on fire.  Ani gives chase to the perpetrator, who leads her on to a highway.  Ani is nearly ran over by a semi-truck, but is shoved out of the way in the nick of time by Ray.  The perpetrator flees and evades capture.

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My Thoughts

Last week’s opening sequence was awesome.  I loved it.  I loved Frank’s description of his childhood, the rats, etc.  And this week’s opening sequence was also awesome.  But weird too…weirdly awesome?  Awesomely weird, perhaps?  Whatever the case, it was weird.  And awesome.  I can’t help but think that perhaps there was a little foreshadowing, in both the song choice and the setting to the dream sequence.  Is this foreshadowing for something that may happen to Ray?  We now know that Ray’s health is horrible (really, it can’t be good when the doc asks you point-blank if you want to live) and he had a near brush with death the last episode (it was just buckshot, but still).  Its a fascinating question, and I believe that this dream sequence will be referenced again in a later episode.

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I have spent much time discussing Ray and Frank in my previous reviews, but I would like to take the time to discuss Paul’s character for a minute.  In the previous episodes, it was hinted that Paul may have some hang-ups (and is a serious mama’s boy to boot).  Well, this episode has confirmed those hang-ups.  All of the characters on this show are troubled, at least to a degree, but Paul may be edging out Ray for the “troubled bad boy” medal.  Paul is a closeted homosexual.  And he appears to have some anger issues, as evidenced by his argument with his friend (and possible former lover).  This is going to make for an explosive combination, and I am sure that we will be seeing the results of that combination in the near future.  I am also curious to see how Paul’s anger will affect his relationship with his partners, especially the one with Ray, as the two have not had very much interaction as of yet.  Paul’s issues may also have an interesting effect on the murder investigation, as the show has hinted that there are some tie-ins to the pornography and of course, the oldest industry in the books (prostitution).  So it seems that Paul may be confronting some of his demons soon, and that confrontation will be interesting, to say the least.

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True Detective deals in symbols, and this episode was no exception.  There was the scene at the beginning of the episode, with the dark bar and the Conway Twitty impersonator performing The Rose.  There are the ariel shots of the highways that criss-cross.  And in this episode, we also had gold teeth.  Frank was shown to be unmerciful when he tortured that man and played “dentist,” pulling out the man’s gold teeth with pliers.  Frank later disposes of those teeth when he gets home, and then dismisses his wife’s advances in the same breath.  Is Frank losing his humanity?  Are we seeing the man who is willing to kill a “rat” with his bare hands?  Frank wants to claim he is a legitimate business owner and entrepreneur, but his actions in his episode are anything but.  Frank and his wife also claim to want to be parents and bring a baby into their world, but again, Frank’s actions are anything but.  So perhaps, the gold teeth, and Frank’s disposal of them, symbolize a turning point in Frank’s story line.

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I have watched three episodes of the season so far, so I am almost to the point where I can play “so who is the killer?”  Is it the person who attacked Ray at the end of the previous episode?  It is possible, the assailant was wearing the same mask worn by the killer.  Is it the person who set the car ablaze and led Ani and Frank on a wild goose chase that nearly got Ani killed?  Probably not.  Life is never that easy, after all.  And the car was set ablaze after Ray’s confrontation with his ex-wife, which also culminated in attempted bribery.  Surely, that is not coincidental.  I think that the killer was more likely to be the person that attacked Ray as opposed to the person who set the car on fire, even though it is also likely that Ray’s assailant may be yet another red herring, and that we have not “heard” from the killer yet.  But speculation is fun, and it looks like there will be plenty more speculation to come.


 

So that’s it for this week’s review and recap of True Detective.  Join me next week for more dissection, speculation and analysis of what is shaping up to be a fascinating second season!

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