Good morning everyone, and welcome to this week’s recap and review of True Detective, season 2, episode 4!
You know, True Detective, the land of incredible coincidence and let’s use everything as a metaphor, even that random piece of dirt on the ground (ok, slight exaggeration, but still).
This week’s episode was interesting, to say the least. So time to cut to the chase, and delve right in to this week’s review and recap!
And, as always:
The episode begins with Ani and Ray inspecting the vehicle that had caught on fire in the previous episode. Ray and Ani both agree that the person who set fire to the vehicle is probably not Ben Caspere’s killer. Ray also states that it appears that someone does not want this case solved.
Paul awakens in a hotel room, apparently having spent the night with a male friend. It appears that the two have had a sexual encounter, but Paul has no memory of the events from the night before. Paul is accosted by reporters outside of the hotel, who pepper him with questions about his military service and Operation Black Mountain. Paul attempts to leave the hotel, but finds that his motorcycle has been stolen, and is forced to call Ray for a ride home.
Ani and Ray track down Mayor Chessani’s daughter Betty and question her. Betty recognizes Ben Caspere, but cannot recall much about him. Betty reveals that her mother died when she was only 12 years old. Ani also reveals that she lost her mother at a young age as well. Betty also tells Ray and Ani that her mother was treated by Dr. Pitlor, the same psychiatrist who treated Ben Caspere.
Ani pays a visit to her sister Athena, and the two reminisce about their mother. Ani examines sculptures that were created by her mother, and states that the memories often sneak up on her.
Ray and Ani then visit Ani’s father Elliot in the commune where he works and lives. Elliot confirms that he knew Dr. Pitlor, although in a more academic sense, as Pitlor was taking part in a study about communal living that was conducted with Ani was a child. Elliot also confirms a connection to Ben Caspere, and even to Mayor Chessani, although the connection is to Chessani’s father and not to Chessani himself.
Paul meets his ex girlfriend, Emily, in a coffee shop. Emily tells Paul that she is pregnant and keeping the baby. Paul is shocked, but states that he thinks that they should get married and be a family.
Ani and Ray take a trip to Fresno to investigate some land that was of interest to Caspere. They speak to a work from the EPA who reveals that the land was actually contaminated due to mining run-off, and that no farmer will attempt to grow anything on that plot of land, making it useless.
Frank spends the episode trying to re-establish relationships with his old contacts, with varying degrees of success. He also argues with his wife, Jordan, about their fertility issues and some of Frank’s business decisions.
Ani’s boss calls her into his office, and informs her that she has been suspended from her job and has been charged with coercion by Internal Affairs. Ani had a relationship with a co-worker that she had ended the previous episode, and also had a brief sexual affair with her current partner. Ani states that she is the victim of a double standard. Her boss warns her that these relationships will be thoroughly be investigated by Internal Affairs, along with her gambling debts. However, Ani will be allowed to remain on the Caspere murder investigation.
Ray visits his son Chad, and passes on his father’s badge to Chad. Ray warns Chad not to let his mother know of their visit before disappearing into the night.
Paul has investigated some items sold to a pawn shop and identified them as being owned by Caspere. The man who stole the items is Amarillo Ledo, and all three cops suspect that he is the killer. Ani puts together a task force to apprehend the man. Ray passes on this information to Frank, who puts together his own task force to apprehend Ledo.
Ray, Ani and Paul track Ledo to a warehouse that he is known to frequent. At the same time, people are protesting Vinci’s new railroad system that has taken money away from other forms of public transportation. A shoot out ensues, with several by-standers and cops being injured or killed. A SUV crashes into a bus. Ledo takes a by-stander hostage but then shoots the man in the head. Paul and Ray and then fire their guns at Leto, killing him. Ray, Ani and Paul are the only ones left standing at the end of the shoot-out.
Well, I can say that this show is confusing at times. However, what this show is not is dull. This show is not dull, not by a long shot.
Previously, I have stated how much I love the character of Ray Velcoro. And that still stands, Colin Farrell has done a great job with this character in making him somewhat sympathetic, even when Ray is being a scumbag. However, the past couple of episodes have shifted more focus on Paul and Ani, who are also turning out to be fascinating characters in their right. Paul is obviously a closed homosexual who is a textbook case of repression, as he is repressing his sexuality and some of his memories in regards to his time in the military. And now his ex girlfriend is pregnant. And Paul proposed. Something tells me that Paul is headed for a major disaster of some kind (all the ingredients are now in place), and it will be interesting to see what happens to this character.
Ani has become another fascinating character, who has been supremely acted by Rachel McAdams. The character of Ani herself is fascinating: she is a female cop. She takes charge of her sexuality. She doesn’t care what others think, even her boss. She also takes charge at her job, putting together task forces, giving her partners leads to chase down, even taking charge of the driving. She is righteous and committed to solving a murder that her partner has repeatedly told her that they are not supposed to solve. And she is an old soul: even her childhood pictures prove that.
Another fascinating thing about Ani is all of the coincidences that seem to tie her in to this case. So far, she has visited her father twice in the name of work. And there is that creepy doc: Dr. Pitlor. He seems to be tied in to both Ani and the mayor’s daughter, Betty. And Ani likely knew Mayor Chessani as a child, and she is suddenly under investigation for her relationship with her co-workers. Oh, and she took part in a major shoot-out while trying to chase down a bad guy. Coincidence? Probably not. The writers have been teasing us, and the tease is becoming almost unbearable.
Speaking of unbearable, what is up with Frank? Really, what is this guy’s deal? Right about now is when we get to the confusing part…what is going with this character? Conflicted does not even begin to describe it…one minute, he is almost the of this season, with his quotes. And the next minute he’s pulling teeth (literally, even if they were gold ones. And good on Jordan for calling him out on that in this episode!) And in this episode, he makes threats (and gets all tough guy about his dental health) in a bakery, of all places. And argues about adoption and fertility in his avocado tree orchard (which, while we are talking about coincidence, just happens to be barren)? And is now suddenly the owner of the brothel that was the subject of investigation in the last episode? This character is just all over the place, and right now I am not sure if this is a good thing or bad thing. Nor am I sure if the problem is with the writers, the actor or both. So I am keeping my fingers crossed that we will see some more cohesion in the upcoming episodes.
This episode did feature the most action packed scene (so far) in the entire season: the shoot-out. Turns out taking down a (suspected) bad guy is never easy, and our heroes got first hand experience with that in this episode. And were the only ones left standing, to boot. Is this (like almost everything that seems to happen this season) some kind of foreshadowing? And was the shootout and the trail to Ledo a setup? It certainly has that feel. And it will be interesting to see what the repercussions of this shootout will be, since Ani, Ray and Paul are the only survivors (I think), and so many others were either injured or kill. This cannot be good, since Ani will now no longer be the only one under investigation from Internal Affairs, and it lends to veracity to the theory that someone (or a few someones) does not want this case solved, and does not care what he/she needs to do to prevent this case from being solved.
So that’s it for this week’s dissection of the ever confusing, sometimes infuriating but never dull TV show otherwise known as True Detective. Join me next week for more analysis, dissection and possibly even some hair pulling!