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Now It’s Down To Two (True Detective 2×07)

Not cool, True Detective, Not Cool.

Image Source: HBO 

Even though I thought I was prepared for this season of True Detective; this show really does have a way of making you look the other way. You never know what scenes are important and it almost always turns out that the scenes you overlooked have the key to everything. We still don’t know everything yet but the chips are starting to fall into their respective places.

I loved this episode. I was engaged from start to finish and so many things happened. I’m just going to assume that this will be a longer post than normal so I’m sorry if it seems a little long winded. I just felt like there was so much to talk about.

 

The Case

The thing I like most about True Detective that really sets itself apart from other mystery/cop shows is the fact that it focuses so much on the internal workings of their characters and throughout that develop more leads into the case. But before I get into the nitty gritty of what happened with each other the characters this episode, I thought I would just talk about the details of the case. To be honest….it really does take me a few rounds of watching an episode before I really think I grasp everything that happened and how everything is connected. Even then…..sometimes I still feel like I’m missing something. Please leave your opinions and observations in the comments of anything you think I’ve left out or got wrong. Trust me, it’s very possible I did both.

So we start off the episode with Paul looking at the paperwork of a land deal that went through. Basically, we discovered Tony Chessani and Osip Agronov are repurchasing Caspere’s shares and effectively being the real source of Frank getting screwed out of everything. That doesn’t mean too much to Paul but Ray took note.

So we start off the episode thinking maybe the cops had something to do with Caspere’s murder. Chief Holloway was at the party and seemed to be pretty cozy with the other scumbags involved in this conspiracy. So who else was involved? Frank tells Ray that Irena spoke of the “tall, thin, white” cop which rules out Dixon; the only other cop besides Holloway that we know is actually involved. So Ray tells Paul to look up who Holloway was working with back in ’92 and Kevin Burris pops up. Not entirely too surprising so we all should’ve known that last scene would happen the way it did.

So from what I can tell….Caspere was helping Holloway and Burris move the diamonds within their own district which led to the two orphaned kids incident. The money and the diamonds were Holloway and Burris’s way of getting invited into the “cool kids” club seeing as they both got promoted and gained a huge pay raise. Now from what I can tell…..Dixon wasn’t really a part of this but he wanted to be. He found out about the diamonds and was blackmailing Caspere. It was Burris who set up the shootout to hopefully eliminate the threats of being exposed and everyone is still scrambling around to find those diamonds which are the last piece of evidence against them in the double murder.

Now as Ani pointed out; it doesn’t make sense that the cops were the ones who killed Caspere because it brought all of their corruption to light and if they had Caspere….why wouldn’t they just torture him for the diamonds? That all doesn’t add up. These men are bad men and they do bad things but in regards to Caspere’s death; it doesn’t really make sense that it was them.

Meanwhile, Ani did her own detective work when she questioned a not so happy Vera after “rescuing” her from the sex party at the end of the last episode. Vera tells Ani about “Tasha”; Ben Casperes favorite who was trying to blackmail all of the other men involved in this sex ring. And it turns out blackmailing these guys doesn’t really get you very far. It actually only gets you to a cabin where they torture you and kill you. But somehow….someway Ani was able to get a hold of these pictures so good job Tasha! Even though you didn’t make it long enough to see your hard work pay off.

So we then have a very Aha! moment when Ray and Ani discover that Erica (Caspere’s secretary) could actually be Laura….one of the kids who witnessed the robbery back in 1992. At the time they didn’t see anything and they assailants who killed their parents wore masks but now she’s mixed up in this whole mess with Caspere and the sex parties. It really can’t be a coincidence. So the next move is probably to track her down and see what she knows. But it may be easier said than done because she moved out of her apartment six weeks ago and also quite her job.

 

If I Can’t Have It, No One Will

This was such a big episode for Frank. A huge episode. Everything started to click and once Ray came to him with the info on Chessani’s son and Agronov; it was literally all Frank needed to implode. Though I guess implode really isn’t the right word. Frank does seem very calm, cool and collected about burning his business to the ground and making everyone pay for targeting him.

Frank found out that Blake jumped ship and was really working as a treasurer for Tony Chessani and Osip Agronov. Unfortunately for Blake….he didn’t realize what Frank knew before it was too late. As soon as the meeting started with Blake in Frank’s office, I knew Blake was a goner. There was no way Frank was going to let Blake get away with that kind of betrayal. It was confirmed in this scene that Blake was the one who killed Stan and tried to make it connected to Ben Caspere’s murder. It was also revealed that it was Blake who fingered the wrong guy (in relation to Gena’s rape) in order to get him out of some blackmailing mess. Franks gets the info he needs from Blake; Osip and Catalyst are meeting in Ojai for a big cash exchange and Osip is also gunning for Frank’s club in addition to everything else. After he gets the info he needs (and gives Blake a pretty rough beat down) he shoots Blake in the stomach and watches as he slowly bleeds out in front of him. Aw, really…..it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.

Soon after, Jordan walks into to see a super-dead Blake and seems perfectly fine with it. Nothing like a nice supportive wife when you’re about to go on a killing spree. Frank of course is making sure Jordan gets to safety before he really starts head-hunting but I can’t help but wonder if she will be a casualty in the finale. I certainly wouldn’t like to see it and I’d like to think Frank is very good at getting her out of harm’s way but it could be a possibility right? But now, Frank is ready to come after these men with everything he has. He is going to burn Vinci down to the ground…..which will in turn greatly help out Ray and Ani in the next episode and really, they could use all the help they can get. It seems like he is going to do some major damage before he and Jordan ride off into the sunset together and let’s hope that is actually how it will turn out.

So the question I have is; why was everyone so against Frank to begin with? Was it just because he was top dog? Was he just a casualty in all of this corruption and deceit? Or was it something deeper? I guess I’ll have to wait to find out.

 

Ani’s Revelation

Ani had a very important episode last week. She made herself go undercover in a sex party and really face her worst fears. The face of the man who took her for four days when she was a child resurfaced and all of her inner demons came out to play.

Ani really does seem like a woman who likes to be in control at all times so the drugs she was forced to take was the first step in opening this huge can of worms she’s tried to keep buried deep this whole time. She grew up angry. She was mad about what happened to her and ever since then she knew she had to learn how to defend herself. One of my favorite moments of the episode was when she was still reeling from the effects of the drugs and still trying to process everything that has happened to her and she says…..”I think I went looking for that my whole life”. She was waiting for a man to put his hands on her just so she could kill him. So she could feel dignified in knowing that she will prevent a man from doing that same thing to another woman.

At the end of the day, I don’t think she liked the fact that she killed that man. In fact, I really love that True Detective shows the struggle and the effects killing a person has on someone. But I think she was ready for it and she may have to do it again. But the sex party scene of last week’s episode was the first step in her dealing with what actually happened to her in the past.

We also see Ani try to feel some sort of- well something when she tries to have sex with Velcoro. Luckily, Ray doesn’t give in when she’s completely hopped up on drugs. That would probably add-on to his list of problems he doesn’t need right now. But also, this was his first moment of really learning that something happened to Ani. He doesn’t really know when or what exactly happened but hey, he’s a detective….he can read in between the lines right? Taking advantage of someone who clearly has a past of sexual abuse and may use sex to cope when their under the influence? That’s not really something a good guy would do. Notice how I said good guy? More on that later.

We get an even closer look into what happened to Ani with the conversation that happens later with her father. She was taken for four whole days which honestly when I think about what could have happened to her….it seems like an eternity. We learn that the resentment she had toward her dad was probably his trusting nature of people. He was trying so much to not be an overbearing hardass of a father that he was welcoming towards everyone who came to his little cult-compound thing (still not entirely sure what to call it). He blames himself for what happened to her and in some ways, it’s possible she blames him too. She’s blocked so much of that time in her life out though that she wanted to just not talk about it and hold resentment towards that place and her family…no matter how small the resentment was, it was still there.

Ani’s been doing a lot of exploration of herself just in this one episode. She even says to Elvis “I think I might be unfair to people sometimes”. I personally think that Ani could be a tough person to really get to know….like really really get to know. I think all of her relationships have been very physical in nature because she still has that need to be comforted and wanted by someone but at the end of the day whenever someone tries to make that emotional connected. She pushes that eject button right away. This is how she’s dealt with relationships her whole life possibly until the end of this episode? Maybe?

 

I Knew It!

Sexual tension up the wazoo if you ask me. Ray and Ani have really reminded me of Rust and Marty in a whole lot of ways. At the core of what True Detective really is….it’s about a person being consumed by their choices. It could relate directly to their choices to solve a case but it also deals with their choices made in their own lives. Ray made a choice in the past and has gotten completely consumed by it. Ani made a choice to not become a victim anymore which in turn led to a lot of consequences in her life that she really didn’t expect. True Detective is also about two people who are seemingly so different but somehow they form an insanely deep bond that really can’t be can’t be explained to anyone else because of all they’ve gone through.

I like that this season they dealt with two people from the opposite sex and whether or not this bond could lead to something romantic. I liked that the connection between these two characters didn’t feel forced and to be honest, I really think these two were the stars of this season. I didn’t particularly care if their relationship led to romance or just a very strong friendship but you could tell that is where this was heading from the start; a very strong bond.

The last scene for Ray and Ani in this episode was one of the most interesting to me. These two are in a pretty shitty situation right now. Ray and Ani are now both wanted for murders and have no one else to turn to….literally no one. Not even Paul. So what can they do? They really do seem like two people who have are about to jump off a cliff together in order to resolve this case and bring everyone in this corruption to justice. And to be quite honest, I don’t necessarily think they’re going to survive this jump. I don’t even think they think they will survive. So there’s really nothing left to lose and they both share an insanely honest moment with each other.

Both of them have come from an insanely haunted past that has completely shaped the person they have become and that person may be someone they’re not proud of. But they’ve both made their decisions and they’re really not going to whine about it. When Ray asks Ani if she misses anything; it directly relates to how they once were. When they were consumed by all of their own rage….can they even remember that far back? It now seems that these two people who seemed very different now have a very genuine understanding of one another and it seems fitting that in such a sex-filled season that they solidify that bond and understand with sex.

So the question that was brought up was whether or not Ray is actually a bad man. When Ani told him flat out that she didn’t think he was a bad man and Ray responded with a simple “Yes I am”, it brought me right back to Season One of True Detective:

 

Marty: Do you ever wonder if you’re a bad man?

Rust: The world needs bad men….we keep the other bad men from the door.

 

Maybe you can’t really expect to fight all of this evil in the world if you don’t become a little evil yourself. Sort of like a “Rick Grimes” syndrome if you ask me. So do I think Ray is a bad man? No I really don’t. I think he’s done some bad things but all in all he’s come from good intentions. I don’t think people can be classified as “good” or “bad”. It’s all a huge grey area and right now Ray is leaning more towards the good side anyway.

 

Paul’s Sacrifice

I knew one of the three detectives wasn’t going to make it….and I had a feeling it was going to be Paul. But man, that scene still did hurt to watch. Poor Paul is really doing everything right. As soon as the sex party undercover job goes south….he gets his baby’s mama and own mama to safety. Sure, there could be a little piece of him that wants Emily tucked away until he figures out the whole situation with the pictures but all in all, he’s just trying to keep his loved ones safe.

So we head into the final scene with Paul where he very conveniently says to Velcoro “I think I might be walking into something”. I’m going to take a brief moment to address this. I kind of wish Ani and Ray were a little more concerned about Paul. I’m aware Paul didn’t tell Ray or Ani where he was or what he was doing but still…..when you’re this deep into a deeply corruptive case and your partner says “I have a  super bad feeling about this” wouldn’t you at least suggest you try to find out where he’s going?? Okay, I’m done with my small little rant.

Now back to badass Paul……he meets up with who turns out to be Holloway. He is blackmailing Paul in order to get the papers on the deal back and find out the whereabouts of Ray and Ani. These people know Paul, Ray and Ani are onto them and they are really trying to tie up loose ends. I knew Paul wasn’t going to give them up and I’m particularly glad he killed his vet friend who was still going on about “if he just accepted who he was….” Really??? Now is not the time asshole!

Paul gets the better of Holloway. Actually he gets the better of all of them….or so we think. In a very exhilarating final few minutes of the episode; Paul fights for his life and wins. That is until he walks out and is shot in the back by Lt. Kevin Burris. Ugh Paul…..cover your corners! The whole scene is pretty heartbreaking….especially after all he went through to stay alive just moments before. His last few moments are him refusing to give up and he is shot again in the back and killed. He was so close to getting out of there alive but now let’s hope this really puts a fire under Ray and Ani’s ass to take down the assholes.

 

So as much as I wrote about the episodes, I’m going to save my predictions for another post because honestly, this thing is long enough. I think I might spend some of my free time off this week rewatching the season up until the finale and see what I can come up with regarding theories.

 

On another note, I would like to briefly talk about Taylor Kitsch. Out of all of the actors that were announced for True Detective Season Two; Taylor Kitsch was the one I was most excited about. I was/am a huge Friday Night Lights fan and he absolutely killed it in The Normal Heart. Sure he had a few bumps in the road with some blockbuster flops but I am so glad to see him back on quality television bringing his A Game. He was wonderful this season and I’m super glad he’s getting his groove back.

 

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