True Detective (S2, E2) a Sombre Start With an Intriguing End
With a subdued debut episode of the sophomore season of True Detective, the second episode begins much in the same vein as the first: sombre and plodding. It goes without saying, the engagement levels haven't quite kicked in as much as the first season did.
Most of this episode felt like writer/creator Nic Pizzolatto is still laying the groundwork of the four main combatants of season two, and has failed to revel anything hugely open regarding their motives and psyches.
For all of this episodes groundwork it does leave with a cliffhanger, a shocking twist lays in its final scene, and here's hoping that the third instalment of season two will kick this series into action.
Most of this second episode, titled 'Night Finds You,' revolves around the cast arguing amongst themselves as to who'll lead the case in searching for answers regarding the death of Caspere. That job is given to Ani (Rachel McAdams), who'll be partnered by Ray (Colin Farrell). Paul (Taylor Kirsch), on the other hand, is offered a federal shield if he helps with the case — even though all he wants to do is get back on his bike. This episode seriously negates Paul from the story. For me, he was the most intriguing character from the first show: he's a man of mystery, and will hopefully play a vital twist in the tale later in the season.
WARNING: Below contains spoilers.
Caspere's Murder Begins to Unwind
Ray works double-duty. Along with helping Ani on the case, he's also working the case for Vinci PD, but the mayor warns him that the Attorney General’s office is going to use Caspere’s murder as an excuse to investigate the alleged corruption in the town. This leaves Ray in limbo: should he solve the murder? Or, help Frank (Vince Vaughn) find Capere's murderer?
We find out that Frank liquidated in order to buy into land that would be used by the high-speed rail, but Caspere never finalised the deal — essentially dying with the money and no paper trail. Caspere's death leads Frank to believe the killer has his money. Frank's troubles begin to worry him, as he has a double mortgage on his house a poker room, and if his money isn't found, it isn't worth thinking about the consequences. This train of thought is leading Frank to revert back to his gangster origins.
After Caspere's autopsy we find out his eyes were burned out by acid and his genitals blown off by a shotgun. Ani and Ray conduct an evidence sweep at Caspere's home, with Ani uncomfortable by the "sexual" decor of his home. Upon finding his date book, they arrange a visit with his shrink. They discover Caspere was being treated for various neuroses and frequently visited escorts, for which he was deeply ashamed about. Upon finding this information, Ani and Ray link $4,000 bank withdrawals and blank days in his date book to visits with escorts.
Ani's Hidden Trauma
Meanwhile, Frank pays a visit to one of his thug connections, who produces evidence that Caspere "dated" an escort. The secret provides Frank with a location to Caspere's sex house, which then Frank passes onto Ray during their regular bar conversation. During this meet-up, Ray confesses to Frank that he's feeling depressed and doesn't particularly want to peruse their arrangement any further.
The reason behind Ray's unhappiness is rooted earlier that day after meeting up with son Chad to find his ex-wife was there to meet him too. She is angry about Ray's behaviour at Chad's school and believes he beat up the bully's dad, informing Ray she is seeking sole custody of Chad. Ray begins to lose control, leading his ex-wife to threaten him with a paternity test — which would prove Ray isn't Chad's biological father.
An interesting development happens with Ani when she is researching local escort agencies. Her findings become more than professional. As she looks at pictures of naked women and a few hardcore videos, Ani is totally emotionless. This is the second clue this episode hints at in reference to Ani's hidden trauma.
After meeting with Frank, Ray checks out Caspere's sexual hideaway. It's a deprived location: blood on the floor, soundproofed walls, and a folded away sex swing hanging from the ceiling. Unbeknown to Ray, he isn't alone. A man in a raven mask appears from nowhere and shoots Ray. He drops to his knees with the masked man standing over him as he drills another bullet into Ray's body.
It goes without saying that this will not be the last time we see Colin Farrell's Ray character in this season. For one, he's been advertised as the lead in the show, so it wouldn't make sense to kill him off so early in the series. However, the raven masked man is the most intriguing character so far in this slow burning story. His appearance was dark and strange, leading us to an instant reference point to season one — maybe this killer comes from a cult?
Although two-episodes in, True Detective has struggled to project the same must-see television vibe that last years season managed. Given the strength of this episodes ending and the introduction of a suspicious and twisted killer, hopefully it'll delve deeper into the backstories of these four lead characters who have yet to fully engross the viewer with their hidden pasts.