True Detective: Church in Ruins
July 26, 2015 9:05 PM - Season 2, Episode 6 - Subscribe

Ray confronts Frank. Frank and Paul both follow up on the blue diamonds. Ani goes undercover at an exclusive party.

Having found out that the man he killed all those years ago wasn't his wife's attacker, Ray confronts Frank in his home. Frank convinces Ray that he gave over the name in good faith. Ray visits his wife's real attacker in jail.

Frank and Paul both follow up on the trail of the blue diamonds. Frank ends up wrapped up with the Mexicans - he finds out from the girl that a thin, white cop had paid her to sell the diamonds, but she's killed before he can find out more. Paul traces the trail of the diamonds back more than 20 years and talks to the cop who investigated the original theft during the '92 riots.

With the help of her sister, Ani goes undercover at an exclusive party. Ray and Paul sneak in and steal paperwork that was signed in a back office during the party. Drugged and disoriented, Ani finds Vera, the girl who was reported missing by her sister. They manages to narrowly escape, but Ani may have left a body behind.
posted by radioamy (150 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Raid on One-Eyed Jack's!

I don't think Frank is going to make it to the end of the series.
posted by trunk muffins at 9:10 PM on July 26, 2015 [4 favorites]


What the hell was up with that music? Were they piping it outside the house so the inept guards could pretend to be in a Hitchcock film?

And what was in that little spray bottle? No way that was ecstasy. They get some spanish fly off Bill Cosby?
posted by Catblack at 9:15 PM on July 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


Some interesting reveals, some pieces that came together a little too easy. Some of the things that worked out to make the evening happen stretched credibility, but it moved the plot forward in an interesting way. Like some of the episodes, it was a mix of some pretty good or okay things with some really good things. I liked the table-talk with Frank at the beginning. I liked how Ray grappled with the issue with his son, and the deal he made at the end, and the whole self-desctructive stuff that lead up to it. The whole party thing had a bit of a James-Bondy feel to it, though, in terms of realism. It felt a bit too clean from front to end, even with the road blocks. What struck me the most, though, was the sound track for the sneak-up on the house, when Ani was in there. It took me awhile to figure out what genre it was closest to, and I think it was similar to ballet music I've heard before. It struck me as the soundtrack for the kind of dramatic performance, like a ballet, that would play out without words. It seemed strangely out of place, but I wonder if there was some thought that went into that.
posted by SpacemanStix at 9:23 PM on July 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


And what was in that little spray bottle? No way that was ecstasy.

It was probably more like GHB or Rohypnol to incapacitate/encourage compliance and cause amnesia.
posted by SpacemanStix at 9:27 PM on July 26, 2015


The girl before Ani told her it was Molly.
posted by Lil Bit of Pepper at 9:33 PM on July 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


The best part for me about this episode was that it followed an easy-to-understand narrative. I knew what was going on!

I agree that the spraybottle was probably something like GHB or Rohypnol. The whole situation made me so nervous for Ani the whole time. I thought she might have to fuck one of those creeps.

I know Ray is a shitty father, but I felt so bad for him this episode.
posted by radioamy at 9:41 PM on July 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


The whole situation made me so nervous for Ani the whole time. I thought she might have to fuck one of those creeps.

It's like the whole season has been a lead-up to her having to use a knife to defend herself. It makes me wonder about the significance of her having kept her mother's knife.
posted by SpacemanStix at 9:57 PM on July 26, 2015 [4 favorites]


Alan Sepinwall: "Better, but still "True Detective" season 2."

Todd VanDerWerff is teasing a positive review-to-come on Twitter.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 10:00 PM on July 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


Ray Velcoro. The American Alan Partridge!
posted by juiceCake at 10:12 PM on July 26, 2015


Ray's cocaine/headbanging moment of manpain had me cracking up and thinking of unflattering comparisons to The Breakfast Club. Your headbanging... is not so great, Ray.
posted by TwoStride at 10:38 PM on July 26, 2015


I realized this episode what really gets to me on this show this season are the silences. Those long wooden silences. Some of the silences, like in the scene between Ani and her sister work. That was a great little scene. But most of them don't and they just give me time to reflect on just how awful it is and missing having Penny Dreadful on after as a palate cleanser.
posted by miss-lapin at 10:48 PM on July 26, 2015


My tivo recording of tonight's episode cut off prematurely - did anyone catch what song was playing during the end credits?
posted by cobra_high_tigers at 10:50 PM on July 26, 2015


I was just thinking "I'm in the mood for something like Eyes Wide Shut, only even more turgid" and True Detective really delivered
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:50 PM on July 26, 2015 [11 favorites]


Also the thing with Ray really bothered me. He think having his son think his biological father vanished is better than thinking that Ray fathered him despite not being his biological father. That this reveal might explain to his son why daddy is such a jackass? I can get Ray "thinking" this way, but I can't believe the mother would go along with it. It makes me really despise both of them because neither seems capable of actually thinking what is best for the boy. I mean doesn't the kid deserve to know what happened?
posted by miss-lapin at 10:52 PM on July 26, 2015


Also the thing with Ray really bothered me. He think having his son think his biological father vanished is better than thinking that Ray fathered him despite not being his biological father.

Yeah, Ray's view of he world is messed up. But I think that under any other circumstance, it wouldn't bother him as much if his biological father wasn't a rapist. In Ray's world, that was not only a crime that would get a man killed, but also tragic enough that it would tarnish his son's sense of self-identity. He finds the lie less damaging than the truth, and is willing to sacrifice his access to his son for the greater good of his son. In a twisted way, this is what love looks like to Ray.

Also, Ray is planning on killing the rapist. There may be some self-serving motive in not wanting his death to come back to his son, either, if he knows the true identity of his bio father. His ex-wife will find out, but she's given her word not to say anything.
posted by SpacemanStix at 11:06 PM on July 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


Some notes:

1. I actually - God help me for saying this - I actually really liked Frank Semyon for a whole scene there. That was a good speech to the kid. And for the first time I kinda see that he really wants to be a dad, in a mostly-good way. In general, I think this episode had fatherhood as its core theme - that was obvious, of course, with Ray and Frank going through their stuff, but it was also there in the last half of the episode, though less obviously; which brings me to...

2. Ani's flashbacks of Charles Manson dude with the VW bus were creeptastic as all hell, and at the same time start to make some sense of her character. I gather that her father wasn't involved in the actual abuse she suffered, but was rather just one of those hippyish parents accepting enough to welcome child rapists and oblivious enough not to realize that it happened. And as far as I can tell her father still doesn't know that it happened. So she's left blaming him, with some good reason, for being crap at protecting a kid and for being crap at recognizing abusers, which spills over into a very understandable hatred of the whole enterprise he's involved in and an attempt to distance herself from it. This is read by her father and her sister as bafflingly pointless rebellion well into adulthood, when really it's just her coping mechanism and her way of protecting herself.

3. In the face of all that, goddamn was I thrilled to see her be such a legit badass through the end of this episode. Yeah, it was a little hokey, I admit, but it worked as a reveal of her abuse wrapped in a very raw display of the power she's cultivated in response to it. She got herself out of there. She got Vera out of there. Wow.

4. On reflection, I worry that her father is actually worse than I'm reading him as being. He must have some ties to Chessani, Caspere, and Rick Springfield surgeon dude; it's just that in the brief moments we've seen him he's seemed in earnest, if clueless, and not the dark and sleazy person that they are. But I still wonder, and worry about it. And if I wonder and worry, I'm sure Ani does, too.

5. Still some mysteries I haven't really sorted out. So it sounds like Lieutenant Kevin Burris was the "tall skinny white guy" "not dressed as a cop" "I think I've seen him before" that Irina Rulfo was describing, right? So how did he have Caspere's stuff, and why was he having her pawn it? Not sure if I'm buying the crazy theory in the article I just linked there, but I guess I don't have any of my own yet.
posted by koeselitz at 11:11 PM on July 26, 2015 [8 favorites]


My tivo recording of tonight's episode cut off prematurely - did anyone catch what song was playing during the end credits?

Black Grease by the Black Angels
posted by LionIndex at 3:56 AM on July 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


ohgodthemusicthatwentonandonandonandon

dee-dahhhhhh
dee-dahhhhhh
dee-dahhhhhh

Like some godawful MIchael Nyman arrangement of Bernard Herrman played on a turntable spinning down in thirty second increments. By the time Ani was being dosed I had turned to Ladyfriend7 to ask "are we done with the noir music yet?" at least four times.

You know those times when you're really really high and with your mates you're like let's do this thing again and again and again and again because it'll be totally fucken awesome and like everyone will be like yeah oh my god how did you do that do that again it was totally amazing do it again man do it again and you do it for like five hours and then you realise what you're doing is like putting this one ball in your left hand and then in your right hand and like there are totally no balls there man?

That's how they wrote this show.
posted by prismatic7 at 4:19 AM on July 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


So it sounds like Lieutenant Kevin Burris was the "tall skinny white guy" "not dressed as a cop" "I think I've seen him before" that Irina Rulfo was describing, right? So how did he have Caspere's stuff, and why was he having her pawn it? Not sure if I'm buying the crazy theory in the article I just linked there, but I guess I don't have any of my own yet.

Well, he was at the apartment before anyone else in the detail, so even if he's not the raven, he'd have an opportunity to grab some random stuff. It would work against the theory in the article, but as for motive, I'd guess that he was planting evidence in order to get the investigation that he didn't really seem to favor to take on a heavily-armed gang. If the detail gets shot up and the investigation ends, great. If the meth gang gets killed, that's not too bad either.
posted by LionIndex at 4:26 AM on July 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yeah, LionIndex has it, the Vinci power structure wanted to pin it on a pimp from the start, while maybe taking care of some of internal troublemakers too. I think the Mayor even says as much at one of the early police briefings, that "I see a pimp for this". Or something to that effect.

I actually liked this episode a lot. Like koeselitz says, we *finally* got some pay off for the knife that Ani has been flipping around all season. I love how she's is this crazy cat lady, but with knives, and the irritated look she had when Taylor Kitsch was clumsily flipping one of her knives around. Also, I kind of found the whole orgy scene hilarious in a _Perfect Strangers_ sort of way. What happens when we drug Ani up, give her a knife, and then put her amidst a few dozen sleazes who will do their best to trigger her childhood sexual trauma? I was half expecting that scene to end with her flat out murdering 50% of the elites of lower California.
posted by Balna Watya at 5:17 AM on July 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


• Paul and Ray just happen on some guys with incriminating paperwork at the Eyes Wide Shut house and easily grab it
• As noted, the bad Hitchcock music was out of left field
• Ray and Frank both try to go full Han Solo on each other with the gun under the table
• Frank's son would rather watch Friends than interact with him.. ouch
• When Ray agreed not to see his son again I felt like it was a sign he's going to die... but they'll probably give him some kind of hope first just to twist the knife on the audience
posted by starman at 5:29 AM on July 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


Also the thing with Ray really bothered me. He think having his son think his biological father vanished is better than thinking that Ray fathered him despite not being his biological father.

Ray is a forgiving man who loves his chubby, passive son. But Chad admitting that he liked Friends? A bridge too far. What father wouldn't abandon his son? Years later, the son will realize -- through intense therapy sessions, surely -- that the moment of separation was triggered by his admission of Friends fandom. A lifetime of bitter resentment toward Ross and Chandler will follow. "Friends? These are no friends of mind," Chad mutters softly to himself as he applies another coat of paint to his toy bomber.

I thought the AV club did a good job in their review pointing out all of the unnecessary scenes and repetitive dialogue that gets in the way of this show being much crisper, stronger. Scenes like Frank with the young boy struck me initially as strange (really, we're spending 5 minutes with the family of a guy we've only ever seen dead in a parking garage?), but as it went on I at least understood the value of scenes like that -- they give us more insight into Frank, and propel him further to vengeance. But so many scenes and lines of dialogue just reiterate what we already knew and do nothing to move the story forward. Which is unfortunate because there are so many things to address/resolve.

I've mentioned this here before but each episode cements in my mind a theory I have about this season: this is much more like The Killing Season 1 than it is like True Detective Season 1. The Killing was frustrating because each episode seemed to introduce new suspects and to deepen the conspiracy, but then those suspects were forgotten and the conspiracy was hardly resolved -- instead, new characters. Deeper conspiracy. Same thing here. Guy in car with raven mask, raven guy shooting Ray, film set photographer (remember the film set scene!!), guy in mask who burned the car, suspects: Blaine, Burris, Chessani's son, Pitlor, Ossif, etc. I'm sure that the resolution will be -- omg it was all of them!!?? Personal taste, I guess, but that will be unsatisfying to me. Chinatown had quite the Shadowy Syndicate as well, but it also had a very clear bad guy. That keeps the story (and the attention of the detectives) more tightly focused. Something this season is missing.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 5:35 AM on July 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


That kid has never looked any less like he could be the biological son of Colin Ferrell. On that couch they looked almost like different species.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 5:39 AM on July 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


each episode seemed to introduce new suspects and to deepen the conspiracy, but then those suspects were forgotten and the conspiracy was hardly resolved -- instead, new characters.

I got through a whole episode of Ballers before I realized I wasn't watching True Detective.
posted by mullacc at 6:31 AM on July 27, 2015 [9 favorites]


That kid has never looked any less like he could be the biological son of Colin Ferrell. On that couch they looked almost like different species.

Compared to what his mother looks like, the kid looks like the spitting image of Ray

But yeah, on some level, Ray knows that's not his biological son and if so, it robs him of one of the few good things he's done.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:41 AM on July 27, 2015


I think I may have reached the point where I am done with this show. All the times I've said "it's not season 1 but it may turn into something interesting"? It's not turning into something interesting, it's turning into a big old pile of dumb cliche.
posted by Artw at 7:33 AM on July 27, 2015


Ok, if the spray bottles contained Molly, what were the little blue pills that they had all over the place? I can't believe that would be Viagra.
posted by eas98 at 7:41 AM on July 27, 2015


I can't believe that would be Viagra.

Did you notice the average age of the men in that place? I can absolutely believe it was Viagra, Cialis or the like.
posted by dnash at 7:46 AM on July 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


So the missing girl has just been living in the orgy bathroom for months? No, seriously, where has she been going? Because if she was drug-abducted by a rich creep, why would he bring her back to the mega orgy instead of keeping her squirreled away in his mansion? And if that wasn't the case, why did she abandon her apartment and family enough that it caused a missing persons report? I guess what I'm saying is that her discovery felt quite convenient.
posted by bluecore at 7:46 AM on July 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


I can't believe that would be Viagra.

I can. You have a building full of late middle-aged men who are probably planning on getting off more than once. The likelihood that pharmaceuticals are required to make that happen is high.
posted by LionIndex at 7:47 AM on July 27, 2015


I think I may have reached the point where I am done with this show

I'm torn. There's only two more episodes, so why not finish it? But there's nothing really compelling about this season, it's too unfocused with ridiculous coincidences. The idea that there's another two hours to go just makes my brain whimper.

Plus "Humans" is on at the same time and is so much better.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:51 AM on July 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


guess what I'm saying is that her discovery felt quite convenient.

Like a contract full of signatures, or a randomly overheard baddie conversation.
posted by Artw at 7:54 AM on July 27, 2015 [7 favorites]


This contract... it's full of... *dramatic zoom in* *lightning flash, thunder crash*... of signatures.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 7:55 AM on July 27, 2015 [9 favorites]


I'll probably finish the fucking thing but boy do I feel dumb for having watched this far.
posted by Artw at 7:57 AM on July 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


VanDerWerff: "an hour in which every single character has a clear goal, then goes through hell to pursue that goal."
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 8:11 AM on July 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Ani's flashbacks of Charles Manson dude with the VW bus were creeptastic as all hell

It didn't help that Charles Manson dude looked SOOO MUCH like Will Forte as The Falconer.

Scenes like Frank with the young boy struck me initially as strange (really, we're spending 5 minutes with the family of a guy we've only ever seen dead in a parking garage?), but as it went on I at least understood the value of scenes like that -- they give us more insight into Frank, and propel him further to vengeance.

I understood that scene to be more about Bezzarides "using" her abuse to become a terrifying whirlwind made of knives.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:17 AM on July 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


Could have done with less of that and more knives TBH.
posted by Artw at 8:19 AM on July 27, 2015


Manson dude was getting up there with the fucking singer for unwanted repetition. Yes, yes, we fucking get it.
posted by Artw at 8:21 AM on July 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


It says something about how off the writing is this season, compared to last, when this happens: In the midst of the climax of the episode, they had all the characters explaining to each other who the most important person in the series is.

Both Kistch and Farrell ask, "Who's this?" upon seeing who McAdams has in tow, and both times the answer is essentially, "It's the missing girl we've been looking for."

This is my exposition sigh. Sigh. I'm sighing because exposition. What's that? It's a sigh. Which happens when there's too much exposition. See, exposition is the insertion of important background information within a story...
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:56 AM on July 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


Oh hey here's a question. Why isn't Frank invited to the sex parties, or even know about them? Everybody who's anybody (and who is a man) in Vinci is all about the hawt lady parties. But when they got together, were they like, "Let's not tell Frank, that guy is always going on and on about rats -- he's the worst!!"

I don't get it.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 9:57 AM on July 27, 2015 [9 favorites]


So the kid witnesses from the jewelry store robbery that "went into the system" are the mayor's kids, right? He adopted them out of some kind of guilt? And the daughter suspects/remembers, which is why she called her father "a bad man"?
posted by bluecore at 10:04 AM on July 27, 2015 [7 favorites]


One of his subordinates is running them without his knowledge or permission and, presumably, does not want to share the proceeds. Based on Frank's organizational structure, he (Blake?) would probably have needed to ask permission to get started and then pay him off. If Frank finds out the guy went behind his back, he is in bad shape.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 10:05 AM on July 27, 2015


Something I don't get about the sex party is ... your clientele is super-rich, semi-famous guys, right?

Why the hell would those guys feel the need to attend an exclusive party at all?

Couldn't each of them just buy all the girls they want and keep them to themselves? Buy a whole floor of the Ritz Carlton and pay for the super-high-end escorts?

But no, it'll be better to go to some secret place in the middle of nowhere, guarded by scary Russian guys, to bang Eastern Bloc refugees in front of other pasty white guys that'll recognize me at the next Republican party rally for Ted Cruz. Sounds like a great idea for guys that make their financial livelihoods all about managing risk.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:07 AM on July 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


Buy a whole floor of the Ritz Carlton and pay for the super-high-end escorts?

That's a public location. Far easier to control access to your sex and drug party where you can do what you want with the girls when it's a remote location.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:14 AM on July 27, 2015


Couldn't each of them just buy all the girls they want and keep them to themselves? Buy a whole floor of the Ritz Carlton and pay for the super-high-end escorts?

But they'd have to coordinate that themselves, which is exhausting, plus deal directly with the pimps and/or women and that is both unsavory (gotta keep your hands clean) and destroys the illusion of the party. Yes, of course the women are paid to be there, but clearly at least some of the men want to pretend that it's a legit consensual thing because they're just so charming. And who else are they going to get to coordinate this? Their administrative assistants? Who wants to assume the risk of finding a place, hiring the women, issuing invitations? No, this is a class of men who would hire party planners for any kind of event, and here's a crazy sex party ready-made just for them with a wide variety of women and no effort on their part besides money.

If you have more money than time and want effortless fun with lots of attractive women who you can believe like you for you and will have sex either way, this is a much more appealing proposition.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 10:22 AM on July 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think last night was when I finally resigned myself to the fact that I'm just hatewatching at this point. I could not care less whether they solve the murder, how deep the conspiracy goes, which Great Old One they're worshipping at the Bohemian Grove, etc. I'm pretty sure I care about Frank least of all and I feel like 90% of every episode is Frank quietly delivering terrible dialogue while nothing happens. Even when stuff objectively does happen around him (a woman is murdered, fr ex) it feels like nothing because of the viewer-engagement nullification field he projects around himself (I don't entirely blame Vince Vaughn for this, even. I feel like his flat, hollow affect is the delivery the lines deserve, or perhaps an involuntary trauma response for having had to read them in the script in the first place). Everything they tease us with ends in disappointment. OH BOY RAY'S GONNA CONFRONT FRANK but they just sit down and exchange bad lines while halfassedly fondling guns. OH BOY RAY'S GETTING WILD UP ON COKE I don't even remember what happened after that. OH BOY CRAZY OLIGARCH SEX PARTY THE PASSWORD IS 'FIDELIO' and Ani just wanders around having flashbacks to her backstory and stabs an extra. Good god almighty they have been dangling that Chekhov's knife in front of us all season and THAT WAS THE PAYOFF!? Christ even the big shootout scene just reminded me that I'd be having more fun playing GTA: San Andreas with the unlimited ammo codes.

I want this to end like Monty Python and the Holy Grail, with Cohle and Hart driving in to arrest this entire gang of nitwits for being awful.
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:22 AM on July 27, 2015 [11 favorites]


Far easier to control access to your sex and drug party where you can do what you want with the girls when it's a remote location.

OK, but still weird that you're turning over your kink experience to what you know are gangsters, and doing it in front of potential business and political partners. Rich guys want to see Newt Gingrich naked? At least in Eyes Wide Shut, everyone was wearing a mask...

It just felt like what a lazy writer imagines rich, amoral people are like, instead of actually thinking too hard about it.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:23 AM on July 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


Oh God I can't believe I'm using the idea of underappreciated "women's work" in terms of scheduling, coordinating, inviting people, &c. to explain a television sex party but here we all are.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 10:24 AM on July 27, 2015 [19 favorites]


"Susan should plan the governor's next sex party! She always does such a great job putting those together!"

[Susan quietly seethes, but goes ahead and emails the aerosolized molly supplier anyway, because clearly if she doesn't plan the damn sex party it's not going to happen]
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:27 AM on July 27, 2015 [22 favorites]


OK, but still weird that you're turning over your kink experience to what you know are gangsters, and doing it in front of potential business and political partners.

But if you are rich enough to believe that you are entitled to whatever you want, and you are surrounded by people who feel the same way as evidenced by the fact that they are also at this party, you're all just sort of having a good time and know that the other people there are the "right" kind of people because they share your godlike entitlement. It might even be bonding! Think about how many businesspeople go out for drinks or whatever after making a deal, or even to a strip club. This is like that times a thousand plus if you're that rich and entitled you want to know that you're only working with other people who are similarly entitled. No one wants to do business with wide-eyed hoi polloi.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 10:28 AM on July 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


It has been a while, but wasn't that an overly large pile of cocaine that Ray brought home for his little solo binge? Seemed like an amount that would match up with not a liter of tequila but more like four or five handles of tequila -
posted by rtimmel at 10:29 AM on July 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


I want this to end like Monty Python and the Holy Grail, with Cohle and Hart driving in to arrest this entire gang of nitwits for being awful.

I'm liking the crazy theory of this all being an elaborate Michael Bay-esque movie shoot that the three detectives are just participating in without realizing it, like The Truman Show or something, and that explains why there's all the hackneyed coincidences and lines and just-so resolutions.

Also, again this week with the weird geography of Guerneville/Sonoma County - Paul and Ani are there one moment, the next scene they're back in LA. And the sheriff mentions something about "state forests" which...aren't really a thing in California.
posted by LionIndex at 10:35 AM on July 27, 2015


Mrs. Pterodactyl, I get that as an *explanation* for why Frank doesn't know about the parties, but it's just so, so silly. The guy who has fingers in everything in Vinci, working deals with all of the big players -- somehow he doesn't notice that everybody takes off once a month, he doesn't notice the buses filling with women, none of his other henchmen have noticed anything or told him. He's not even suspicious in the least. It's completely out of character. But this is the problem with huge conspiracies. The larger they get, the more implausible they become. And in fact, this is one of the reasons why I liked the end of last season (though most people hated it). It makes sense to me that there were weird rituals that some powerful family in Louisiana used to partake in -- then they aged and gained influence and they stopped the rituals and then of course tried to suppress any knowledge of them at all. Satanic cults and political power don't mix well in the age of Twitter. It was only the runt of the litter, the cast-off of the family, the disabled satellite who veered off on his own orbit who was still practicing the rituals. The level of conspiracy here, though, is nothing short of laughable once you start asking questions of logistics. I mean -- a seven hour drive on a charter bus!? Of course, lots of television is pretty implausible, but part of the disappointment is that I have been holding this show to a slightly higher standard.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 10:36 AM on July 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


These guys are so rich that what looks like big deal to us (massive drugged-out sex party) is just an incidental detail.

They get together at the resort for some networking and there's also entertainment provided:

Thursday afternoon: golf
Thursday night: charter performance from the Rolling Stones
Friday afternoon: State-of-the-Illuminati Key-Note address from Henry Kissenger
Friday night: drugged-out sex party
Saturday all day: hunting human prey
Sunday (optional): golf
posted by paper chromatographologist at 10:46 AM on July 27, 2015 [18 favorites]


Ok I guess I didn't 100% understand this episode (damn!). What's the deal with the jewelry store and the kids? Who would want to kill a jeweler? And if the mayor adopted them, how did we put that together?

rtimmel - yes that looked like a crapton of coke to us.
posted by radioamy at 10:55 AM on July 27, 2015


Also I'm sticking to my assertion that Paul is a totally useless character. In this episode he talked to the retired cop, and he helped Ray help Ani, but the show would have been fine without him. I'm really hoping he steps up in the next two episodes.
posted by radioamy at 11:00 AM on July 27, 2015


Ah but Paul is a closeted self-loathing homosexual, which is a pretty edgy direction to take a character in a major TV drama in this, the year of our lord 2005
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:03 AM on July 27, 2015 [9 favorites]


Interesting thought from the AV Club's review: "Ani entered the party as Athena Bezzerides, and there’s no reason to think Blake and his goons won’t come after her sister for her attack on a high-rolling client."
posted by radioamy at 11:05 AM on July 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


Interesting thought from the AV Club's review: "Ani entered the party as Athena Bezzerides, and there’s no reason to think Blake and his goons won’t come after her sister for her attack on a high-rolling client.

Sure, that's logical, but it's not like the show is logical, so this may or may not be addressed. Of course, it's the sort of thing Ani wouldn't have done in the first place, because it's so easily traceable back to her sister and her.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:12 AM on July 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


The guy who has fingers in everything in Vinci, working deals with all of the big players

See, I don't think that's what Frank is. It's what Frank desperately wants to be. Something bigger, more important than a seedy hood.

Frank's not a big player; he's a mark, someone for the big players to look down upon and exploit. They stole his money; the mayor is openly scornful of him in their conversations; they've sent him off on a snipe hunt ("find the hard drive") dangling the promise of a seat at the table.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:19 AM on July 27, 2015 [18 favorites]


Also I'm sticking to my assertion that Paul is a totally useless character.

Which is super annoying because right when they filled in a lot of interesting backstory details for him, they stopped giving him a damn thing to do. What do his closetedness, his Iraq history, and his creepy mother have to do with anything? Ani's family backstory is intertwined with the crime, Ray's family troubles are connected with Frank, also linking him to the crime. Paul - why should we care about his life outside the investigation?
posted by dnash at 11:20 AM on July 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Paul - why should we care about his life outside the investigation?

My favorite thing about Paul is -- well, remember that scene where he woke up at his buddies house after a night of "putting out some fires"? He stumbles around LA and then is confronted by a bunch of paparazzi about Iraq and his time in Black Mountain? Or something?

But it makes sense that that all died down and the press decided to simply leave him alone -- it's not like Paul was involved in the bloodiest law enforcement gunfight of the last 30 years. I mean, really? He just goes back to having a low profile after that?

It's a really weirdly written character. Not just Paul himself but how people interact with him.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 11:31 AM on July 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Major (I think) plot points I don't understand:

1) Are we supposed to think (allowing for last minute changes ups in the next two episodes) that the high speed rail land grab is a red herring - that while it looked like Caspere was killed in connection with this deal, the "truth" is that it had something to do with the a hard drive filled with compromising video of powerful people with prostitutes taken at these scheduled parties? And was the end of last night's episode (the contracts covered in signatures) supposed to be a flip of the land deal back into the spotlight?

2) Did Caspere supposedly know where the hard drive was and so was tortured and failed to give up the location - thus requiring Frank and Ray to figure out to location? Or are will still supposed to think that his death was ritualistic? Also, ditto for Stan, one of Frank's minions?

3) Is there anything in the show itself that shows any interest in why the Birdman did not want to kill Ray? Are we supposed to assume that Birdman is not connected to the Caspere/Stan murders or are we supposed to think that Birdman is a cold-blooded killer that for some reason wanted to keep Ray in the picture?

4) What was the purpose of everything at the sex party? First, was it just to hopefully find the Missing Girl, or was there a reason to do it related to the murders? Did Ani go in undercover just to find the location? Admittedly, she was unexpectedly dosed with whatever, but she didn't seem to have any plan to find out anything about the hard drive, and I cannot imagine who she could.

5) (And I will stop here) Before the raid, was the Missing Girl linked to the murders by anything but a maybe connection with the sex parties? And maybe Ani's dad and that whole murky cabal?
posted by rtimmel at 11:42 AM on July 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


rtimmel, good questions. I don't think we know yet exactly why Caspere was killed. It's possible that he found out about The Secret of the Blue Diamonds and that's why he was offed. As for why Ani went undercover, I think just to see what was up with the parties, who went to them, and so forth. Finding the "missing" girl was a happy accident but what I still don't get -- do we know if the girl was coerced into attending these parties, or did she knowingly and willingly doing it for the money? And if it's the latter, did Ani and the rest of the A-Team just kidnap someone against their will?
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 11:47 AM on July 27, 2015


Hall and Oates - that a whole other set of questions. It makes no sense for her to be a kidnappee. Why would a sex party promoter kidnap people when you can get busloads of willing participants down at the gas station? It's dangerous, not cost effective and I would assume that even the most jaded fat cats would have a general preference for not be involved in federal capital crimes without good reason. And if she was kidnapped for some other reason, why is she out wandering around at parties?
posted by rtimmel at 12:05 PM on July 27, 2015


Speaking for many, Comedian posts signs in NYC about this season.
posted by TwoStride at 12:50 PM on July 27, 2015 [6 favorites]


I don't think Ani had a plan because the information she got about the party was pretty vague aside from her sister's advise. Considering all the drugs in that place, it's not surprising that reliable information would be difficult to come by from escorts who participated. Considering how well Paul and Ray managed to do a smash and grab, I'm not sure why they didn't just do that in order to find evidence except then we wouldn't have the missing woman. Although it would be pretty easy for the drugged Vera to wander into the room as Paul and Ray are there. One of them recognizes her and grabs her on the way out. It's just as believable as anything else that happened in that scene.

In regards to the sex party, it's actually safer than having your own little party because those who might seek to tear you down are also participating. They can't reveal your dirty little secret without incriminating themselves as well.
posted by miss-lapin at 1:50 PM on July 27, 2015


OK, but still weird that you're turning over your kink experience to what you know are gangsters, and doing it in front of potential business and political partners.

Very rich businessmen and politicians like to pretend they look down on gangsters, but they'll use them when needed and take their money whenever they can so it's not at all weird to me, but that could be just me. Where there's a lot of money there's a lot of businessmen, politicians, and gangsters (and cops of course). Everyone else is just irrelevant to them. Look at Miami's history for example.
posted by juiceCake at 2:57 PM on July 27, 2015


Here's my guess where we are so far. Does this make sense, or am I missing something?

• Caspere was involved in a lot of corruption, including the high-speed rail land scam and probably kickbacks for film tax credits.

• Caspere also attended the sex orgies, where he met Vera, the missing girl.

• Caspere had a private sexual relationship with Vera at his sex lair, where she learned about him possessing the blue diamonds from the LA riots heist.

• Stan, Frank's henchman who was killed, was working with "louche" henchman Blake to provide girls to the orgy scene, so knew Vera and possibly had a friendship or relationship with her.

• Vera and Stan concocted a plan to get the blue diamonds from Caspere, which ended with Caspere tortured and dead.

• A third party could've been involved too (like the Mexican gang who slit the girl's throat) if she mentioned the diamonds to multiple people, which would explain why the torture was so brutal.

• How Caspere got the blue diamonds, I'm not sure, but perhaps he blackmailed them out of the mayor, because I believe the mayor's son and daughter are the son and daughter of the jeweler parents killed during the riots, which might've been an accidental/unintended murder, which is why the mayor took the kids in rather than have them in the system.

Lt. Kevin Burris, who Velcoro's father mentioned knowing from the old days, probably was involved in the heist too, and is helping the mayor clean up the mess, including retrieving the video tape with incriminating footage from the house, where he stumbled upon Velcoro, using riot rounds to take him down because Burris didn't want to hurt another cop.

• In cleaning up the mess, someone (Burris? the Mexican gang?) tortured Stan for info on the diamonds at that wilderness hut Ani found, then killed and dumped him. So no one is actually coming after Frank, as Caspere's death wasn't related to the land deal.

• Detective Teague Dixon also helped clean up the mess, including getting a random woman to pawn stuff to point the finger at a drug dealer for Caspere's murder, which led to the warehouse shootout.

• When Stan got killed, Vera went into hiding, but popped back up at the sex orgy to make enough money to survive (a convenient coincidence, but TD season 2 doesn't seem to mind convenient coincidences.)

• Since Vera was previously employed at Ani's father's retreat, there might be connection there with her father helping to provide girls to the orgy circuit, which will compound her issues with her father.

Am I missing something? There's a lot of threads in this season-- for example: I'm confused why they took time to set up Caspere's assistant going to the movie set to collect paperwork. Why? She probably knows more than she's letting on, considering how much Caspere was into, but why set her up and then never see her again? Did she tip someone off to the diamonds? Maybe she's the mastermind behind getting the diamonds and Vera was just a witness? I mean, a car from the movie set was used to dump his body.
posted by bluecore at 3:29 PM on July 27, 2015 [5 favorites]


So which one was Stan? I totally don't remember him.
posted by Artw at 3:33 PM on July 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Artw: So which one was Stan? I totally don't remember him.

Dead henchman of Frank's found in a warehouse, which led to the "Who's coming after me?" speech and Frank giving the pep talk to Stan's son in the last episode. We didn't see him much on screen before he was killed.
posted by bluecore at 3:36 PM on July 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Throughout the whole bit with the sin I was wondering "who the fuck is Stan?", which is probably not a good sign. Did he die before or after the time jump?
posted by Artw at 3:37 PM on July 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Artw: Did he die before or after the time jump?

Before. He pepper sprayed the bookie under the bridge before Frank gave him a warning about moving into his territory.
posted by bluecore at 3:41 PM on July 27, 2015


Caspere also attended the sex orgies, where he met Vera, the missing girl.

Caspere had a private sexual relationship with Vera at his sex lair, where she learned about him possessing the blue diamonds from the LA riots heist.


I thought Caspere's relationship was with some other girl -- Tasha or something. (One of the many names mentioned minimally so far this season but who nevertheless may be very important.) Of course, maybe Tasha and Vera are the same person.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 3:42 PM on July 27, 2015


bluecore: “Stan, Frank's henchman who was killed, was working with "louche" henchman Blake to provide girls to the orgy scene, so knew Vera and possibly had a friendship or relationship with her.”

Huh. When did we have any indication of that? I guess you're extrapolating from the fact that Blake was asking the widow if her husband told her anything. That makes some sense, I guess – I'm going to have to think about that one.

Frank Semyon is really turning out to be a rube in all this. Of course Osip cut out the middleman and dealt directly with Catalast – what did Frank expect him to do? And how in the world is Frank going to take his revenge on Osip and/or Catalast here? His retribution seems pretty damned stymied now.
posted by koeselitz at 3:47 PM on July 27, 2015


Oh, this one is wrong, though:

bluecore: “In cleaning up the mess, someone (Burris? the Mexican gang?) tortured Stan for info on the diamonds at that wilderness hut Ani found, then killed and dumped him.”

Stan was probably not the one tortured at the wilderness hut, since this is what the pathologist said about the blood at the scene: "The blood is female. Dead gonorrhea biophages." Note, of course, that Caspere's autopsy revealed that he, too, had gonorrhea. I thought instantly that the person tortured in that wilderness hut must have been Vera; but that turned out to be a misdirect – Vera was discovered alive and well later in the episode.

So: some female companion of Caspere's, perhaps?
posted by koeselitz at 3:54 PM on July 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


Also, it would be weird to kill a dude in a cabin in NorCal and then drive him 7 hours to dump him in a parking garage.

So: some female companion of Caspere's, perhaps?

Yeah, Tasha? Maybe I'm missing something -- why do we think Vera and Caspere were connected?
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 3:56 PM on July 27, 2015


Also, it would be weird to kill a dude in a cabin in NorCal and then drive him 7 hours to dump him in a parking garage.

At this point I'm just taking as a given that in the fictive world of True Detective, Sonoma County is about an hour up the coast from LA.
posted by prize bull octorok at 4:01 PM on July 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


(Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates: Yeah, Tasha? Maybe I'm missing something -- why do we think Vera and Caspere were connected?

The photos of Vera's that her sister found and gave to Ani were of the blue diamonds.
posted by bluecore at 4:04 PM on July 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


I seem to have somehow confused Tasha with Vera. Since I'd never seen either on screen, I'm not going to blame myself too much for that.
posted by koeselitz at 4:05 PM on July 27, 2015


You know what would be the craziest misdirection? If none of this is related to any sort of animal-mask sacrifice cult like season one, but is simply a pretty standard crime story that has crime lords who torture and kill people over financial deals, and we see the occasional weird sex party for powerful and dysfunctional people. It has felt almost certain that there's going to be this weird cult sitting behind all of this because of the expectations from the previous season, but maybe the guy in the bird mask just liked dressing up or needed something to put on quick when someone was breaking into the house-of-questionable-activities. I haven't seen much more yet to suggest anything more sophisticated, although I did anticipate that the party would be the place to start making some of these weirder connections.
posted by SpacemanStix at 4:09 PM on July 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


The photos of Vera's that her sister found and gave to Ani were of the blue diamonds.

I guess we'll find out on Sunday night, but why is Vera still alive if she was tight with Caspere and knew about the blue diamonds? I think it's more likely that Caspere showed them to Tasha, who then showed them to some of the girls. Then when the big baddies figured out what was going on, Caspere and Tasha were offed. (shrugman)
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 4:10 PM on July 27, 2015


koeselitz: Stan was probably not the one tortured at the wilderness hut, since this is what the pathologist said about the blood at the scene: "The blood is female. Dead gonorrhea biophages."

Oops. I completely missed that. Also, I'm bad with the geography, as I assumed that was close to everything else.

I'm still playing around with the idea of Caspere's assistant being involved more than we know. Like maybe she found out about the diamonds and used someone from the movie set to obtain them, like the recently hired set electrician who was a former mercenary in Black Mountain and happens to be Paul's sometimes lover. He would've had access to the set vehicle used to dump Caspere's body and the post-apocalyptic mask used when the car was torched. Maybe Tasha witnessed the killing, escaped, passed along info/photos of the diamonds to her friend Vera, but then Tasha was caught/killed in the cabin in the woods. Burris could still be doing clean-up, as the mayor doesn't want his kids to find out his involvement in the death of their parents, which would be obvious if he said on video tape that Caspere blackmailed the diamonds out of the Mayor.
posted by bluecore at 4:19 PM on July 27, 2015


I'm just glad that Checkoff's knife finally came out to play... been waiting for that shoe to drop since day one.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:37 PM on July 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


Also, again this week with the weird geography of Guerneville/Sonoma County - Paul and Ani are there one moment, the next scene they're back in LA. And the sheriff mentions something about "state forests" which...aren't really a thing in California.

Weirdly enough there is a state forest in Mendocino County (Jackson Demonstration), and even weirder it was previously owned by Casper Lumber Company. I'm quite certain the writers know nothing about this, given that they keep calling it the "Russian River Valley."
posted by one_bean at 5:02 PM on July 27, 2015


I'm just glad that Checkoff's knife finally came out to play... been waiting for that shoe to drop since day one.

Wasted on a mook though.

Also now she's got dead mook paperwork on top of all the other crap, that's not cool.
posted by Artw at 5:51 PM on July 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


Isn't all the evidence illegally obtained?
posted by pseudodionysus at 6:16 PM on July 27, 2015


But... Signatures!

I have have no idea what their legal plan is here, but I asume that like their intelligence gathering plan it os utter dumb and awful.
posted by Artw at 6:18 PM on July 27, 2015


yeah, I thought they were going totally rogue on this operation. I doubt she's doing any paperwork relating to killing that mook.
posted by isthmus at 7:35 PM on July 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


I did enjoy this episode; I was glad they maintained the pace they had achieved in episode 5. And half the fun is watching everyone pick apart the weird plot holes and unanswered questions. I guess that means I'm semi-hate-watching?
posted by isthmus at 7:37 PM on July 27, 2015


It's a thin line between love and hate.
posted by isthmus at 7:37 PM on July 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


The more I watch, the more I realize that this is a show that has absolutely no interest in the detective-ing element of being a detective. It all seems so very prefunctory - "oh, we need to have someone interview someone, er, send Paul this time".
posted by AdamCSnider at 7:57 PM on July 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


This is what happens when a writer buys their own bullshit and chases off the people who kept their work from turning into a pile of shit by offering important criticism. Unfortunately because the ratings are higher this season we will probably never get back to the kind of quality we got in season one.
posted by humanfont at 7:58 PM on July 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


It's definitely weird to have California geography problems...in California.

Also yeah, that was one illegal operation. Gonna be interesting to see if that gets them into trouble.
posted by radioamy at 8:17 PM on July 27, 2015


My god, it's full of awful.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 6:47 AM on July 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


I really enjoy this show. Best thing on television right now, I think.
posted by koeselitz at 7:35 AM on July 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


I believe the mayor's son and daughter are the son and daughter of the jeweler parents killed during the riots, which might've been an accidental/unintended murder, which is why the mayor took the kids in rather than have them in the system.

Unlikely: the mayor's daughter tells Ani what happened to her mother - mental health problems and suicide, not tortured and killed in a jewelry store robbery. Could possibly be explained by some lame excuse: "Oh, I meant my adopted mother. Yeah, sure, my birth mother was tortured and killed in a jewelry store robbery".

2) Did Caspere supposedly know where the hard drive was and so was tortured and failed to give up the location - thus requiring Frank and Ray to figure out to location? Or are will still supposed to think that his death was ritualistic? Also, ditto for Stan, one of Frank's minions?

I don't understand why the video tape is still in Caspere's pad when Velcoro arrives. It wasn't exactly hidden; Velcoro immediately finds it. And why was Birdman there; just sitting around hoping to shoot the first person he sees? More likely is that after Santos had the girl tell Frank about the location, that also set wheels in motion to warn Birdman someone was investigating the house. But then why leave the tape there in the first place? What if two people turned up to investigate the house?

This is what happens when a writer buys their own bullshit and chases off the people who kept their work from turning into a pile of shit by offering important criticism. Unfortunately because the ratings are higher this season we will probably never get back to the kind of quality we got in season one

To be fair, the end of Season 1 was about as stupid as the entirety of Season 2 is so far.
posted by kithrater at 8:01 AM on July 28, 2015


Nooooo the end of Season 1 was great. I know I'm in the minority but I want to stick up for it.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 8:14 AM on July 28, 2015 [11 favorites]


This episode had just enough cool aerial shots of LA highways at night to keep me happy. At this point, that's the only thing I'm watching this show for.
posted by octothorpe at 8:18 AM on July 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


Eyes Wide Shut 2: Full Throttle: The Bro-ening

Seriously, this show is the TV drama equivalent of Call of Duty: it feels like what a 14-year-old boy imagines is "awesome."
posted by jbickers at 10:32 AM on July 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


Cthulhu has got to show up sometime.
posted by Artw at 10:35 AM on July 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


I really enjoy this show. Best thing on television right now, I think.

I see all the criticisms of the show, and I totally get them. But I can't help but being in this all the way and still liking it, and even enjoying all the characters. It's the first thing I'll watch on Sunday night. I feel like I'm growing attached to people who have obvious flaws, and I still want to hang out with them and see what happens, even if it's messy and imperfect.
posted by SpacemanStix at 10:50 AM on July 28, 2015 [4 favorites]


radioamy: yes that looked like a crapton of coke to us.

You could refer to that as a hooverfull of coke.


(Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates: My favorite thing about Paul is -- well, remember that scene where he woke up at his buddies house after a night of "putting out some fires"? He stumbles around LA and then is confronted by a bunch of paparazzi about Iraq and his time in Black Mountain? Or something?

That was because the Paparazzi were sent out at the request of the blonde starlet's agent/lawyer, in the ever-thrilling tale of Paul vs Allegations of Potential Sexual Misconduct (which also served to make the audience wonder if Paul turned down the sexual barter because he was secretly gay, or just an honest cop who happens to be a closeted, self-loathing homosexual).
posted by filthy light thief at 11:40 AM on July 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


Artw: Also now she's got dead mook paperwork on top of all the other crap, that's not cool.

pseudodionysus: Isn't all the evidence illegally obtained?

Both of these fall into the murky land of "illegal things done at an event that did not happen." The dead bodies will disappear, or appear in a car crash or some burning building, and someone will bring up a copy of the Holy Grail of Signatures, because it would be hard to believe that everyone who signed that deal was happy with only one copy being made.


octothorpe: This episode had just enough cool aerial shots of LA highways at night to keep me happy. At this point, that's the only thing I'm watching this show for.

On that: did someone just shoot a TON of footage of LA being covered by clouds in varying patterns to get the shot they want where only part of the city is illuminated, was the lighting done in post-processing, or completely generated by CG?
posted by filthy light thief at 12:00 PM on July 28, 2015


Cthulhu has got to show up sometime.

I'm totally claiming Copthulhu
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:12 PM on July 28, 2015 [4 favorites]


SpacemanStix: You know what would be the craziest misdirection? If none of this is related to any sort of animal-mask sacrifice cult like season one, but is simply a pretty standard crime story that has crime lords who torture and kill people over financial deals, and we see the occasional weird sex party for powerful and dysfunctional people.

I wonder how much of this show is written by committee, who all throw some ideas into the Magic Plot-Making Hat, and everyone takes turns pulling out an idea and writing it in. The burnt-out eyes have been seen twice, first with the major player Caspere, then with the low-level guy Stan. And in this episode, Random Oil Tycoon drops this line:

"You know, I said to myself, now there is a real woman. Not like these little girls. Oh, they try to make like they understand, but it's just empty eyes."

Empty eyes? Further random misdirection, a hint at his connection to the prior tortures, or his knowledge of the Cult of the Eyeless?

More random references that may just be random: Ani as Athena, Greek goddess of goddess of wisdom, courage, inspiration, civilization, law and justice, mathematics, strength, war strategy, the arts, crafts, and skill (emphasis mine); Santa Muerte, aka Nuestra Señora de la Santa Muerte (Our Lady of the Holy Death, or just Holy Death), a female folk saint venerated primarily in Mexico and the Southwestern United States. A personification of death, she is associated with healing, protection, and safe delivery to the afterlife by her devotees. Both are aspects of religion, tying back to the cryptic episode title (Church in Ruins - as in some specific church has fallen, or a church that is born of/ survives/ thrives in ruin).


If nothing else, this season has given me The Black Angels and and Lera Lynn, and indirectly the somber Mexican folk music of Lydia Mendoza.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:13 PM on July 28, 2015 [4 favorites]


fearfulsymmetry: I'm totally claiming Copthulhu

Well, you can turn pretty much anything into a police procedural.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:14 PM on July 28, 2015


jbickers: “Seriously, this show is the TV drama equivalent of Call of Duty: it feels like what a 14-year-old boy imagines is ‘awesome.&Rsquo;”

Well, somebody's got to aim at that market. The last season of Game of Thrones ended weeks ago, so the 10-year-olds no longer have anything to watch; and all the 9-year-olds are waiting for the next season of The Walking Dead.
posted by koeselitz at 12:14 PM on July 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


filthy light thief - from what I understand, it's got the opposite writing problem. It's one guy writing without any input from anyone else.

Also, Ani's sister is Athena. Ani is Antigone. Not that I actually know much about Greek mythology, however.
posted by radioamy at 12:48 PM on July 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


Santa Muerte, aka Nuestra Señora de la Santa Muerte (Our Lady of the Holy Death, or just Holy Death), a female folk saint venerated primarily in Mexico and the Southwestern United States. A personification of death, she is associated with healing, protection, and safe delivery to the afterlife by her devotees. Both are aspects of religion, tying back to the cryptic episode title (Church in Ruins - as in some specific church has fallen, or a church that is born of/ survives/ thrives in ruin).

She's also kind of the patron saint of narcotraficantes, and there was an "idol" of her in Caspere's house very early on.

Also, Ani's sister is Athena. Ani is Antigone. Not that I actually know much about Greek mythology

You may know more than their father, who mentioned that he named Athena after the goddess of love, but that's actually Aphrodite. At this point, I don't know if the writing is actually that dumb, or if they're just trying to make that character seem dumb. After a whole season of pretty much every line being a cliche existential/ontological polemic, it's really hard to tell.
posted by LionIndex at 12:55 PM on July 28, 2015 [5 favorites]


Ah, Ani was pretending to be Athena. Thanks! (And interesting to hear about the writing.)

starman: Frank's son would rather watch Friends than interact with him.. ouch

This came after his "it kills people" comment about Frank showing him a model for Spirit, the stealth bomber that could carry "80 smart bombs" as Frank boasted. His son shunned the violence that is to some degree inherent in Frank (going back to the opening scene where Ray told Frank that he didn't make Frank kill anyone). Friends is the ever-present feel-good sitcom.

And then that's paired with Frank's talk with the son of Stan, where a kid he just met finds enough comfort in his words to turn to him for a hug. Frank has had a pretty sharp about-face, turning from his earlier comments about adoption meaning you're taking on someone else's problems (through their kid).

Anyway, by not telling Ray's kid about his likely father (who didn't look much like the kid, either*), you're saving a kid from learning that they're the product of rape, which is a pretty heavy thing to deal with at any age. I'm not sure when is the best time to drop that on a kid, but he seems a bit young and fragile at the moment. It also gives Ray a glimmer of hope that he's still connected, and even if he pushes the kid away now, the kid could grow up and seek him out later.

* but the guy in jail apparently has mental issues and says he apparently has "done a lot of things" he has forgotten about, so it's not too much of a stretch to imagine that some corrupt DNA analysis person or firm has pinned a bunch of unsolved crimes on the guy as a way of cleaning some records for another person, or multiple people. His reaction could be to the stories he's heard, possibly from the folks who set him up to take the fall for others. Who knows, he could be taking the fall to pay off debts or get money for his family.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:57 PM on July 28, 2015 [4 favorites]


LionIndex: At this point, I don't know if the writing is actually that dumb, or if they're just trying to make that character seem dumb. After a whole season of pretty much every line being a cliche existential/ontological polemic, it's really hard to tell.

I feel the same way - there are some interesting little twists in the characters, but most play out as straight cliches or the product of messy writing, instead of a clever spin on things.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:58 PM on July 28, 2015


Does Frank seriously not go to visit Stan's family until two and a half months or three months after he dies? Really? They show up three months later and drop off a bag of cash at that point?
posted by LionIndex at 1:01 PM on July 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


LionIndex: “You may know more than their father, who mentioned that he named Athena after the goddess of love, but that's actually Aphrodite. At this point, I don't know if the writing is actually that dumb, or if they're just trying to make that character seem dumb. After a whole season of pretty much every line being a cliche existential/ontological polemic, it's really hard to tell.”

I personally don't think the writing is "that dumb," but for what it's worth, if they're trying to make a character sound dumb, it isn't Athena and Antigone's father, because he pretty clearly didn't say he named her after "the goddess of love."

Antigone Bezzerides: "You talk to Athena?"
Elliot Bezzerides: "A few days ago, actually. She seems good. Clear eye, has a job."
Antigone Bezzerides: "You talk to her that much? Do you know what her job is?"
Elliot Bezzerides: "Something on the internet. Web camera performances, she said. Athena, goddess of love. I won't go near computers, you understand."
Antigone Bezzerides: "She's doing porn."
Elliot Bezzerides: "Well, what exactly is porn?"


In context, Elliot Bezzerides is obviously not waxing poetic about the mythic qualities of his daughter and congratulating himself for naming her well. He's just mentioning the name of her webcam act.

So the possibilities are that either Athena Bezzerides is clueless enough about her namesake that she really thinks Athena is the goddess of love – possible, I don't think we know her well enough to say – or she really doesn't care, and picked the name because that's just the kind of name a hippy doing a webcam thing would probably pick (or have picked for her) without thinking too hard about it.

I thought it was a rather wry little joke about the intersection between the names of the children of self-important faux-spiritual hippies and exploitatively crass webcam porn names. But then, maybe I'm seeing things that aren't there.
posted by koeselitz at 1:24 PM on July 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


Point taken, that's certainly possible. When hearing the line, I thought it was more of a statement by Elliot about how ironic it is that she should start doing porn given that he named her after the goddess of love, but the line is ambiguous.
posted by LionIndex at 1:33 PM on July 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, part of the trouble is that Elliot is a damned difficult character to parse. Sometimes I feel like he's just a weird, wild and wooly hippy-dippy dude given to such random utterances, in which case I guess it'd make sense for him to say that in the middle of a thought. Other times I get the sense that there's something really cynical under all that. Not entirely sure. Pretty sure we'll have to get at least some closure on that as part of the revelations about Ani's childhood and its relation to the Chessani / plastic surgeon nexus, though.
posted by koeselitz at 1:42 PM on July 28, 2015


but the guy in jail apparently has mental issues and says he apparently has "done a lot of things" he has forgotten about

My take on that was he was repeating a line his defense lawyer fed him and that "I don't even remember cause mental illness!" was going to be the general defense. He even said it kind of sarcastically.
posted by sideshow at 2:09 PM on July 28, 2015


The more I think about it, the more I think that Paul's war buddy/lover Miguel from Black Mountain might be involved. When we saw them out at the race track, they were getting surveilled by Detective Dixon, which I assumed meant he was investigating his new partner Paul, but what if he was just there to follow Miguel?

As I mentioned previously, Miguel said he was getting work as an electrician, which could mean he was working on the movie set, which means he could've come into contact with Caspere or Caspere's assistant, which means he could've heard about the blue diamonds. Since we know Paul's unit was no stranger to heists in the Middle East, Miguel could've continued his heist work here, either as a solo mission or with the assistant or with one of the gangs, which seem to be pretty okay with the kind of torture that Caspere underwent. If he worked on the set, he would've had access to the set vehicle used to dump Caspere's body and the kind of weird post apocalyptic mask worn by the person who torched the car before the homeless encampment chase.

How everyone came to hear about or have the blue diamonds I'm not sure about, but my guess is maybe Tasha, Vera, Stan, Caspere's assistant, and Miguel all had knowledge of them and were on various sides vying to get them from Caspere, with Burris, Dixon, and the Mayor doing cover-up because the blue diamonds were stolen by cops during the riot.
posted by bluecore at 3:59 PM on July 28, 2015


Was the dead Mexican girl dumped at the movie set?
posted by radioamy at 4:04 PM on July 28, 2015


radioamy: Was the dead Mexican girl dumped at the movie set?

I'm not sure-- it looked like she was killed at some kind of cement mixing plant, but the movie set was at a pretty industrial area with piles of gravel, so it's possible but wasn't explicitly pointed out to be as such.
posted by bluecore at 4:23 PM on July 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


The only thing I can figure is that they filmed a great, a wonderful. a marvelous TD2, but then noticed that they could make television history by taking all the sweepings from the cutting room floor (modulo for digital) of all the terrible, unworkable, badly done scenes and putting them out as season 2.

Despite all the criticism, am I the only one that sees something terrific lurking behind the horrendous detritus we've been suffering through?
posted by Chitownfats at 10:34 AM on July 29, 2015


No, I think a lot of my issues with this season are just moments where things are so jarringly ridiculous that it messes with my suspension of disbelief, but I can see where a good show exists in there somewhere. My list of such items grows ever longer. I've actually enjoyed Frank's speeches lately, since they're generally on point and relevant to the topic at hand, where they didn't feel that way earlier in the season. But the show seems to be working from a few base premises that feel odd to me, and seems to be a pastiche of elements from other works that haven't been fully integrated. This season is some weird mish-mash of Mulholland Drive, Twin Peaks, No Country For Old Men, Eyes Wide Shut, and Chinatown that just hasn't been left in the oven long enough for all the alcohol to burn off (I might be mixing metaphors there, but I like to burn my bridges when I come to them). Crazy dream sequences! Sex parties of the Rich and Famous! Land values deprecated in advance of a major deal! "Mexicans"! And the writing just chews the scenery by making every little conversation some major discussion about the meaning of life, and I don't see every conversation involving cops and gangsters working out that way - sometimes you just say you're hungry and want to get a taco.
posted by LionIndex at 1:04 PM on July 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


Season 2 is like somebody put a perfectly good cheeseburger in a blender.
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:25 PM on July 29, 2015 [7 favorites]


I like this cheeseburger-blender analogy because it consistent with my view that it remains a first-rate show by virtue of its ingredients.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 1:34 PM on July 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think I found a lump.
posted by Artw at 1:41 PM on July 29, 2015


I've liked this season for the most part but it does feel like they only did one draft.
posted by pseudodionysus at 3:34 PM on July 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


sometimes you just say you're hungry and want to get a taco

Absolutely agree that for a show based in modern LA they are majorly lacking in tacos.
posted by dogwalker at 3:51 PM on July 29, 2015


Taco reference, if needed.
posted by LionIndex at 5:23 PM on July 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


A woman drowning on dry land.
Serious paternity vibes in this one: fathers, sons, legacies, families. We could contrast the massive difference between the sex parties, and the troubles each character has with family.
For a show that pays a lot of attention to lighting, framing,cinematography - that shot inside the bus is very interesting. There's cameras everywhere.

Athens is LA with a past.

More Santa Muerte.
The house is in a semi-Mission style. And the guards shouldn't smoke: ruins the night vision. Paul's got a nice chest-high grip ("moving!"), like he's still in the sandbox.

The Oilman! Oil was a big fixture in background of the first season, is the hidden lifeblood of California
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:35 PM on July 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


So Justin Lin directed two episodes and then every other episode has been a different director, could that be why it's so disjointed? Also o notice slow episodes have a second writer.
posted by Artw at 8:19 AM on July 30, 2015


As an aside Cary Fukunaga (Director of S1) netflix film looks harsh as hell
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:08 AM on July 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


So Justin Lin directed two episodes and then every other episode has been a different director, could that be why it's so disjointed? Also o notice slow episodes have a second writer.

Most TV shows have different directors every episode. S1 of TD had one director, which was very unusual but costly.

And imo, the best eps of this season are the ones with the second writer.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 6:41 PM on July 30, 2015


A few of my gripes:

Now that they have their precious evidence with signatures, what are they going to do with it? It's fruit of the poisonous tree, obtained super-illegally, so it's impermissible in court. It can't be used to actually get any legal justice. What was the endgame of all this? What is the endgame in general of their secret investigation thing?

Has Ani never done any undercover work? How could she have botched that operation so thoroughly? It's a standard old-man-sex-party, nothing so crazy going on that she couldn't avoid violence and a death. How did she know that the missing girl didn't WANT to be there? How did she jump to rescue-at-all-costs-blow-my-cover-panic, even on drugs? Why couldn't she just chill out in a bathroom corner and pretend to be passed out or whatever? Now their entire operation is fucked because she made a bloody mess of a perfectly normal (well, for some values of normal) prostitution gig.

What the hell kind of molly is that? (Is aerosolized molly a thing?) That drug has never produced any of those reactions in the history of anyone taking it. I thought "OK, this is actually some sort of qualuude type thing," but then Ani still thought it was molly after all that?

This looks like delirious hack work. I think Nic P wrote all of it during a weeklong, sleepless, coke-and-tequila binge. Then declared it genius. And no one wanted to call him out on it.
posted by naju at 7:17 PM on July 30, 2015


Thinking things through a bit further - we've seen Rust Cohle keep his shit together very well during an intense undercover situation. It sucks that Ani, who is supposed to be similarly smart and great under pressure, ends up having a flashback to sexual assault as a prelude to her botching her own, much-less-intense undercover situation completely. I hate that the victimization trope was played with Ani and explains her going off the rails here. The takeaway is that a man (like Rust) wouldn't have had this problem and would have stayed a composed professional.
posted by naju at 8:12 PM on July 30, 2015 [6 favorites]


I wonder if next episode will pull out the dumbness and futility of their plan like its a revelation.
posted by Artw at 8:43 PM on July 30, 2015


naju: The takeaway is that a man (like Rust) wouldn't have had this problem and would have stayed a composed professional.

That wasn't the takeaway for me from this at all, but I also don't think Ani botched it as badly as you're seeing it. I found it to be a pretty intense sequence (more intense than season 1, to be honest-- Cohle should've just called for backup at that maze) especially when you add in the unexpected drug dosing. I don't know if aerosolized molly, ecstasy (are they the same?), or GHB are a thing, but I was totally willing to suspend my disbelief about it as a thing that exists at this surreal orgy and would fuck up an undercover officer's judgment.

Yeah, I think there was some bad writing setting up what their plan was and what they hoped to accomplish, and I think it was crazy convenient they keep paperwork at their surreal rich person orgy and the missing girl happened to show up, but I'll also say that at a certain point in season one they crossed from doing police work to just getting justice extra-legally, so maybe that's the direction they'll head in the next episode? It was much easier to make this clear in season one (we need to stop a serial killer) than this season, where we don't really care about who killed Caspere and there are so many threads to sort out. All that being said, finding the missing girl is most likely going expose how the blue diamonds tie into the Caspere, which will crack open the case, so basically Ani just solved the whole case at the cost of one stabbed thug that was choking her, so not really botched I'd argue.
posted by bluecore at 9:01 PM on July 30, 2015


Yeah, I really didn't think Bezzarides screwed anything up, and although it seems clear she'll be dealing with fallout from killing someone, in both cases where she used her weapon she was being grabbed and/or detained against her will; both of those guys used force on her, and when someone uses force on a drugged person, yeah, knives are justified. I'm still not sure they didn't have a warrant - but if they didn't, I'm not sure this whole operation is under a legal rubric anyway? DA Barksdale was, after all, the one who suggested to Bezzarides that she should dangle sex in front of Ray to get him to admit he's dirty, over the protests of another state official who felt that was highly unethical. I'm not really sure a court case is her goal here; I doubt this was ever likely to go to trail. And it certainly isn't Frank's goal - Frank is, after all, a big part of it at this point, and I feel like there'll be a sharing of knowledge between him and Ray.

And even Ray - well, at this point he seems to care very little about the law when it comes to pursuit of the truth.
posted by koeselitz at 9:38 PM on July 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


Recall that Rusty had two years experience as an undercover narcotics agent vs Ani. Of course he could function well on drugs. He had lots and lots of practice dealing with all of that. In addition, the sex party was a situation that was pretty much designed to set all of Ani's inner alarm bells off. So we can't really measure her performance against Rusty's.

In terms of Ani's name, Antigone was one of the daughters of Oedipus, but also the play bearing her name is the final play in the Oedipal Cycle. Both of her brothers die warring against each other for control of Thebes, which then goes to Creon. Creon decrees that one brother be buried while the other be left without funerary rites. Antigone is the only one who dares violates Creon's edict and goes to bury her brother in secret. When the truth is revealed, Creon sentences her to be buried alive, but once entombed rather than slowly die, she hangs herself. (Creon learns his lesson but not before his son commits suicide over Antigone's dead body.) Thus as a character Antigone has issues with authority (Creon) and is completely devoted to justice, even for the dead. The name is pretty spot on with her so much so I'm surprised her father hasn't made a comment about it.
posted by miss-lapin at 2:17 AM on July 31, 2015 [2 favorites]


The only thing I can figure is that they filmed a great, a wonderful. a marvelous TD2, but then noticed that they could make television history by taking all the sweepings from the cutting room floor (modulo for digital) of all the terrible, unworkable, badly done scenes and putting them out as season 2.

To me it's felt more like Nic Pizzolatto wrote a perfectly good 3 or 4 episode show and couldn't figure out how to turn it into a full 8 episodes so just added a shitload of filler and time-wasting in the guise of slow-burn character development to the front half. Now that it's gotten going a little bit, there's some compelling stuff, but it felt like there was a point in episode 2 where someone said, "shit, uh, there's sort of a parents-and-children theme going here, let's meet everyone's parents!"
posted by Copronymus at 3:37 PM on July 31, 2015


Evidentiary rules of admissibility are decided by the supreme court of the writers room in this story.
posted by humanfont at 4:47 PM on July 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


I am so expecting them to pull out "stab murder burglary evidence is inadmissible" like its a surprise to us at some point.
posted by Artw at 6:24 PM on July 31, 2015 [2 favorites]


I mean, it's almost a given that it will be a surprise to Velcoro.

Right now, my main hope is that Vince Vaughn's character is justified with some epic vengeance in the last two episodes, so many they'll try to take the evidence to DA Barksdale and she'll balk at it. Then Velcoro convinces Ani and Paul to take it to Frank, who will serve some justice or die trying. Then all of the screen time spent with him won't be totally in vain.
posted by dogwalker at 12:36 AM on August 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


People really think this is going to end in a courtroom? Even season 1 didn't do that, though I guess it's possible. Maybe I'll end up eating my hat on this one, but I don't think that's likely.
posted by koeselitz at 1:16 AM on August 1, 2015


I mean - keep in mind, Season 1 actually ended with them utterly failing to catch any of the really important bad guys, and instead finding a crazy and suitably creepy scapegoat to take down instead. Yeah, it was a successful misdirect, so people forget it, but a big chunk of the theme was that truth is not exactly decided by rules of evidentiary admissibility. Every time we see Velcoro in action, I feel like it's hammered home that this is not a man who's going to succeed in bringing anyone to justice within the limits of the law - particularly not in a world where even our S1 protagonists failed at that.
posted by koeselitz at 1:21 AM on August 1, 2015 [6 favorites]


Season 1 actually ended with them utterly failing to catch any of the really important bad guys, and instead finding a crazy and suitably creepy scapegoat to take down instead.

Who were the really important bad guys they failed to catch? They eventually caught (well, killed) the three guys who were kidnapping kids and ritualistically killing people.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 5:35 AM on August 1, 2015


Well, supposedly there was a vast murky conspiracy that extended beyond that, though I am hazy in how active it was.
posted by Artw at 6:54 AM on August 1, 2015


(Suspect we're going to get a lot of additional murky conspiracy action before this one is out.)
posted by Artw at 6:55 AM on August 1, 2015


People really think this is going to end in a courtroom?

This is interesting to me for how the characters would answer rather than the viewing audience. After the undercover mission, Ani probably realises it won't, but before then it still felt to me like she was looking for an arrest. Paul doesn't seem to give a shit, seems like he's just there to do as told. Velcoro KNOWS this case will end outside the law but is super burnt out on that system and really doesn't want that right now. Frank obviously doesn't want it in court, the alternative to him delivering the vengeance is likely his death, which to me doesn't really justify all of the screentime he had this season.
posted by dogwalker at 8:18 AM on August 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


I don't know if it'd ever go to court...but since the DA "got the band back together" you'd think they'd be inclined to operate in an obstensibly legal manner.
posted by radioamy at 1:55 PM on August 1, 2015


Who were the really important bad guys they failed to catch?

They at most accounted for 3 or 4 of the 5 guys that were in on every ritual, assuming that the same 5 guys did it every time, which I don't find likely. Both the meth cooks (although I think maybe only Gasmask Underpants into the real nasty stuff; his brother's kind of a maybe), Childress, and then Rev. Tuttle gets taken out by his own team after the video gets stolen. Who killed Tuttle though? By that point Childress was the only one left, and I don't see him having the mental capacity to pull off something like that. Also, one of the prison guards involved in the one prisoner "committing suicide" was named Childress; I'd kind of assume there's a whole bunch of guys out there that were never brought in, although the man with the green ears may have been the only one still actively doing anything.

It sucks that Ani, who is supposed to be similarly smart and great under pressure, ends up having a flashback to sexual assault as a prelude to her botching her own, much-less-intense undercover situation completely.

I haven't gotten the impression that any of the detectives this season are the least bit competent at anything involving detective work, with the possible exception of Dixon. Not that it didn't happen, but I'm having a hard time thinking of anything they've actually figured out so far, rather than just stumbled across.
posted by LionIndex at 11:00 AM on August 2, 2015


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