True Detective: Black Maps and Motel Rooms
August 3, 2015 7:23 AM - Season 2, Episode 7 - Subscribe

Ray, Ani and Paul take precautionary measures to elude detection and untangle a dark mystery; Frank deals with the fallout of his betrayal.
posted by Brandon Blatcher (147 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Damn.

I am a little pissed that what got Paul killed was his being in the closet. I get it, I get it, secrets and lies and all that shit. But I thought we were done making gay characters suffer for being closeted, TV.
posted by lydhre at 7:26 AM on August 3, 2015 [6 favorites]


This was the first episode where I was able to forget that Frank Semyon was Vince Vaughn and get lost in the scene. I thought he did a great job. I also thought the ending interactions between Velcoro and Bezzerides were written well, well-acted, and touching, even kind of believable.

I was sad to see Paul go, but then again I happen to know there's a little Woodrugh on the way. I guess that's the way the whole darned human comedy keeps perpetuatin' itself...
posted by tempestuoso at 7:37 AM on August 3, 2015 [11 favorites]


lydhre, I hear you, but somehow his own struggle seems ... dated? When the unnamed gunman said "if you were honest, we wouldn't have anything on you," it wasn't delivered with any scorn for who Paul is (was), but it felt more like a question of "why did even feel you needed to hide this?"

I know it's not that simple, and I may well be reading into that scene, but I feel like Paul's internal struggle was greater than any grief he would have dealt with elsewhere (in this show universe).
posted by filthy light thief at 7:37 AM on August 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Did Paul actually serve a purpose to the plot?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:37 AM on August 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


Holy cats, that EW recap is unreadable. Television Without Pity's bankrupt legacy of toothless riffing lurches onward...
posted by Ian A.T. at 7:39 AM on August 3, 2015


Brandon Blatcher - I keep trying to find some evidence that Paul's storyline had a purpose...and I'm coming up with nothing. Everything he did could have been cut or done by another character.
posted by radioamy at 7:40 AM on August 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


If nothing else, Paul added some tangle to the jurisdictional issues that were at play early on in the show, making the case harder to work as more parties had official stake in the sham investigation. And in most cases, you can simplify a story by combining characters down to a bare minimum, but that is usually a choice in story telling and world-making. Is everyone 100% critical to the plot, or do some characters serve as semi-McGuffins, adding a bit here and there, along with some clutter to the story to add confusion about what's important in the long run?

One question: when Ani's old partner says : "three in one day, that's got to be a record," what does he mean? 1 - the harassment issue (that was earlier this day, right?), and 2 - getting ID'd for killing a security guard. Were those the first two, and what was the third?
posted by filthy light thief at 7:43 AM on August 3, 2015


Paul served a purpose (e.g. discovering Caspere, killing people in the shoot-out, finding the documents) but it's hard to argue that he was necessary, as others could have done those things. I think his purpose ultimately was sacrificial cow.

The 3 in one day was hugs, I think.
posted by tempestuoso at 7:44 AM on August 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


I keep trying to find some evidence that Paul's storyline had a purpose...

Something thematic about the danger of keeping of secrets and how that can control you? Especially when you don't have to?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:45 AM on August 3, 2015


Did he actually serve a purpose to the plot?

He found Caspere's body, which an extra could have done. He was helpful during the shootout, which an extra could have done. He was helpful at finding those documents in the police station, which Velcoro or Bezzerides could have done with a laptop. So... no.
posted by gatorae at 7:45 AM on August 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


Hah. Thanks, tempestuoso.

When the spiritual man says "god damn everything," you know things are bad. (I'm still conflicted: how involved was Ani's dad? Is he still involved?)
posted by filthy light thief at 7:45 AM on August 3, 2015


filthy light thief - I'm also not sure what to think about Ani's dad.

And yes I think the 3 means hugs.
posted by radioamy at 7:54 AM on August 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


You know what's interesting? Two of the main characters, Ani and Frank, haven't met (right?). I wonder if that will happen in the last episode.
posted by radioamy at 7:55 AM on August 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Why is Frank a main character again? He's a true detective of sorts?

In my head, this season was great, with just Ray and a darker Ani as the main stars.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:58 AM on August 3, 2015


Also, I was not totally surprised that Ani and Ray did the deed, but I was disappointed. Could we for once on TV have a pairing of hetero opposite-sex characters who manage to keep their clothes on around each other?
posted by radioamy at 8:01 AM on August 3, 2015 [16 favorites]


filthy light thief, I think the "three in one day" refers to hugs. Her sister, her father, and her partner all hug her which for Ani is... unusual to say the least.
posted by lydhre at 8:11 AM on August 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


What's worse is that the unnamed gunman is his ex-lover from the mercenary army. I got no scorn either, just sadness, but I admit I still want to know why they wrote Paul as so deeply closeted that he'd knowingly put himself in that kind of a situation. He's "trying all wrong" to be a good man, I get it, but like you said: it's feels dated for his cognitive dissonance to be so overpowering.
posted by lydhre at 8:14 AM on August 3, 2015


Also, I was not totally surprised that Ani and Ray did the deed, but I was disappointed. Could we for once on TV have a pairing of hetero opposite-sex characters who manage to keep their clothes on around each other?

I hear ya, but Ani and Ray make a certain amount of sense to me, so I'm willing to forgive that. Both are in dark places, on the run and probably their best way out is by killing lots of people and if they do that, they'll never be out. Turning to each other in that situation, near the end and not at the beginning works.

I did like the fact that the missing girl wasn't missing and was pissed she was kidnapped, not rescued.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:21 AM on August 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


After Burris shoots Paul, I'm fairly sure the music that plays (minor piano chords) is the same music that plays at the end of Season One, Ep. 7, when we first see the scars on Errol Childress' face. Could just be a callback to the first season (since the revelation of the main killer is done at the same point in both seasons it creates a nice bit of symmetry), but since there's still a cult angle happening that hasn't been developed too much, I'm still holding out hope for some unadulturated Yellow King action in the finale.
posted by donatella at 8:27 AM on August 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Sorry, this show not only jumped the shark, but the the entire San Jose hockey team also looked up and went, "WTF, eh?"

But damn it, I'll watch the last episode, anyway, because I want to see Vince Vaughn settle all the family business and do an impression of Liam Neeson as a guy with a particular set of skills.

The Atlantic nails it:

But let me rewind to a little earlier in that particular storyline to unpack the torrent of wildly implausible and thoroughly unnecessary narrative detail that was unleashed upon viewers tonight. Please correct me if I’m wrong, guys, but as I understood it:

Woodrugh was set up by his war (and bed) buddy, who hooked up with him “on orders” as part of a blackmail scheme by his old mercenary outfit, Black Mountain, which wanted to make sure that he “kept confidentiality” in light of the damaging (but never described) news stories that have been circulating about the company. But coincidentally, Black Mountain has now re-branded as Ares Security, a company whose only client is the Catalyst Group, which has been up to its eyeballs in the crooked land deals and sex parties Woodrugh has spent the whole season investigating. Still more coincidentally, Teague Dixon, Ray Velcoro’s erstwhile partner and a halfhearted task force member, was tailing Woodrugh for his own, individual blackmail scheme and photographed him with said old war buddy. After Dixon died during the episode four bloodbath, Police Chief Holloway, by yet another “happy coincidence,” found the photos Dixon had taken of Woodrugh. Still later, Holloway and assorted Catalyst Group muckety-mucks were at the sex party from which Woodrugh and Velcoro stole the land deal contracts. So now Holloway shows up with Ares Security (again, formerly Black Mountain; sole current client: Catalyst) to use the photos to make Woodrugh return the contracts.

I struggle to think of any time I’ve witnessed a more remarkably compressed presentation of convoluted (and completely uninteresting) plot details on the big screen or the small.

posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:36 AM on August 3, 2015 [9 favorites]


That Atlantic recap seems wrong on almost all counts, as far as I can tell.
posted by koeselitz at 8:42 AM on August 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


I mean: Paul's lover dude did not, as far as I can tell, set him up for blackmail by Black Mountain. I don't think we've seen any evidence of that, and it doesn't seem likely given what's happened thus far. I don't think we know that Teague Dixon was hoping to blackmail Paul, either.
posted by koeselitz at 8:47 AM on August 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oh, and apparently nobody at HBO knows how digital copies of files work.

"I want to destroy all copies of those photos."
"We fucking texted them to you. They're in the cloud, dude. Ask Jennifer Lawrence how that worked out for her."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:00 AM on August 3, 2015 [10 favorites]


That Atlantic recap seems wrong on almost all counts, as far as I can tell.

How so?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:00 AM on August 3, 2015


The AV Club recap is making me suspicious of Ani's partner and Frank's wife. There have been enough twists, might as well throw those in.

That said, I still like Jordan. It's rare in these types of shows that the wife of the bad guy knows (or lets herself know) what her husband is doing. Sorta refreshing here.
posted by radioamy at 9:04 AM on August 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


Also, I was not totally surprised that Ani and Ray did the deed, but I was disappointed.

I wasn't disappointed because it seemed like they went into it in a very melancholy, a little light before the end of the tunnel sort of way. They both must realize that they both are screwed even if things go shocking well and they bring down the vast conspiracy. Ani is wanted on charges of murder and she has no real defense no matter how things go. She falsified her way into a party, willingly took drugs and killed a guy (and severely hurt another) while kidnapping a woman who was there willingly. She (I think) is still a cop, but most certainly had no authority to do any of that. And as far as I can tell she had no justification for killing the security guard other than not being found out as being at the party illegally. Ditto with the attack on the oil guy - his propositioning her while she was pretending to be a prostitute. So even if they blow the lid off of the diamond/rail conspiracies, she still goes to jail.

Ray's outcomes aren't as dramatically bad, but nothing good will happen for him. First, he is a bad guy - so blowing the lid off of anything doesn't really help his cause - he just becomes unemployable either as a cop or a thug. Plus, he has the assistant DA murder rap to contend with. It is not as cut and dry as Ani's case - at least he didn't really do it - but even if he gets off the lingering suspicions will remain.

So there night together seemed okay two kindred doomed spirits recognising one another and opening up a little bit.
posted by rtimmel at 9:23 AM on August 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


What I can’t figure out with this season is why certain things have been depicted, and other things have been ignored, especially in the Frank storyline. I could have used less of Frank’s musings about water stains and adoption in favor of a scene that made Stan into a character whose death we felt.

I could have used fewer silent staring contests and instead dramatized a scene between Frank and whoever connected him to this episode’s diamond dealers (Abner Erman?). His entire goal is getting his money back. Why skip the step that puts him in touch with the guys who will help get his money back?

And I guess Frank controlled a waste disposal company that poisoned the future rail corridor? And apparently the guy who ran the company was a teetotaler who died in a drunk-driving accident, off camera, again according to Frank? I wouldn’t have minded seeing any of that dramatized instead of Velcoro’s air-drumming coke binge.

It feels like show doesn’t know how to direct (and misdirect) our attention effectively.
posted by reclusive_thousandaire at 9:41 AM on August 3, 2015 [7 favorites]


Reading the AVClub recap, I realize that I've totally lost track of the plot in this mess.
posted by octothorpe at 10:03 AM on August 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


It feels like show doesn’t know how to direct (and misdirect) our attention effectively.

No, the two second screenshot showing Ani was wanted for murder totally got the point across.

It's a combination of overwrought writing, bad direction and terrible editing. Thought to be fair, by the time it got to the editor there just might not have been much to save.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:05 AM on August 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


Reading the AVClub recap, I realize that I've totally lost track of the plot in this mess.

Haven't read it yet, but watching last night I totally felt like I could not put the pieces together anymore. I don't know if it's my middle aged brain or the writing, but in general I feel like the problem was that all of the most pivotal people involved in the actual crime(s) also had the absolute least screen time. So I hear names but have no faces to put with them, because they haven't been seen enough for me to get the names connected.
posted by dnash at 10:17 AM on August 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


One thing to probably keep in mind is that misdirection and confusion seem to be an intentional theme. It doesn't make much sense to complain that a show is impossible to keep track of when it's trying its hardest to be impossible to keep track of. Whether there's anything else there is a question, though. Still, I like the idea of a show that tangles everything as much as possible.
posted by koeselitz at 10:20 AM on August 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


The second half of this season, while not perfect, has been so much better than the first. The first half actually seems like a parody of appointment television for smart grownups, but given what I know of Pizzolato's personality and the production history of S2 that may be too charitable.

It's like season 1 is a pretentious modern cop procedural, and season 2 is a fairly competent neo-noir that wears its inspirations on its sleeve.
posted by codacorolla at 10:26 AM on August 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


reclusive_thousandaire: “And I guess Frank controlled a waste disposal company that poisoned the future rail corridor? And apparently the guy who ran the company was a teetotaler who died in a drunk-driving accident, off camera, again according to Frank? I wouldn’t have minded seeing any of that dramatized instead of Velcoro’s air-drumming coke binge.”

Well, as far as the "poisoning" goes, the whole point of the scam is that the land was never poisoned in the first place. It was just declared poisonous by a crooked inspector, and then "cleaned up" by Frank's waste disposal company, which was really just a shell. I presume the manager was gotten rid of to cover all that up more effectively.
posted by koeselitz at 10:31 AM on August 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Apparently there really is a network of tunnels under downtown L.A. Surprisingly, this is first time I think I've seen them appear in fiction.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 10:32 AM on August 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


Did Paul actually serve a purpose to the plot?

He's the one major character able to father children and show that he has the motivation and capability to be a decent, caring father. Every other character either: can't have kids, is or has been a horrible parent, would be a horrible parent, or is the product of incredibly horrible parenting to the extent of being unable to function as one.

To the great extent that the relationship between parent and child has been explored in the series, Paul probably serves that one purpose, at least.

Also, he was a trained mercenary and a reasonable character to have participate in a shoot-out with the meth lab folks.

The AV Club recap is making me suspicious of Ani's partner and Frank's wife.

She's had plenty of opportunities to have him offed. Certainly, there was no way Osip would allow Frank to keep running the clubs after their meeting, had she first told him about Frank killing Blake. Osip asks Frank point-blank about Blake at their meeting, and would have known if Frank was lying. If she is crooked and is telling Osip everything, then Osip basically let Frank burn the clubs to the ground and walk away with the cash. Doesn't make sense to me.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 10:41 AM on August 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


koeselitz: It doesn't make much sense to complain that a show is impossible to keep track of when it's trying its hardest to be impossible to keep track of. Whether there's anything else there is a question, though. Still, I like the idea of a show that tangles everything as much as possible.

There are a few layers in this tangle. The first is the reality: there is a complex 15-cup game of the ancient con of cups and balls with shell companies, land holdings, and shady dealings that is an integral part of this story. Then there are the double and triple crossings of Frank and his various notorious associates, with affiliations spanning decades and continents, pulling in half the cast, or at least most notable people in positions of power. There's the initial murder, whose relationship to all this is still unclear, and the personal motivations of the three main law enforcement folks (Ray, Ani and Paul). But on top of all that, the story is told in such a way as to be chock-a-block full of McGuffins, Red Herrings and Chekhov's Guns.

It's neo-noir, filtered through someone's vision of a gritty, urban Twin Peaks, except that someone isn't David Lynch or Mark Frost.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:42 AM on August 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


a lungful of dragon - eh I don't really see Paul being integral to any of that. Yeah he knocked up his girlfriend, but we don't know if he'd be a good parent. He didn't exactly have a great role model. And while I agree that he's good with a gun, it's not like he made some one-in-a-million shot that was super crucial to the plot.
posted by radioamy at 10:48 AM on August 3, 2015


She's had plenty of opportunities to have him offed. Certainly, there was no way Osip would allow Frank to keep running the clubs after their meeting, had she first told him about Frank killing Blake. Osip asks Frank point-blank about Blake at their meeting, and would have known if Frank was lying. If she is crooked and is telling Osip everything, then Osip basically let Frank burn the clubs to the ground and walk away with the cash. Doesn't make sense to me.

She could have been playing both sides of the con. If Frank succeeds in stealing the diamonds then she either never lets him know and they escape, or he finds out and she uses her trust to kill him and escape with the money. If Frank is unsuccessful then she ends up on the right side of the con and takes over whatever remains of his criminal empire. The double crossing female confidant is a noir trope that they haven't hit on yet.
posted by codacorolla at 10:49 AM on August 3, 2015


The double crossing female confidant is a noir trope that they haven't hit on yet.

To me, it would suddenly change her character into something it hasn't been all season. Usually there are hints that go along with the femme fatale trope, at least in the hardboiled pulp detective novels I've read — like, you could go back and re-read it and it makes sense. If that retrofitting happens here, that would be some horrible writing.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 11:04 AM on August 3, 2015


Paul didn't get killed because he was a closeted homosexual. He got killed because he was paying too much attention to his phone instead of his surroundings.
posted by LizBoBiz at 11:09 AM on August 3, 2015 [16 favorites]


If that retrofitting happens here, that would be some horrible writing.

Wellllll...
posted by codacorolla at 11:09 AM on August 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Paul didn't get killed because he was a closeted homosexual. He got killed because he was paying too much attention to his phone instead of his surroundings.

A powerful statement on humanity's inability to use hands free phones.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:31 AM on August 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'm still convinced that Ani's dad is the big key to the whole thing and has the biggest secrets yet to be revealed, if only because his silhouette is featured so early and so prominently in the opening credits for an apparently non-essential character.

I'm also still convinced that this season was written by a 14-year-old boy who was given a copy of the first season to watch and told, "write season 2."
posted by jbickers at 11:34 AM on August 3, 2015 [6 favorites]


No need to insult 14 year old boys like that.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:40 AM on August 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'm still convinced that Ani's dad is the big key to the whole thing and has the biggest secrets yet to be revealed, if only because his silhouette is featured so early and so prominently in the opening credits for an apparently non-essential character.

I sort of agree, but last season they had the developmentally disabled church-goer prominently in the credits, and his actual role was much smaller.
posted by codacorolla at 12:04 PM on August 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


codacorolla, my thoughts exactly. The opening credits are another layer of misdirection, last season and this one, and set the tone of the show (last one: religion played a significant role in the show; this time, much of who Ani is goes back the world of her father, past and present).
posted by filthy light thief at 12:36 PM on August 3, 2015


Slate has broken down the plot of the entire season into a (relatively) easy to follow article. It's an impressive piece of work. Once I started reading it, I got quickly amazed at how complex this series actually is, and not in a good way.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:48 PM on August 3, 2015 [11 favorites]


That Slate article is great.

Is it possible that the sad, guitar-playing singer at the bar has something to do with Caspare’s murder? Or the waitress with the scar on her face?

At this point, it does not seem so. One is just a waitress with a scar on her face. The other is just the inexplicably sad, guitar-playing singer.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 1:33 PM on August 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


Slate has broken down the plot of the entire season into a (relatively) easy to follow article. It's an impressive piece of work.

I don't care. No, I'm beyond caring. Caring was something that was slowly sucked out of me like hipster vampire, enthralled with their own ideas. I literally can not read another goddamn thing about this season's plot without gastric distress, which is still more pleasurable than thinking about this "plot".
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:36 PM on August 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


Is it really that hard to follow? I think the problem may be people who have given up on the show beyond hate-watching it, and are probably busy with another screen instead of the show they're watching.
posted by codacorolla at 1:56 PM on August 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


Wellllll...

Despite a slow start and some odd Mametian dialogue that could have been edited out, I am enjoying this season. But then I like the genre. I like noir being put up against a modernized vision of LA, inspired by Peoples, Ellroy and Chandler. And Farrell is easy on the eyes.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 2:03 PM on August 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


OK, I read the whole Slate rundown and I now I think that I'm even more confused.
posted by octothorpe at 2:05 PM on August 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


I find the show hard to follow because bad writing, laughable coincidences and out-of-character behavior keep yanking me out the the show. I say this as a person who enjoyed Season 1 as well as Pizzolatto's novel Gavelston.

I mean, quick count: the show doesn't know how digital files work (as Cool Papa Bell points out above). The show thinks that a multi-part newspaper story into Vinci corruption can be Velcoro-punched out of print. Frank's shopping list. Paul's fatal and out-of-character lack of situational awareness. Burris' clairvoyance about where to hide and when, knowing exactly which tunnel Paul was going to emerge from.
posted by reclusive_thousandaire at 2:05 PM on August 3, 2015 [7 favorites]


Is it really that hard to follow?

I'm following it just fine, but I read recaps and check out Reddit threads. I feel like if I didn't do that -- if I just dipped in once a week and then forgot about it until the next episode, I'd be a bit confused, sure.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 2:06 PM on August 3, 2015


Is it really that hard to follow?

Yes, but not so much from the actual plot mechanics, but the sheer number of uninteresting characters we're not given a whole lot of time with. Stan was in the background in a scene or two I think, Blake was background toadie etc, etc. Now the murders seem to the kids from the '92 robbery, and we've only one for a minute or two, back in episode three or four. Paul was completely expendable character was, didn't do much and you wonder what the fuck his purpose was, besides giving an actor some work.

Why is Ray alive? What was the point of the scene of him getting shot other than a fakeout that looked cool? There seems to be little meaning to the density, it's just there in very unentertaining ways.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:20 PM on August 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


Yes, but not so much from the actual plot mechanics, but the sheer number of uninteresting characters we're not given a whole lot of time with.

This.

Also there is so much mumbly dialogue.
posted by radioamy at 2:22 PM on August 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


I've now given up hope of understanding the plot - like every conversation with more than one name and I'm all who is that? I'd like to think I'm not going senile just yet - and I'm now watching to see Frank fuck shit up and possibly Ani stab someone again.

Also it's not good when a major character gets killed and you're (well I'm) going... 'who shot him? ... who the hell is that? And how did he know where he'd be?'
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:13 PM on August 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


I see reclusive_thousandaire 's already mentioned point 2 - so not just me then
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:15 PM on August 3, 2015


This show seems to assume that if someone gets two seconds screen time you'll remember their name and know who they are two episodes later when it turns out the entire thing hinges on them.
posted by Artw at 3:19 PM on August 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Is it really that hard to follow?

Well, it's certainly tiring and not very worthwhile to follow. Lots of random plot points that don't have much consequence.

It mistakes needless complication with being smart, and so has way too much going on expressed confusingly.

A lot of this should have been hacked out at the outline stage - I'm pretty sure at least one of the main characters could have been dumped without any loss.
posted by Artw at 3:22 PM on August 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


High point of this episode for me was the APB with WANTED FOR THE MURDER OF A NAMELESS MOOK written on it. Giving people names is too much screenwriting work I guess.
posted by Artw at 3:26 PM on August 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


Did Paul actually serve a purpose to the plot?

No.
posted by Artw at 3:27 PM on August 3, 2015


jbickers: "I'm also still convinced that this season was written by a 14-year-old boy who was given a copy of the first season to watch and told, 'write season 2.'"

And I'm still convinced that at least it's better-written than Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead. But I guess that's not saying a whole lot. Television is a wasteland, friends.
posted by koeselitz at 3:31 PM on August 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


I just remembered that I had a really hard time figuring out who the shadowy leader was in tunnel scene. I could tell the guy was black, but that was about it. It says a lot about a show when I can't even remember who someone is when they're ostensibly the only person of that race on the damn show.

All that said, I'm really curious how the final episode will go down.
posted by radioamy at 3:40 PM on August 3, 2015


Oh, had we seem that person before? I just assumed it was a random new character because there weren't enough running around.
posted by Artw at 3:47 PM on August 3, 2015


He was in at least the first four episodes – pretty sure he's been in more than that, even. He was Velcoro's old partner in the first one. Always in on Vinci PD discussions and such, close to Burris.
posted by koeselitz at 3:49 PM on August 3, 2015


It was Police Chief Holloway.... I had to look it up. He was also involved with the diamond thing Please don't ask me how.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:52 PM on August 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


Really not convinced this shows writing can be said to be better than any other shows, especially not that of Game of Thrones which manages to juggle an impressive number of characters while always being clear on their goals and motivations and what the stakes are. If anything is hidden on that show it is by intent, to be revealed later.

True Detective, on the other hand, leaves all of that as anybodies guess, so it just becomes a big muddle of noise.

Ensemble writing is hard, so I'd forgive some failures, but this thing is just technically inept. Nic Pezz simply does not have the skill to pull off whatever he was trying to do, but everyone was too excited by the nice direction on Season 1 to question if he had it in him.
posted by Artw at 3:54 PM on August 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


In terms of Paul being necessary because he both wants to be a father and is capable of having a child. Paul and Ray mirror one another to some degree. Ray agrees to absent himself from his son's life, essentially sacrificing actually being a father, in order to preserve the IDEA of him as his son's father. Paul does the same thing. He dies in order to protect who really is and thus will be absent from his son's life except as an idea. Thus both children will have a false idea of their instead of a reality.

Except, you know, Ray already covers that and more while Paul manages to have on facial expression so yeah pretty much Paul could easily be excised from the show thus giving breathing room to some characters that might have benefited from development (like say Frank's wife who is the only character I actually have any curiosity about in this mess).
posted by miss-lapin at 3:55 PM on August 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Wow, this thing really is a car wreck! Well, at at least it gave us a new ethnic-evil category: "He's Russian-Israeli."
posted by Chitownfats at 4:49 PM on August 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


European-looking.
posted by Artw at 4:52 PM on August 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


Artw: “Really not convinced this shows writing can be said to be better than any other shows, especially not that of Game of Thrones which manages to juggle an impressive number of characters while always being clear on their goals and motivations and what the stakes are. If anything is hidden on that show it is by intent, to be revealed later.”

Eh. I'm pretty bored by clear goals and motivations and stakes at this point. I'm really, really tired at this point of everything being telegraphed – close-up on this murder weapon! Long shot of the kid who's going to stab him in a few episodes! At least three conversations where any major plot point just happens to be mentioned, to make sure the audience gets it! If something is hidden by intent, it is hidden obviously, so people can say "ah, that's it!" when the prepackaged reveal is unveiled, and therefore can feel the sense of relief viewers feel when a thing that was intentionally hidden in plain sight suddenly becomes apparent, but without having to work at it and without having to confront messy ambiguity. GOT and TWD are "well-written" in the sense that they are absolutely certain to do all of these things carefully, hammering home all important points so that we're sure never to be in any doubt. They have large teams of writers, and by getting lots of eyes on any given story they make sure all the edges are sanded off and the viewing experience goes down easy.

I appreciate TD for not doing that, particularly in small things – not hammering me over the head with what it designates as important plot points and things I'll need to remember. I even like a labyrinthine plot, to be honest; I like The Saragossa Manuscript a lot for that reason (and a lot of other reasons, of course.)

I do know that there's a difference between not dumbing something down and actually producing something that's legitimately compelling. I'm not sure that TD2 is compelling yet. I'm kind of waiting to see where the last episode takes it. I didn't exactly love the latest episode, but I'm still making up my mind.

“Ensemble writing is hard, so I'd forgive some failures, but this thing is just technically inept. Nic Pezz simply does not have the skill to pull off whatever he was trying to do, but everyone was too excited by the nice direction on Season 1 to question if he had it in him.”

I would rather watch a show not use any of the standard techniques for ensemble writing. But still, it's hard to succeed when you throw out the rulebook. Some people have. We'll see where Nick Pizzolatto ends this one, I guess.
posted by koeselitz at 5:39 PM on August 3, 2015 [11 favorites]


Eh, no. What is going on is not that Nic P is cleverly ambiguous, what is going on is that Nic P is incompetent at storytelling. You need to have that competence before you try all the clever and ambiguous stuff, otherwise stuff you are hiding for reasons becomes muddled with bits where you have fucked up.
posted by Artw at 5:45 PM on August 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


Well, I can't see actual consistency errors anywhere, so I'm not entirely sure that he's "fucked up," except insofar as he appears to have lost a lot of his audience.
posted by koeselitz at 7:01 PM on August 3, 2015


I do appreciate that Pizzolatto tried something new this season, just don't think it worked.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:06 PM on August 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm not entirely sure that he's "fucked up,"

People are having to go online and read guides to the thing.
posted by Artw at 7:16 PM on August 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


It seemed like a whole lot of the resolutions of a lot of the loose ends to the cases were handled in two conversations: Ani's with the "missing person", and Frank with Blake, and a lot of the content of those is referring to what people who were barely, if ever, on screen did (Tascha, Stan, Ivar - raise your hand if you have a mental picture of Stan pre-eye loss or know what Ivar looks like). Blink and you miss a major plot point mentioned in one sentence by somebody in one of those conversations. I'm still not sure what the deal is with the diamonds or why they're even important beyond being valuable, so I'll have to go read that Slate thing.
posted by LionIndex at 8:09 PM on August 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Other than the ridiculously elaborate plot, the other thing that bothers me is that there are too many coincidences.

Ani came upon this case totally by accident, right? It just happened to be in her jurisdiction. It's just convenient that most (all?) of the big bads are tied up with her father!

Paul also came across this case by accident. And then it just so happens that his pseudo-soldier buddy just happens to be working for the big bads!

Too much.
posted by radioamy at 8:10 PM on August 3, 2015 [10 favorites]


Oh right, and also Ani happened to come across Vera's sister when she was serving a foreclosure notice. Coincidence!
posted by radioamy at 8:11 PM on August 3, 2015 [7 favorites]


To build on radioamy's observations: Ani also happened to come across Vera at the Fidelio party. Detective Dixon just happened to be snapping pictures of Paul; after Dixon died in the firefight, Ares Security happened to come across his pictures.
posted by reclusive_thousandaire at 8:26 PM on August 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


I am beginning to believe that the only True Detectives here are the fans for detecting any sort of cohesive plot in this mess.

Honestly a better show would be following the various villains around while they hatched their schemes. This whole affair with the blackmailed cop's pictures would be much more interesting if we were understanding the motivations behind each person they passed through. Pizzolatto sure can make his cop show angels dance on the head of a pin by way of whizzing expository dialog, but it seems like the least important spot of heavenly glory to focus on.
posted by Catblack at 9:03 PM on August 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


Paul also came across this case by accident. And then it just so happens that his pseudo-soldier buddy just happens to be working for the big bads!

Not just by accident in a small way, either. I've gone a decade or more in LA without running into people I know, and Paul pulls off a random highway after closing his eyes for awhile, and there's Caspere. The only way this kind of coincidence works in a narrative is to play it off like there's fate or a providential force working somewhere in the background, but I really don't get the impression that's where all this is going.

Also, unless they pull something else out of Paul's involvement that is conclusively relevant to the plot by virtue of Paul being Paul, I'll probably feel that the the storyline was unable to carry all of the characters over so few episodes. I think one genuine criticism is that the pacing is off compared to season one, and I think it's because there are too many main players, whereas it was just Russ and Marty before.

I'm still in it for the final episode, though. The characters are compelling, even if the plot is getting a bit convoluted. I'm not sure it can all be redeemed in the next hour, but I'm sure curious to see it try. If it succeeds, that would be pretty amazing. I want to believe it's the kind of show that sets us up with a number of possible complaints, but ends up ending brilliantly. But we'll see.
posted by SpacemanStix at 9:18 PM on August 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


Re: pacing, remember how much of the first few episodes were spent on basically nothing? There was probably a good ten minutes of that singer alone.
posted by Artw at 9:22 PM on August 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


radioamy: Also there is so much mumbly dialogue.

Transcripts (also here) are your friend, as are subtitle packs if you downloaded the episodes.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:28 PM on August 3, 2015


Re: pacing, remember how much of the first few episodes were spent on basically nothing? There was probably a good ten minutes of that singer alone.

A slow burn can work if you do it right. They just have too much to juggle, so it ended up being wasted time. Which frustrates me, because the narrative of season one was so good.

One thing that surprised me though is how much the opening music has grown on me. I didn't like it at all when I first heard it, and now I'm pretty fond of it.
posted by SpacemanStix at 9:34 PM on August 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Question: how is it that Ani would be wanted for questioning "in the death of a security guard"? Who would have recognized her?
posted by SpacemanStix at 10:00 PM on August 3, 2015


Slate has broken down the plot of the entire season into a (relatively) easy to follow article.

Reading that just got my hackles up that anyone would think there's anything okay about cramming that much plot into eight episodes of show. It's like a roomful of writers got Velcoroed up on coke and brainstormed for twelve hours straight and decided YES EVERY IDEA WE HAD IS GOING IN THE SCRIPT.

I think the plotline about the Super Special Diamonds is where I finally realized how much I didn't care what was going on. It's like they're just throwing noir tropes contemptuously in our faces.

Looking forward to next week.
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:01 PM on August 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


Nic Pezz simply does not have the skill to pull off whatever he was trying to do

"Everything's fucking."

*cringe*

Vince Vaughn is a lot better when he's given less deadweight dialogue. Zero-fucks-left-to-give action Frank is a lot more interesting than endlessly-monologuing emo Frank.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 10:45 PM on August 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


I'm not sure it can all be redeemed in the next hour, but I'm sure curious to see it try.

Just a heads up that the finale next week is 90 minutes. So 1) they have a little extra time and 2) make sure your DVRs aren't gonna cut out early.

I like this season a lot, but I do agree that the biggest problem is a pacing one. The limited screentime has not been used widely amongst characters or plot, and this is unlikely to be rectified in the finale.
posted by dogwalker at 10:47 PM on August 3, 2015


I'd be seriously interested in knowing the time between writing this and filming it and the same for season 1 - my bet is that for season 1 there was a lot longer to let it settle in and do revisions, whereas for 2 they are basically writing it as they are filing it
posted by Artw at 10:48 PM on August 3, 2015 [1 favorite]




My current theory (and sole hope for salvaging the season) is that all of the plot up to now has been one giant red herring, and the narrative is going to take an unexpected left turn into extreme weirdness, jettisoning every single one of the convoluted threads and obscure characters that had been weighing us down. That would be brilliant. Alas, it's not looking likely, but I'm still holding out a sliver of hope.
posted by naju at 11:12 PM on August 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


SpacemanStix: Question: how is it that Ani would be wanted for questioning "in the death of a security guard"? Who would have recognized her?

The police captain that confronted Paul was there, so maybe they reviewed surveillance tapes of the women entering the party and he recognized her?
posted by bluecore at 11:56 PM on August 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


Question: how is it that Ani would be wanted for questioning "in the death of a security guard"? Who would have recognized her?

They had 'her' name .... which was her sister's. Would not have been that big a leap to guess that it might be Ani and confirm it with showing round her photo from her records.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:00 AM on August 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


I really am wishing that Pizzolatto had kept with his 'secret occult history of U.S. transportation system' idea - hints and ghosts of which kinds still remain - and not rewritten the second series into this heap of mush
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:05 AM on August 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


I really don't think this show is about plot. It's about self-hatred, about secrets and the consequences they have, and about creating a mood and an atmosphere. It's also about Pynchonian levels of paranoia. The plot makes just as little sense as that of The Crying of Lot 49 and I think that's on purpose. The haters are watching it wrong. Watch it for the experience, just let yourself fall into its warm, anxiety-inducing-but-soothing-all-the-same ultranoir waters. I think it's great.
posted by dis_integration at 6:03 AM on August 4, 2015 [8 favorites]


Incidentally, isn't any more preposterous that Paul would survive against 5/6 equally well-trained operatives in that tunnel than that Burris would be there at the right spot at the right time? The devil can show up wherever he damn well pleases.
posted by dis_integration at 6:24 AM on August 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


I really don't think this show is about plot.

No one said it was. We're merely noting that the dense plot and ridiculous coincidences are getting in the way of enjoying the mood, atmosphere, setting and characters. Hell, I wish this season had a sustained mood and atmosphere, but that's hard to do when its so goddamn busy with plot
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:38 AM on August 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


My current theory (and sole hope for salvaging the season) is that all of the plot up to now has been one giant red herring, and the narrative is going to take an unexpected left turn into extreme weirdness, jettisoning every single one of the convoluted threads and obscure characters that had been weighing us down. That would be brilliant. Alas, it's not looking likely, but I'm still holding out a sliver of hope.

I have an expectation that this might happen. We have yet to see the videotape, and that has to show up in the last episode, right? I wonder if they'll have a jaw-dropping moment like they did when they watched the video tape in season 1, and everyone's world gets turned upside down. At this point, I'm hoping for that more than I'm hoping for a bow to rap it up in a nice package. I want it to rip the package apart and still have it make sense on some level.
posted by SpacemanStix at 6:43 AM on August 4, 2015


Season 1 only barely made sense. It was the performances that cemented it.

Expecting this season 2 to stick the landing is...not good
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:19 AM on August 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Expecting this season 2 to stick the landing is...not good

I have a small flame of hope that I'll keep kindled, just in case.
posted by SpacemanStix at 7:51 AM on August 4, 2015


The finale should be fun because there are so many things to wrap up, many of which should be fun/exciting/explosive. Bang bang burn, let's hope the "good guys" win. Things to resolve (in relative order of importance):

1) How will Ani and Ray get out of their pickle, their prickly predicament?
2) Will Frank steal the money and get away (and is Jordan really on his side?)
3) How will the orphaned siblings connect with Ani and Ray? (and who is orphan boy?)
4) Can they get their story (and maybe the contents of the hard drive) to the Feds/press?
--> Sub-question: How big is the manhunt now that Barksdale's sister is dead?
5) What happens to Ani's father and sister (is her partner good or bad)?
6) Will Ray find out the paternity of his kid and how will that knowledge propel Ray?
7) Who will end up with the diamonds and what will they do with them?
8) Will Mayor Chessani go after his son?
9) How long do Paul's mom and fiance stay in that hotel room, and how do they find out he's dead?
10) Who was Birdman? (probably one of the orphans)
11) What side will the Santa Muerte gang join?
12) How will all of the Vinci hotshots meet their fate (will any of them survive?)
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 8:13 AM on August 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


Hey man, this show isn't about plot!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:55 AM on August 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


I wonder if they'll have a jaw-dropping moment [...] and everyone's world gets turned upside down. At this point, I'm hoping for that more than I'm hoping for a bow to wrap it up in a nice package. I want it to rip the package apart and still have it make sense on some level.

Apropos of little, I will give Nick Pizzolatto one American dollar if the last line of the finale is "How's Ani?"
posted by DaDaDaDave at 9:19 AM on August 4, 2015 [7 favorites]


13) Will they find the videotape? What's on it? Who has it?
14) Does the bartenders with the scars mean anything, or just a red herring?
posted by radioamy at 9:43 AM on August 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


Question: how is it that Ani would be wanted for questioning "in the death of a security guard"? Who would have recognized her?

This question may lend support to the Jordan is not what she seems theory. Ray tells Frank (in his "I had an interesting night" discussion), Franks shares with Jordan, and now everyone on the conspiracy side knows.

I will be very curious to see if and how they tie up the Ani thread. She is going to have a real hard time claiming self defense after having gained entrance to the party on false pretenses and having voluntarily taken drugs. The security guard just seemed to be doing his job.
posted by rtimmel at 9:56 AM on August 4, 2015


The problem with Jordan being a double-crosser is: wouldn't she have told Osip (or someone else) that Frank killed Blaine? Because if she had done that, then obviously Osip would have tried to kill Frank instead of trying to talk Frank into working for him. So either Jordan is standing by her man, or she's... playing both sides?
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 10:03 AM on August 4, 2015


I think there are several different people at the party who would recognize Ani if they were shown a photo of her. She interviewed the mayor's son, the Vinci police chief knew her from the initial investigation when they had those meetings on what to do about Ani, other police elites were involved in the sexual-harassment hit on her after the shoot out, etc.

As for Ani's ending, is anyone else expecting 75% to 100% of the main characters to be dead by the end of the season? Maybe I have been reading too much Le Carre, but after Paul died, I feel like the door was opened to a really dark ending where all the main characters just get taken out. And realistically, how do they survive the reprisals of the city & state police, russian mob, California business elites, etc.? *Maybe* the feds could help, but like you said that still doesn't dig Ani out from under a murder rap.
posted by Balna Watya at 10:06 AM on August 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


And realistically, how do they survive the reprisals of the city & state police, russian mob, California business elites, etc.? *Maybe* the feds could help...

Which goes to show how much she totally screwed her sister in all of this. When her sister was upset about not wanting to go into hiding because she had a relationship and was going to art school, Ani was perhaps overly confident that she could fix things by just "solving the case." That was also her response to the woman she rescued who did not want to be rescued, and now her life was wrecked. I think I'd still be moving out of the country, buying a big dog and a gun, and locking my doors at night. It's no longer about who did what to Caspere, but how many volatile individuals are still out there who might be more than a little irritated at your involvement.
posted by SpacemanStix at 10:19 AM on August 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


The only way I can see this being resolved easily in the final ep is if every major character dies.

I've tried watching every episode twice, and hell I'm tempted to watch them all in a row to see if I can even follow 1/3 of the plot using that method.

Pizzolato needs to view plot lines like jewelry/accessories: put on all the ones you like for a test drive, then remove half. THAT is the look you should be going for, not a garbage bag packed full of genre tropes to the point that the whole thing rips itself apart on the way to the dumpster.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 3:55 PM on August 4, 2015 [5 favorites]


The only way I can see this being resolved easily in the final ep is if every major character dies.

And then Caspere wakes up, quickly checks his eyes and privates, and breathes a sigh of relief.
posted by SpacemanStix at 4:14 PM on August 4, 2015


The most redeeming ending to this season that I can think of would be if the last shot was a cut to Morty taking off a VR helmet at Blips and Chitz.
posted by prize bull octorok at 4:46 PM on August 4, 2015


The best finale would be a cut to an office room, where Stan is listening to a phone conversation detailing the death of everyone. Then he hangs up and smiles.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:53 PM on August 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


I could so get behind that ending.
posted by SpacemanStix at 4:55 PM on August 4, 2015


I still need to look up a picture of Stan to see if it jogs my memory on him.
posted by Artw at 5:16 PM on August 4, 2015




Well. That's reassuring.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:03 PM on August 4, 2015


My ideal ending: the camera pans back from Pizzolato pitching TD season 2 to David Lynch over a stack of perfectly arranged donuts; both men are sitting in the corner booth at Norma's diner. Lynch smiles, dons his fedora and trenchcoat, then yells "NOBODY'S EVER GONNA GO FOR THAT, NICK. TOO CONVOLUTED."

Then Lynch waves at Dale Cooper, who's just arrived for a slice of cherry pie and some damned fine coffee.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 7:11 PM on August 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


The difference is that Lynch created a range of characters who I enjoyed or had any kind of emotional response to at all. I don't actually have much in the way of feelings for any of the characters. Unless you consider "meh" a feeling.
posted by miss-lapin at 8:17 PM on August 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think the really big difference is that Lynch is funny.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 8:42 PM on August 4, 2015 [9 favorites]


Now I want a Lynchian TV show based on the Barry Gifford universe.
posted by Artw at 9:49 PM on August 4, 2015


Lynch also had a direct line to the script and to directing. Remember what happened to Twin Peaks when he left, and they got a bunch of jobbers to direct?
posted by codacorolla at 7:25 AM on August 5, 2015


Man, great episode. I'm excited about the finale.

I'm not a extremely close viewer, though I did rewind a few scenes where I had trouble making out the dialog, and I already knew everything in the Slate plot summary. It does point out that there's a lot to keep track of, though.
posted by jjwiseman at 9:48 AM on August 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Marty watches season 2
posted by radioamy at 10:31 AM on August 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


Marty watches season 2

As much as I'm still rooting for this season to do ... something really cool... that was a pretty perfect setup. I laughed more than once.
posted by SpacemanStix at 12:02 PM on August 5, 2015


*Maybe* the feds could help, but like you said that still doesn't dig Ani out from under a murder rap.

I doubt we'll see feds. But in theory, they could offer blanket immunity if they thought she could prove a bigger federal case, like all the corruption and the potential RICO windfalls.

But more likely, if she lives, we see a semi-corrupt DA go, "She probably did it, but *wink wink* we can't prove it, so *wink wink* let her go, and if she gets clipped by the Russians, that's on her."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:45 PM on August 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


I feel like, given the precedent set by S1, there'll be a trial off-screen where they'll sort out that, yes, in fact she did not murder anyone because she was acting in self-defense after having been drugged.
posted by koeselitz at 6:49 PM on August 5, 2015


Ok, how could this realistically get tied up in a way that is cool? From season one, it's apparent that not all loose ends need to be resolved. But what could theoretically make for a good ending ?
posted by SpacemanStix at 2:34 PM on August 6, 2015


Hey they've got 90 minutes. That's an extra half hour of plot thread resolution. I'm sure that they'll get to at last half of them.
posted by octothorpe at 2:53 PM on August 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


20 more minutes of "this is my least favorite life"...
posted by Artw at 4:41 PM on August 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


Ani thing but that. I'm hoping see a Ray of light at the end of this tunnel, but all suggestions so far have been Paul-try.
Hope that doesn't sound too Frank.
posted by SpacemanStix at 4:54 PM on August 6, 2015 [7 favorites]




> "Ani is wanted on charges of murder and she has no real defense no matter how things go."

In the real world, Ani could absolutely try to assert several legal defenses to murder including but not limited to: qualified immunity as a law officer working undercover, self-defense or the defense of others, and incapacitation, not to mention there's the doctrine of unclean hands working in her favor.

> "She falsified her way into a party, willingly took drugs..."

Neither of these facts made it in any way legally justifiable for Creepy Old Guy to falsely imprison her by preventing her from leaving the party when she tried to, and it certainly didn't make it legally justifiable for Security Guard to attempt to choke her to death - which he would have done if not for her knifing him. IIRC, in California, Ani had no legal duty to retreat.

BTW I totally disagree she "willingly took drugs" - under those circumstances, she had no meaningful choice but to accept what she thought was the Molly they claimed it was, but which was obviously was some other, more incapacitating, probably illegal drug entirely (e.g. Rohypnol). In the real world (which the show is clearly not), criminal charges probably would not be brought against undercover cop Ani in the first place. Nor would the powerful creepy villain dudebro cabal ever want the fact of their drug-addled, sex partying, John-ing ways to become public knowledge -- instead it would make more sense to have some goons kill her and make it look accidental. Which maybe they'll still do so it doesn't go to trial. Maybe they'll use the same shady cop who killed Paul.
posted by hush at 5:55 PM on August 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


A wild guess here, but I think the recently-deceased Blake was Chad Velcoro's biological father.
posted by hush at 5:59 PM on August 6, 2015


Per Habeus Corpus nameless mooks don't have rights and can be freely stabbed to death.
posted by Artw at 6:02 PM on August 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


rtimmel: "Ani is wanted on charges of murder and she has no real defense no matter how things go. She falsified her way into a party, willingly took drugs and killed a guy (and severely hurt another) while kidnapping a woman who was there willingly."

Good lord - this is straight 100% nonsense here. "Willingly"? Bullshit. You think they were giving her the choice between taking the drugs or letting them call her an Uber home? You think when the big stooge on the bus told her "put your stuff in the bag, bitch" he was politely providing a place for her to stow her stuff? You think when the old man grabbed her by the arm and demanded sexual gratification because "you SAID you'd be right back" he was tossing off a mild request for consent? You think when the big guard grabbed her and tried to throw her on the ground that wasn't a use of force worth defending herself against?

It's really bothering me how many people think Ani did anything wrong in there. I can understand having real problems with the show, but I'm not sure how much more forcefully and thoroughly they can telegraph "this is a bad party with rapey people who do terrible things to women" before people say "gosh, maybe a woman who is being coerced here is within her rights to use force in response."
posted by koeselitz at 10:09 PM on August 6, 2015


Also, "falsified her way into a party"? Yeah, that's totally going to get her thrown out of a legit courtroom and into jail. "Yes, she was drugged against her will and almost raped, but your honor - she pretended to be her sister to get into a party! Isn't that a felony in California? She's a murderer."
posted by koeselitz at 10:11 PM on August 6, 2015


It's really bothering me how many people think Ani did anything wrong in there.

And I don't think Ani's ultimate concern is whether she did anything wrong, either. I think her concern is that she is going to get totally screwed by a system that is now known to be manipulated by hidden and powerful forces which also influence the law. (Remember when Ray pointed out an old police commissioner who was at the party? I think that was intentional.) So when her name came up for questioning when Paul was on the computer, I didn't interpret that as a concern about her legally being accused of something, but that there were forces that control the law that are literally out to get her. That's why her name popped up so quickly for questioning. That's also why she's worried if she was noticed. I don't think she's on the run from the law right now, but from whatever it is that got Caspere. The only resolution in her mind is to blow the whole thing wide open, which is what she is hoping for her sister and the woman she "rescued" as well.
posted by SpacemanStix at 10:32 PM on August 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


Yeah, that's the only way it makes sense to me.
posted by koeselitz at 11:55 PM on August 6, 2015


We have 90 more minutes to be informed otherwise, but I still wonder if the bird man from earlier who shot Ray was a red herring, and it plays off of our expectations from season one. It's really all just about criminals and murders and weird sex parties, and the powers at play within those things.

Either that, or there will be something right at the end, and maybe in the video tape, that connects us to season one and perhaps the viewing by Rust and Marty of the VHS. It will end without giving us any more specifics, just this vague notion that something sinister and evil is out there at much higher levels that people are aware of and trying to find, but can never seem to track down.
posted by SpacemanStix at 9:10 AM on August 7, 2015


Bless this Slate writer who actually explained the plot pretty well.

Thoughts on Laura and Leonard being Caspere's killers?
posted by radioamy at 3:22 PM on August 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


radioamy: Thoughts on Laura and Leonard being Caspere's killers?

I guess it would make sense, especially if Leonard is the set photographer. This would mean both Laura and Leonard would have access to the set vehicle that was used to drive dead Caspere around. The eye mutilation would make sense if it was the kids, as they had to witness their parents getting killed and might revisit this on anyone they thought might be responsible. I'm not sure how they came to work for Caspere-- I suppose the cop heist group felt guilt about what they'd done and tried to save them from the system?
posted by bluecore at 4:40 PM on August 7, 2015


I would say it's very solid. If I had to put money on any characters, it would be them.

I'm really looking forward to Sunday's finale. It's been a rocky ride, but I've enjoyed the show so far. It's like a big, smelly, stupid, poorly trained golden retriever who I can't help but love, despite the fact that its breath smells like a second asshole, and it chews the furniture.
posted by codacorolla at 4:42 PM on August 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


Bless this Slate writer who actually explained the plot pretty well.

That was really helpful. Also, it makes me realize how much of the plot has been held together in places with green paint. I'm glad I really like the characters, as I'm holding out to see what happens to them.

Thoughts on Laura and Leonard being Caspere's killers?

That could very well be the case, but I've realized at this point that I'm not going to be that surprised, no matter who it is. I'm not quite sure what I'm waiting for in the end, but I don't much care who killed Caspere, and anyone could be written in for any reason, and it would be just as satisfying.

I guess I want to see if they handle the remaining characters, Ray and Ani, in a way that I find compelling. I want their stories redeemed somehow, and I want them to succeed by the skin of their teeth when the world is out to get them. Also, I could go for a few twists in the plot here and there that we didn't see coming, maybe something with Ani's dad or the identity of Ray's son. I find that I do care what happens to Frank, as well. Will there be something especially tragic? It seems like his life has been set up for it.
posted by SpacemanStix at 7:19 PM on August 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


And I had totally forgotten that the person who was driving dead Caspere in episode one had the raven head mask in his car (which the article reminded me of). Not quite a red herring then, so I'm sure he's tied into this somewhere.
posted by SpacemanStix at 7:59 PM on August 7, 2015


Thoughts on Laura and Leonard being Caspere's killers?

I don't usually speculate but that's been my guess for a while... though why they would go full sicko torture I'm not sure of, unless one is psychopath (I mean they lost family but... well it seems extreme)

For some reason I always thought the person who shot Ray was a women - seemed slight of statue, or that might just be me
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 6:23 AM on August 8, 2015


Y'know, I started out not liking the show much but it has really grown on me.

Ultimately, you've got four major characters in one form or another of denial, and two of them crucially revealed that this week:

Frank - is a gangster, but has tried to become legitimate for so long, and suddenly has to resort to being a gangster again.

Ani - admits to Velcoro that she probably sought out someone to kill as her assailant and has probably been hovering on that edge, within the skin of a cop, for a long time.

Velcoro - has denied for years, but ultimately accepts, that who and what he is stems from the revenge action he took against his wife's attacker years ago. "I thought everything came from somewhere else," he said. That's what he was talking about.

Paul - well, pretty obvious there.

The show has been an elaborate mess in some ways, but once I stopped trying to figure everything out and just watched the actors be the characters, it became a much more enjoyable experience. Hell - I even turned the corner on Vaughn as Frank - really liked what he did this week, because Frank was clearly comfortable being Frank and not so awkward as a real estate developer in the early episodes.

Maybe I'm just seeing what I want to, because I like the actors themselves. I just don't want to sell the show short. Despite its flaws, I think the show has done a really good job of taking 4 people on a painful but transformative journey.
posted by Thistledown at 4:12 AM on August 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


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