TV – True Detective Season 2, Episode 7

Black Maps and Motel Rooms sees Steve Taylor-Bryant left with more unanswered questions as he reviews the penultimate episode…

Last week’s Church In Ruins episode finally saw the season long investment start to pay off and this week’s starts just after our main trio’s daring escape from a sex party. Hiding in a motel room, Paul starts to go through the documents they stole at the orgy, whilst Ani comes down from her enforced drug high and Ray drinks. Whilst remembering her childhood assault in the haze, Ani also makes an attempt at Ray, who declines, either being a gentleman or genuinely believing she is out of his league, but she also remembers that amongst the powerful and debauched at the party was Attorney General Geldof. The papers show that Tony Chessani and Osip are definitely involved in the land scandal and that someone has dispersed Caspere’s shares. Photos of Paul and Miguel in a passionate embrace arrive on Paul’s phone and he knows he is about to be blackmailed or worse. He decides that the pregnant fiancée and his mother need to be protected and so hides them away whilst he tries to find out the source of his new pain.

Ray and Frank meet at the club, with Ray telling Frank that Caspere’s shares have gone to Osip and Chessani and it was his henchman/assistant Blake that did the dirty deed. Frank in return tells Ray it was a policeman that told Irina to pawn the goods that led to the shootout. Ray is still seething at killing the wrong man all those years ago and orders Frank to tell him who gave him the wrong name which Frank promises. Both men, now angry, set about unleashing their rage. Frank is angry due to the stitching up of him by trusted colleagues and the severe loss of wealth, and Ray now knows that his former police chief, Holloway, was at the sex party, almost certainly ensuring he had something to do with something. Ani has her own protecting to do as she used her sister’s identity to get into the sex party undercover and now wants her to go and lay low for a while, whilst Vera tells Ani that Ben Caspere met her at Ani’s dad’s hippy commune and got her into the life there. Vera also explains she knows about the cabin in the woods, Tony Chessani, the missing blue diamonds, and the fact that Caspere’s favourite girl, Tasha, was taken to the cabin. She won’t, however, testify to anything and didn’t want to be rescued from the party as she was enjoying the trappings of wealth that the parties and Tony afforded her. Ani thinks she was next on the hitlist.

Ani is now wanted for the murder of the security guard she knifed last week and, when Ray goes to visit with Davis and hand over the documents, he discovers Davis is dead in her car. Blake and Frank have a confrontation that leads to Frank glassing Blake and registering a proper beating on his former employee. Blake spills more than blood though and admits that Osip has been trying to take down Frank since the beginning but genuinely doesn’t know who killed Caspere, although he killed Stan. Blake admits that he gave Frank the wrong name all those years ago to pass on to Ray as he wanted the man dead and a policeman in Frank’s pocket. He also admits to knowing where the Osip and Catalyst are going to do their money exchange and suggests Frank uses him to get the cash, especially as Frank is about to lose his clubs to Osip as well. Frank though has other ideas and just shoots Blake. Panic now sets in as Frank is running out of time to save his empire. Frank tells Jordan she must go into hiding whilst he sorts out selling the family silver and trying to arrange a getaway. Frank meets up with Mayor Chessani and tells him that Tony, the mayor’s son, is involved with the Russian mob and Eastern European prostitutes.

Meanwhile Paul discovers that Dixon, Holloway and Burris were the perpetrators of the diamond heist during the riots, and his blackmailer wants to meet him. It turns out that Miguel himself was the blackmailer! Still working with their corrupt mercenary group who now protect Catalyst, Miguel had done the sex acts with Paul to end his investigation. In the tunnels under Vinci, Paul meets Chief Holloway and his mini army where Holloway admits to having Dixon follow and photograph him. Paul is pressured for the documents he stole and offers to swap Ray and Ani’s whereabouts for the incriminating photos of him and Miguel. He gets close enough to Holloway to start beating on him before some of Holloway’s men start shooting, which leaves Paul running through the tunnels before finally using Miguel for a human shield. Just when Paul thinks it cannot possibly get any worse for him, Burris shoots him twice and steals his phone. Ani and Ray think they have found all the connections to Caspere when they find an old photo that shows the diamond heist orphan is likely Caspere’s assistant, Laura but, with everyone dead, corrupt or missing they have no one to share the info with. Frank just decides to that the city needs to burn and sets fire to all the clubs.

Luckily for the audience, the finale of season 2 will be movie length as there is still much to uncover and I would have been very surprised if they managed to do it all in just one hour. This penultimate episode was full of great moments but little information. It flattered to deceive. It just didn’t seem like the writing of Pizzolatto had any coherence, well, as much as it usually does, and I am left wondering if the task of topping season 1, the task of having four leads instead of two, the task of going massive has got too much for him. I will, of course, be proved wrong and Pizzolatto will be hailed as a genius once the finale finishes… I hope. It will however be easier to do the finale as there is now only three leads as Paul, Taylor Kitsch, is definitely dead this time. His ending brought a bit of a link to whole proceeding with Miguel and his pals being in the pocket of Catalyst, but I can’t help but wonder if we couldn’t have got there in a different manner? Whilst I have enjoyed Taylor Kitsch for a change, and found the darkly tortured Paul quite intriguing at first, his demise has just proved he really wasn’t needed and his presence has felt like that all season. Solid, if not slightly flawed episode, nowhere near the standard we expect from Pizzolatto though, and yet still one of the best dramas on television this year. True Detective is an enigma that only Pizzolatto could dream up.

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