‘True Detective’ 2×07: ‘Black Mobs and Motel Rooms’

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We’re one episode away from the finale, and “True Detective” has started making sense.

We begin with a still-high Ani (Rachel McAdams), shockingly sober Ray (Colin Farrell) and stressed-out Paul (Taylor Kitsch) in a shabby, run-down house. They’ve just fled from Caspere’s crew’s party, where they uncovered evidence, saved Ani’s “missing person” and killed a security officer in the process.

Ani’s clearly shaken from the night before, and her lingering MDMA high isn’t helping. While explaining what happened at the orgy, she slips up and refers to the woods — a true Freudian slip, as the woods were where she was molested as a child. We later discover that the drugs unlocked suppressed memories of being abducted as a child. Her intense emotions and the drug result in Ani making sexual advances toward a surprised — and, even more surprisingly, unreceptive — Ray. As the episode continues, however, so does their tension, and they eventually do the dirty.

After leaving the hideout, Ray meets with Frank (Vince Vaughn) to relay information from the previous night. When he passes Frank’s wife, Jordan (Kelly Reilly), she makes a sly comment about him keeping his gun holstered. Throughout the season, Reilly has been a testament to the cliche “there are no small parts, just small actors.” Although she exists within the script solely in relation to Frank, Reilly has created a woman who is so believably, silently cunning that she makes Frank’s character more three-dimensional. Without their dynamic and the chemistry between Vaughn and Reilly, the softer side of Frank would disappear entirely.

After Jordan leaves, Frank and Ray begin talking business. Ray confirms Blake’s (Christopher James Baker) involvement with Osip Agronov (Timothy V. Murphy). He then explains the divestment of Caspere’s wealth into three companies, Osip’s being one of them. After presenting his information, he again asks Frank for the name of the man who gave Frank the incorrect name of Ray’s ex-wife’s attacker. The lack of trust puts Frank over the edge, and he then asks Ray to leave. Unsurprisingly, this frustration culminates with Frank destroying his furniture.

With Blake’s disloyalty now confirmed, Frank calls him into his office. He begins the meeting coolly but quickly amps up the intensity. He accuses Blake of killing Stan (Ronnie Gene Blevins) because Stan had been tailing him. After a few moments of denial, Frank reminds him that there’s no where to run, making honesty his only option. After Frank smashes a glass on his face, Blake becomes a lot more open to sharing information. Blake offers to triple cross, and Frank eases his violence. Blake tells Frank about a $12 million deal that’s about to go down.  After exhausting his intel, Frank shoots Blake and watches him slowly bleed out on his carpet.

Frank sees the money as a chance to get out, and we see him planning to do so. He gets fake passports, gets plane tickets to Venezuela and starts getting his cash in place. To finalize the deal, he burns down his casino — and maybe the gangster he was with it.

As the episode progresses, the audience and the characters become more and more aware of how dangerous the city of Vinci has become for Ray, Ani and Paul. Ray goes to meet State Attorney Davis (Michael Hyatt) and give her documents linking Caspere and several police officers to corrupt business deals. When he arrives at their meeting spot, however, she’s already been shot and killed, her murderer long gone.

Ani is wanted for questioning about the death of a security officer. She did, in fact, kill him, but it was clearly a case of self-defense. But Ani knows that Vinci’s corrupt judicial system would much rather put her in prison than risk exposing the information that she, Ray and Paul have uncovered.

Meanwhile, someone has been texting blackmail photos of Paul and his boyfriend to him. He eventually meets up with the sender after calling Ray to warn him that Ray is putting himself in danger. He’s met by an officer he knows, who obliges him to enter an underground tunnel system. In the tunnels, where Police Chief Holloway — of whom the trio has proof of involvement in Caspere’s risky business endeavors — meets him. Holloway wants the documents Paul has. Paul (in an amazing moment of acting that we attest to his hiding of his sexuality his whole life) says he’ll call Ray and ask him to bring them. Paul then pulls his gun, puts Holloway in a headlock and runs.

As soon as we think Paul is safe, he’s shot down. This moment would’ve been heartbreaking if the writers weren’t (again) repeating a tug at the audience’s heartstrings. We’re not sure exactly what the ratio limit of shooting characters in the chest is, but we have a feeling it’s higher than two deaths or near-deaths per seven episodes. An episode that had, up to this point, been promising, exciting and better than we had expected died with Paul. We hope that both the season and Paul are resuscitated in the finale.

Although the episode, overall, was much better than previous installments, there were still some notably ludicrous lines:

  • Ray, while talking to Frank, describes a man as an “older cat.” Literally no one says that.
  • “Everything is fucking.” — Vera (Miranda Rae Mayo), Ani’s missing person. This is a classic example of the writers trying to be deep but coming across as silly.
  • When Ani’s talking to her sister, Athena (Leven Rambin), about the party going badly, Athena asks, “Did you go all the way inside of the party?” to which she replies, “I did. Did you?” We think this was supposed to mean something deeper, but it was just confusing and odd.

 

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