As expected, the midway point of True Detective, which happened to be the big shootout in True Detective Season 2 Episode 4, shook up the format of things going forward.
In True Detective Season 2 Episode 5 we learned the case was closed, and everyone had moved on. But as Katherine Davis pointed out in the middle when she rallied the three detectives back together again, it was closed while thrusting a shady Attorney General into the race for governor, and the whole thing just didn't sit well.
It seems what makes a true detective this season is someone who doesn't give up. Someone who will care, even when nobody else will.
It's only been 66 days since Ben Caspere was murdered, but the lives of the detectives have been altered quite a bit. Each of them looked at the chance to work Caspere's murder as a stepping stone to something better, and where they ended up was anything but.
Ray quit the force all together (and shaved off his mustache). He's taken up a position working "security" for Frank, which essentially means he's acting as a general thug for the man who holds the key to the secret of his past. Ray is indebted to Frank, but he has no idea why. He'll find out before the hour is over.
Paul is working insurance fraud and still fighting the case with the actress who charged him with sexual misconduct. He's best on the streets, though, and he knows it. He's drinking his way through family dinners with his fiance and sitting behind a desk much longer won't do him well.
Paul's mother didn't help issues by stealing his blood money that he kept stored at her trailer. Although he should have thought twice about trusting his own mother given how she talks to him. Calling him out on being gay and crying when he left in anger was just an average conversation for them.
Ani gave up ecigarettes for the real thing and is stuck in sexual harassment classes when she's not working the evidence locker. But that's where she puts together some photos she gets in relation to Vera's case (the missing woman from True Detective Season 2 Episode 1) with missing evidence bringing all three of them back together to investigate the case again.
Frank has moved to the burbs, and while he and Jordan are putting themselves all out with truth and such, they get closer to each other. The happier they seem, the more I expect that happiness to be cut short.
This was the first hour when the case seemed to matter at all. Up until "Other Lives," it seemed impossible to care whether the case was solved. Ani noticed it, the Attorney General, as well. But Ani discovered ties linking a lot of what they've been doing during their time together that helps make the case personal to the detectives; some of them, at least.
Ani can use her sister Athena to get into the party circuit, as well as the ties to the case with Vera. She'll probably find out a lot more about her father and his friends before the case is truly wrapped up, as well.
By rejoining the investigation, Ray learned Gena's rapist was captured, something she didn't bother to tell him and which sheds a whole new light on his relationship with Frank. Who did Ray kill? Frank tipped off Ray about Gena's attacker, and Ray acted on that tip. Frank has held Ray's life in his hands ever since.
It never seemed anybody was looking for the guy Ray killed (assuming he was really dead and it wasn't an even more complete setup Frank put into motion), so Ray could have offed one of Frank's enemies. There is going to be a showdown between the two men, but I'd like to think Ray has come far enough in his sobriety that he'll allow himself to take Frank down legally instead of in a duel.
Could Ray ever trust Ani and Paul enough to tell them what happened in the past, and to move forward with their help? Just a thought. Here are some others.
- It's hard to believe they would bring up Paul's military service during the negotiation with the actress. What the heck did that have to do with anything?
- Who was Teague Dixon working with that he knew about the diamonds before they got to the safety deposit box, and why was he taking all those photos? The Vinci mayor?
- Ray telling Ani he didn't realize he had been thinking about her until they met in the depressing bar. Awwww. That scarred waitress could have killed Ani with her gaze.
- Did you notice all of the characters were almost borderline happy once they were pulled back into the case again? Well, except Ray, who got a bit blindsided. It proved how lost they were without their work.
- Everybody has a tie-in to Caspere in some manner except Paul; well, other than he found the body. Do you think there's something else we're unaware of (and might be why Dixon was taking photos of him)?
Overall, it's not easy to care too deeply about a case about corporate big wigs, sexual perversion and getting themselves caught on camera turning to murder, diamonds and collusion. It's a lot to drink in, so tying it in well with the protagonists is really important. They just started doing that with any meaning during this hour. Can it all come together in three more episodes? We'll find out.
After the big shootout, what did you think about the follow-up?
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.