That's a lotta death for a bunch of diamonds and a cut of a rail line.
While a happy ending was hardly expected, the body count at the end of True Detective Season 2 Episode 8 didn't seem to match the crime(s).
Even worse, there was no justice after all of it. At least not that we're ever going to see. Overall, it was pretty unsatisfying, unless you're into the romance novel of it all.
The case was wrapped up pretty early into the finale. That, too, left a little bit to be desired. Leonard and Laura, the orphans with a hard life as a result of the diamond robbery back in '92, killed Caspere. It was an interrogation gone wrong thanks to some bad acid. Why they cut out his eyes and lopped off his junk, driving him around the city and propping him up on a park bench? Laura didn't know. Leonard thought it was funny.
So much for all of that mood music staging the scene.
After all the worry over the hard drive, it turns out Caspere had a great feature on it. Try to delete it and it automatically erases. It's useless other than for leverage. Oh the irony.
Things went wrong a couple of times when Ray let his good heart get the better of him. First when he allowed Leonard to listen in while he questioned Holloway. That kind of started the ball rolling for all the future bad times to come. The second time was when Ray went to say goodbye to his son with an awkward salute instead of leaving straight away.
Not that I blame him, not one little bit. If I had a son and was going to flee the country, I would have wanted to say goodbye to my son, as well. But I might think twice about it if I was a fugitive on the lam and it could put everyone I loved in danger. That's just me. You know, be stealthy about it. Stand in the shadows, that sort of thing.
See, Frank was using the Venezuelan, scarred waitress as his getaway gal. I have to wonder, again, if many of her scenes didn't wind up on the cutting room floor, because her importance didn't really hit home until they were sitting in that little room in the back of the bar. Until then, she seemed like a sad-sack groupie.
Nonetheless, she proved to be instrumental in Frank's plans. Frank had a devil of a time getting Jordan out of the country, but the more concrete their plans became, the less likely it seemed he would ever see her in her white dress. It also started to sound a bit like a romantic novel, a theme that kind of carried over to the end of the episode.
I'm not talking about a Harlequin Romance, but the pirate gets the girl after she's been kidnapped a couple times kind of novel. When it's entirely possible the heroine may lose her hero at some point in the series and wind up alone, raising his baby with his dead brother's wife while they live on heroically in his name. I'm getting ahead of myself...
Well, not really, because once the mystery was solved, it really became about getting the hell out of Dodge and doing it because of love. It was rather shocking, but Ray and Ani, although they never used the L word, actually smiled. SMILED. If that didn't spell doom, I don't know what would. They were like two school children discovering love for the first time.
In fact, Ray admitted it had been a very long time since he had felt anything like he felt for Ani, and Ani revealed she noticed it seemed like he was making up for lost time when they were together. So, something good did come out of all the crazy. Not that he lived long enough to enjoy it.
After Ray went to see Chad, he knew he was made. Ani had to go on without him. Into the woods he went for a shootout just like the one his father prophesied in vision he had while he was momentarily (likely) dead in True Detective Season 2 Episode 3. Burris and friends could unleash holy hell upon him because he was a fugitive.
The Mexicans, meanwhile, got a hold of Frank, gutted him and left him for dead in the desert. The bastard kept on going, though, having his own visions of all the demons before him. He was intent on getting to Jordan. He made it, in a way. But she was just there to welcome him to his...afterlife?
All three main male characters bit the dust.
Ray's dad learned of his death on TV, and his ex discovered he was, indeed, the father of Chad. There was a highway renamed in honor of Paul. Ani met up with Jordan in Venezuala and had Ray's son. The three were on the lam, but a year after the events, Ani gave all of the evidence to a reporter.
Hopefully, he'll be able to bring the bad guys down, including the former Vinci Mayor's new son, the new mayor. Ugh. That town needs to be wiped off the map. We can imagine a happier ending in there somewhere.
So, in this romance novel ending, the men all died for really no purpose at all. The big mystery pointed to greed and sex. The bad guys won. The strong women did the right thing and left when the men told them to get out. They survived. I suppose that's a win.
True Detective Season 2 wasn't a win. With an absolutely stellar cast, there wasn't anything that could be done with a story gone bad or editing that ran amok. Hopefully some lessons were learned here that won't be repeated. The franchise should carry on. Many series suffer sophomore slumps and power on. True Detective will, too. It's just a shame that the cast wasn't given more to work with.
In the meantime, you can take a look at another upcoming HBO series, Westworld! The first trailer was released just before this airing. Watch it now!
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.