True Detective Recap: Season 2 Finale

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Compared to the first finale, season two’s closer had much more melancholic tones. The betrayal, lack of justice and depravity that mired the entire season accumulates into a bubble of moroseness in the 90-minute finale that left us all devastated – on more than one occasion. It’s a tough one to digest, for sure, but it ended on a slightly uplifting note, where hope danced precariously over the wounds.

At the beginning of “Omega Station,” Ani and Ray talk about their past – Ani remembers her captor and the ordeal she went through in the woods, while Ray is able, for the first time, to talk about murdering the wrong man for raping his ex-wife. At first, I thought this scene was over-stretched and more dramatic than necessary. In retrospect, it makes sense, though. This scene is important for the two to create a bond that will set up their motives for the rest of the episode.

Frank, meanwhile, tries to convince Jordan to travel with Nails, along with a hundred grand, to Venezuela where she’ll be safe out of the cross fire. Jordan is headstrong, though, and refuses to travel without Frank. Frank coaxes her by telling Jordan he’ll be there in two weeks or less. They’ll meet at a park called El Obelisco, she’ll be wearing a white dress and he’ll be wearing a white suit with a red rose in his pocket. In a sense, this is their good-bye. Frank wants to believe he’ll make it to Venezuela, but he knows he can’t just run without his enemies coming after him. Emphasis on the “enemies.”

Back in their motel room, Ani and Ray find out Paul is dead. They know they’re next, and with their current reputation in the media (Ani is still wanted for questioning about killing that guard at Blake’s party and Ray is getting blamed for Davis and Paul’s death), they opt out of fleeing to solve the case. With their minds made up, they look further into that ’92 robbery and piece together the parts of the puzzle that were missing. Ani recalls the movie set visit where they interviewed the set photographer named Lenny Tyler. The twins from the robbery were named Leonard and Laura (Laura later changed her name to Erica and started working for Chessani). They get his information from files on the crew list they have and go to his house, hoping he might have the hard drive missing from Caspere’s house that they’ve been searching for all season.

Frank goes to the Chessani home where he finds Austin face down in a pool, with a too-obviously-construed suicide scenario. He finds Veronica, one of Tony’s ex-girls, who says she heard yelling earlier in the house, mentions it was Tony and a Russian guy talking about his business. Frank tells her it was Tony who murdered the mayor and he’s going to pin it on Veronica.

Ani and Ray head over to Lenny’s place, where their questions are answered. They find a bird mask, a shotgun and photography equipment. They don’t find the hard drive, but they do discover Erica, Lenny’s sister, handcuffed to the fireplace. They question her about her past and her brother, recording the entire interview. She tells them after they were split up, Lenny bounced from foster home to foster home (none of them ideal situations), and Erica began working the streets. She met Tascha who introduced her to Tony and Ben. Ben told her about the diamonds and at that point she knew it was him. Caspere didn’t recognize her because she had changed her name to Erica and dyed her hair. The siblings decided they were going to try to get Caspere to talk and confess on tape. But things didn’t go as planned. Lenny lost control and ended up killing Caspere. Erica tells Ray and Ani that there is nothing on the hard drive. As a security feature, everything on it was automatically erased and that Lenny was on his way to trade the empty hard drive with Holloway for the blue diamonds, his ultimate plan being to kill Holloway. Ray immediately leaves to stop Lenny from doing this, leaving Ani to watch Erica until they can get her to a station to confess. Ani decides it’s not safe for Erica to be in L.A. anymore. She gives Erica a bus ticket to Seattle where she tells her to start over and forget about Lenny.

Frank heads over to the Black Rose, the bar he owns that’s run by Felicia. She takes him upstairs, to a secret room that can only be accessed by stairs located behind the freezer. There’s multiple cots in the room, it’s clear she’s used to helping people flee, it’s possible Frank bought the hole-in-the-wall bar in case such an occasion ever arose. He plans on meeting Jordan in Venezuela, but he’s got a few things to take care of. He tells Felicia this might be the last time they ever see each other. Frank tells her he’s going to sign the bar over to her. This is not the first nice thing Frank has done and it won’t be the last.

Ray heads over to the trans station, despite a massive manhunt on him, where Lenny is waiting to meet Holloway. He finds Lenny and tells him he knows everything, what he did and why he’s there. Ray convinces Lenny to let him try something before he decides to kill Holloway. Holloway eventually shows up and sits down next to Ray, Lenny surreptitiously sitting behind them, listening. Ray tells Holloway he wants to trade the hard drive (he doesn’t tell Holloway the hard drive is empty). Holloway agrees that he’ll get Ray’s name cleared if he gets the hard drive and the land documents and they’ll put everything on Ani. Holloway also admits that Geldof is already on board with this and that Tony is his boss. He also reveals why they killed the Ostermans (Lenny and Erica’s parents). The mom had been seeing Ben and she became pregnant with his child. She knew too much about what Ben was up to and he decided to kill her. Holloway mentioned he wanted nothing to do with her, the baby or his first child Erica. At hearing this, Lenny “went bad” as Erica described it and begins stabbing Holloway. It was too much for mercurial Lenny to hear that not only did Caspere kill his parents, but he prostituted his sister, Caspere’s daughter, and possibly had sex with her. Chaos and gunfire ensue. Ani shows up just in time to stop Holloway’s guy from killing Ray. Both make it out okay, while Lenny and Holloway are gunned down by security.

Ray calls Frank and asks for his help. Frank invites the two of them to Black Rose, where they decide to go with Frank and meet Jordan in Venezuela where they can start over. Ray asks if Frank found out who gave him the false name. Frank tells him it was Blake, the guy he asked Ray to tail for him. Frank tells him he took care of him already. They decide they need cash. They can’t access their bank accounts without getting caught, so Frank enlists Ray to help him steal from Osip. While Frank and Ray go to acquire a small fortune, Ani breaks into Pitlor’s clinic and steal his files. Although the city wants to believe Ray and Ani are behind everything, they’re trying to build a case and collect as much evidence as they can to prove their innocence and make sure the right people pay for their crimes. Ani, however, find Pitlor dead, wrists slit. It’s another suicide set up. The case files are empty. Someone wanted to make sure Pitlor and his files didn’t reveal their secrets.

Frank and Ray, meanwhile, gun down a cabin where Osip is in the middle of a trade. They gas the place and make it out of there with two duffel bags full of Osip’s money. Osip, Frank makes sure, is dead before they leave. Frank sets his SUV on fire in a parking lot where he has two new cars waiting for him and Ray. They shake hands before departing. It’s a touching moment, for a few reasons, but it also demonstrates the level of complexity these characters bring to a milieu pockmarked with political corruption and inequity of justice. Frank, a bona fide gangster, pimp, murderer, drug peddler, etc., is one of the good guys; his reputation is better than most prominent law enforcement officials and politicians in the county. In a series with an undeniable gray area between decent and horrific, Frank’s character arc is surprising and satisfying.

As the two men are on their way to meet their women, they run into some trouble. Unable to fathom not saying good-bye to his son, Ray decides to stop by Chad’s school to see him. He parks his car on the street and walks towards the campus. Standing on the outside of the fence, he sees Chad on the playground, playing with the other kids, with his grandfather’s badge Ray handed down to him by his side. Ray is touched he’s carrying this around with him. They salute each other and Ray takes off. Before he gets in the car though, Ray notices a transponder under the vehicle. He doesn’t take it off, he knows they might find him anyway and he’ll lead whoever’s tailing him to Ani. He takes a moment to consider his options and decides he’s going to lead his tailers on a chase. He guns it on the highway, where he notices vehicles following him. He decides to leave one last voice message to Chad on his phone. He also calls Ani and tells her to get on the boat that will take her to Venezuela.

Frank is also tailed. At a stop sign, he’s wedged between two cars and consequently held at gun point by a Mexican gang. They take him to a remote part of the desert where he’s stabbed and left to die. He decides to walk back, despite bleeding heavily, to fulfill his promise to Jordan. He begins hallucinating, seeing visions of his father, unspecified men he’s undoubtedly encountered in his life and Jordan wearing that white dress they talked about. Unfortunately, Frank doesn’t make it.

Ray’s chase ends in a bloodbath. He stops in a dense forest where there’s plenty of thick trees to hide behind. He takes out the men hunting him, one by one, until he’s gunned down himself. The message he left for Chad never uploaded.

In the end, everything is pinned on Ray, the news outlets detail how he murdered a state attorney and a state police investigator. Gena gets the paternity results back. Chad is Ray’s son. Paul gets his a part of the highway named in memory of him. Tony usurps his father’s throne and becomes mayor of Vinci. Geldof becomes governor and is at the ribbon cutting of the new High-Speed Rail Authority business, in association with Catalyst.

It all seems doom and gloom until we find out what happened to the women.

Ani makes it Venezuela. There she talks to a reporter. She tells him everything she knows, gives him all her documents, contracts, photos, all the evidence needed to solve the crime Ray’s been accused of. She says she wants justice for Ray’s sons. As it turns out, Ani delivered Ray’s second son while in Venezuela. She and Jordan found each other, Nails still loyally protecting his boss’ wife, doing the best with the new opportunity they now have. It’s not the conventionally happy ending, but it’s one filled with a speck of hope. And with a finale so dark and tragic, this speck fills the void of despair like a lighthouse.