The stars are starting to align in “True Detective.” Ray and Ani follow Betty, the mayor’s daughter, to a medicinal marijuana place. She is hesitant to speak to them, but after a bowl or two, she admits that when she was 11, her mother was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Her father had her committed, and she hanged herself while under the care of Dr. Pitlor – Caspere’s shrink. Betty doesn’t want to say any more, but she does tell them her father is a very bad person. The detectives go to Eliot Bezzerides’s commune, and he tells them Pitlor spent some time there in the early 1980s, researching the dynamics of communal living. Eliot also recognizes a photo of Caspere, who attended some seminars around that time. Ani found another link, this one between the mayor and Caspere. Both had soil readings from property up in Fresno. A visit up north and a meeting with an EPA agent reveals that the groundwater in the area was badly contaminated, forcing farming families to leave. But the land surrounds the planned high speed railway.
Paul is having a rough time. He wakes up, badly hungover with no memory of the night before, at Colter’s place. He is freaked out; more so when Colter insinuates that they had sex. He literally runs from the apartment and takes a taxi to work. The media has picked up on accusations of war crimes at Blackrock, and hound Paul about it. Later, Ray picks him up and Paul has a story about being robbed. Not sure if that is true or not, but Ray promises to get him set up in a new hotel. That night, Paul meets Emily at a diner, where she admits she is pregnant and is keeping the baby. Paul spontaneously proposes, not because it is the “right thing to do” but because he loves her. (And because it’s a great way to pretend you are not gay.) “I guess I love you, too” is her response, which sounds like she has the first line of her wedding vows. He kisses her and insists this is the best thing that could happen, but they both look miserable.
Things aren’t going much better for Ani, who is suspended from her post after Steve files a sexual misconduct report against her. Since he is a subordinate, internal affairs have to look into it. IA also found out she slept with her current partner, Elvis, but that was just once. Ani thinks if she were a man, they wouldn’t waste their time investigating; the guy heading up the investigation assures her that isn’t true, but also warns her that her gambling debts could also become an issue. She is, however, allowed to remain on the State’s investigation.
With little learned from pursuing the hooker connection, Paul heads to pawn shops, looking for anything belonging to Caspere. He finds a Cartier watch and the video surveillance shows that it was pawned by Marina Ruffo, a gal with a long rap sheet that includes prostitution. The fingerprints of her partner/pimp, Ledo, are also found on the watch. Dixon’s pathetic theory is that Marina slept with Caspere, noticed all his fancy stuff and reported back to her pimp, who set up the theft and murder. We all know this is a terrible theory, but that’s the best they have to go on for now.
Frank is going back into the old business. He is planning on running drugs out of the Lux Club and because of that, the baby-making has to be put on hold. Jordan struggles with this, but she also struggles with a fair amount of guilt. She suspects that an abortion may have left her sterile. The Ledo connection is apparently strong enough that Ray passes it on to Frank, who passes it on to his goons to investigate.
But the cops move in on this lead first – with disastrous results. Ani leads a team of about a dozen cops to find Ledo at his cousin’s warehouse, where Ledo crashes. She makes the decision to lead the team in without waiting for backup from State. As they arrive at the warehouse, gunfire rains down from a third story window. It is unexpected and takes out a couple cops right off the bat. The extended gun battle seems to be over when one of the cops finally lands a shot through the window and it turns out the warehouse is a cook lab. The entire top floor explodes in a fireball that can be seen throughout the city. But moments later, the shooter reappears at a second story window, with more ammo. He shoots Dixon, whose head explodes not far from Ani. Paul finally clips the shooter and Ani, Paul, and Ray move in on the warehouse. an SUV pulls out with four gangbangers, all shooting out the windows. The detectives try to pursue on foot and only succeed when the SUV runs into a throng of people who are protesting the new railway. The SUV slams into a bus, and the gangbangers spill out, shooting anyone and everyone. The cops finally take out two of the gangsters. Ani is out of bullets but luckily Paul caps the third banger who is approaching her. Ledo is all that is left. He shoots his way onto the bus and takes a hostage. Paul and Ray cover him from opposite sides, but Ledo shoots the hostage, so Ray and Paul empty their guns on him. When it is all over, there are at least a dozen innocent bystanders dead, and it looks like the only cops who survived the massacre are Ani, Paul, and Ray.
Despite this episode ending in a tremendous gun fight, it just didn’t amp up the season at all. I still have no emotion for any of the characters. I actually laughed when Dixon’s head exploded. The gun battle had no energy, and it ended with this weird freeze-frame. “True Detective” is still a solid hour of television, but it just can’t compete with season one.
You can check out the promo for episode 2.05 of “True Detective” in the player below. Titled “Other Lives,” the episode will air Sunday, July 19 at 9 P.M. on HBO.