True Detective Recap: 'Everything Is Papier Mâché'

Sure, he was no Jon Snow, but sending True Detective‘s Ray Velcoro to his almost certain end in the final moments of only his second episode? That’s cold, HBO. Like, north-of-The-Wall cold.

Though maybe we shouldn’t be surprised by the ruthlessness of a series that spends this week’s installment reminding us nothing, good or bad, lasts forever — including your junk if you’re a shady public official with a habit of cheating mobsters out of their cash.

Let’s review what takes place in “Night Finds You.”

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THIS TOO SHALL PASS | We open on Frank in bed with Jordan. He’s staring at a water stain on the ceiling, and as she draws him out of his brooding, we learn that his drunk of a father once locked him in the basement and went on a bender, then got arrested… meaning that little Frank was down there for five days, most of it in the dark and some of it fighting off rats who nibbled on his finger. “What if I’m still in that basement in the dark? What if I died there?” he muses while Jordan looks appropriately horrified. The near-dripping ceiling has him thinking about the impermanence of life — “Everything’s papier mâché” — and he’s got a nagging feeling that “something’s telling me to wake up.”

Know who’s definitely not waking up? Ben Caspere, the Vinci city manager who was found dead at the end of the season premiere. As Woodrugh, Velcoro and Bezzerides look on, a medical examiner determines that Caspere’s eyes were, indeed, burned out, that he had gonorrhea (lovely) and that he died of a heart attack brought on by trauma. And then, with absolutely no warning, we’re treated to a shot of the man’s mutilated Speedo area. Ugh, True Detective. (Side note: Take Ani’s reaction and multiply it by 500 and you have an idea of what my face looked like when I saw that mess.)

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ONE TEAM, MANY COACHES | All three cops are officially put on the murder case, though it quickly becomes clear that they’re all serving different masters. Basically, the state doesn’t trust anyone associated with Vinci, so they want Paul to be their eyes and ears (and strapping, smooth chest) in the investigation. Meanwhile, Ani’s bosses task her with keeping new partner Ray, whom they suspect is “bent,” under her thumb. Caspere’s death, the state officials say, “is a window into everything.”

Meanwhile, the Vinci mayor — who’s as toxic and corrupt as everyone else in that cesspool of a community — advises Ray to “control the sprawl, control the flow of information” and generally make sure things turn out well for the city. But should he try to solve it? Ray asks. Unclear. And to complicate things even further, Ray’s also working for Frank, who strongly implies that he needs to be kept in the loop — or else.

THE STATE OF FRANK’S BANK | That feeling that Frank had earlier? The water stains were right: As it turns out, Caspere took a bunch of the gangster’s money — under the guise of a short-term holding company, which would then buy into the rail project celebrated in the season premiere — but never bought into the rail line. So Frank’s out millions of dollars with no way to raise more (his house and the casino are already double-mortgaged), and he. is. freaking. He also really, really wants to find out who offed Caspere.

So Frank joins the ranks of people trying to figure out who killed the creepy little city manager, and he comes up with something of note: the address of a house where Caspere used to take hookers. More on that in a minute.

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‘YOU’RE NOT RIGHT’ | Paul goes to visit his mom, who lives in a trailer and is a little too handsy for my tastes, to tell her he’s going to be away for a while as he investigates the murder. He does the same for his lady friend, who has finally found out about the scandal involving the speeding starlet. As he packs his bags, their conversation quickly turns into a fight, which even more quickly turns into something truly ugly. The words “Black Mountain Security” come up again, but he shuts her down — “I told you, I don’t talk about the desert” — and she realizes that there’s not enough Viagra in the world to make this sham of a relationship worth her while anymore. “God, whatever happened to you, I can’t fix it,” she says, adding “You’re not right” and “Don’t come back” before he walks out the door.

And while we’re on the topic of painful conversations with exes, Ray goes to meet his son for a visit but finds his ex-wife, instead. The kid is terrified to be around him, she says, and she’s well aware of his little visit to the bully’s house. “Sometimes a good beating promotes personal growth,” Velcoro says, pretty much cementing his ex’s decision to petition for court-supervised visits from here on in. “You’re bad, you’re a bad person and you’re bad for my son,” she says, threatening to get a paternity test if he challenges her.

GETTING TO KNOW YOU | Ray’s terrible family situation comes up when he and Ani drive together. It’s one of the “rumors” Velcoro tells his new partner she’s likely to hear about him, that he killed a man who hurt his wife (we later find out this is true), he’s beholden to a mobster (we already know this is true) and that he has some terrible habits (duh). He only cops to the last one, and when she point-blank asks him if he’s corrupt, he simply bids her goodnight.

Also discovered during their first car ride: Ani wears a lot of knives to even the playing field between her and men; if a dude tries anything ridiculous with her, “he’ll bleed out in under a minute,” the petite badass promises. Ray’s response: “I support feminism, mostly by having body-image issues,” which gets a quarter-smile from her. (Runner-up for my favorite quote from that conversation is, RAY: “You know that expression about flies and honey?” ANI: “What the f—k do I want with a bunch of flies?”)

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RAY GETS THE BIRD | Frank and Ray meet in the bar where Ray passed out last week — did you notice the Lone Star neon sign/Season 1 nod on the wall? — and Semyon passes Velcoro the address, along with a vague promise that he can be Vinci chief of police next year if the investigation goes Frank’s way. In light of probably losing his link to his son, Ray is tired of their whole deal, but Frank’s all, “La la la I can’t hear you no seriously, shut your face I own you.” After Semyon leaves, the nice-and-scarred waitress is very sweet and a little flirty to Ray, who also takes off. Oh honey, RUN THE OTHER WAY.

Velcoro visits the house, which features a pool of blood on the floor and some disturbing, elaborate, full-head animal masks hanging on the wall, as well as a sex swing (at least I think that’s what it is, they don’t cover this kind of thing in my Bible-study class MOM) and a motion-sensing camera in one room. But before we can get a better look around, someone wearing a crow mask steps into the frame and shoots Ray, then walks over to the felled detective and fires again, at point-blank range, into his chest. Vaya con dios, Velcoro?

Now it’s your turn. What did you think of the episode? Sound off in the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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46 Comments
  1. A. D. says:

    Shocker!

  2. Chris says:

    Umm Colin was the reason I was watching this…

  3. MzTeaze says:

    Wow… That was quick.

  4. Holy crap! I yelled “WHAT THE H$&@!!” after that last scene!!

  5. A Cake says:

    You know that promo pic of Colin Farrell wearing the bulletproof vest that says “Police”? I don’t recall that in episode 1 or 2, so either he lives or that’s from a flashback. Maybe he was shot with rubber bullets? Had a vest on under his shirt? LOL. Not watching if he’s dead. His performance carried the first 2 episodes, McAdams is very good, but there are too many characters, the plot’s a mess and Vaughn doesn’t have the chops for this kind of dialogue.

    • Rachel Dunn says:

      THANK YOU re: Vaughn. i just don’t buy him in this role at all.

      • Eraserhead says:

        I don’t know if Vaughan handles it much worse than Matthew Mcconaughey – whom I found unconvincing as an existentialist, anti-natalist. However, Colin HAS been the one to watch so far with McAdams catching up to him soon I believe. I do hope he survives or is at least featured much in the remainder of the season as a plot revealing flashback – Colin’s got the edge that no one else has in season one or two. We shall soon see fellow devotees.

    • Isan says:

      If you think the plots a mess go watch Law and Order…the whole point of this show is to be different and unconventional in every way

    • Frank says:

      “There are too many characters”
      “Not watching if he’s dead”

      …these comments contradict, no?

  6. Whatever says:

    WTH HBO ! Sunday night on HBO is gettin a bit depressing.
    Hoping Ray was wearing his vest and it was a chest shot and not a crotch shot.

  7. Bryden says:

    I really don’t think that he is dead. He was almost certainly wearing a bullet proof vest, and also I’m 99% sure that there are scenes including Farrell in the promo trailers that have not happened yet in these first two episodes. I could be wrong, but I’d really be surprised if that’s it for the troubled cop.

    • A Cake says:

      “I’m 99% sure that there are scenes including Farrell in the promo trailers that have not happened yet in these first two episodes.”

      I agree. 99.9% certain.

    • Felipe says:

      There’s asecene in the promos where he is going up an escalator in mall or something, so either this scene (on the escalator) is a flashback (which I think it’s not since this series doesn’t seem to be using flashbacks) or Velcoro survived.

    • Steve Atcher says:

      I think that he knew how Caspere was killed from the autopsy of Caspere and went in prepared with heavy bulletproof materials under his shirt and underwear. It won’t surprise me if he survives, even if hurt. His name is Velocoro, a variant of velcro with an extra “o”, so maybe he has a knace for “sticking” aroune.

  8. Evan says:

    Look guys I know you are being hopeful but while a vest might have saved him from the first shot, the vest would be completely useless against a close range shotgun blast like that second shot! Only way he is alive is if those were rubber bullets!

  9. lkh says:

    Whaaaaat?!! Maybe it’s a dream (nightmare) sequence. :[ That was quick. Some of you think there’s a vest…hope you’re right.

  10. GuessWhat says:

    of course he’s alive, you goofs!

  11. Isan says:

    He’s listed as appearing in all 8 episodes. Also on the preview for next season, his boss says something along the lines of something something “if one of my officers is shot.” Shot, to me implies he survived, otherwise he would have said killed. He’s the highest profile actor on the show, I seriously doubt he’s gone…

    • Isan says:

      Preview for the next episode I meant

    • Colin says:

      i noticed that too, he definately would have said killed instead of shot.

    • Eraserhead says:

      Mmm…”highest profile” is arguable as that accolade would probably go to Vaughn despite his poor recent track record. Colin deserves better roles like this and is much more intense ( but not as funny which actually works against Vaughn here).

  12. Dr. Badvibes says:

    Saw that coming (cause you spoiled in on facebook before it even aired in my time zone).

    Anyway, beanbag round. Wicked bruises.

  13. Mickey Mouse says:

    If he’s being cautious enough that he wore a vest, why wasn’t he cautious enough to keep his gun out after finding a pool of blood on the floor?

  14. DavidSask says:

    Now that something has happened can it continue being so, Is it going to be more I CAN SPEAK, SO CAN I, OH LOOK ME TOO!? Most over rated show ever on TV!

  15. Dude says:

    I’d be more disappointed if Colin survived tbh. I don’t want to watch a show that produces cheap cop outs like that to troll fan reactions.

  16. Alan Wil says:

    No its Jon Snow all over again, is he going to come back as a zombie, no wait that’s the other show, it was good,

  17. Guys its not that hard to figure out, go to IMDB his character is listed in 8 episodes

  18. Kathy Felps says:

    OK, I did not see that one coming! With that being said, I certainly hope they actually didn’t kill off Colin Farrell in the 2nd freakin episode! He better stick around or I am gone!

  19. kritterlady says:

    Can we get some more of Rick Springfield as the ultra creepy doctor? So much potential for that character.

  20. Judy Norman says:

    Taylor Kitsch mentions something about Colin Farrel and his dialogue with him in Episode 4….

  21. Colin says:

    i think its important that he got shot with a shotgun, if he had armor on. Shotgun is not penetrating steel plate armor, but if he didnt have armor on, then yeah hes definately dead. Also, in the previews for the next episode, a guy refers to him and says “he shot my officer” if he killed Ray, he would have said “he killed my officer”. Also,they were selling the combo of Colin and Vince, if hes dead then there are going to be a lot of pissed off, mislead fans.

  22. Britta unfiltered says:

    Vince Vaughn is doing about as well on this show as I expected him to. Which is not great. Child abuse stories aside, his character is not interesting to me at all. They could have made a better casting decision here. I do find Rachel McAdam’s character interesting, despite the fact she likes to watch porn with the world’s creepiest expression on her face.

  23. That Viagra bit was very funny man…Yes. Shocker! But we all know he will live…Somehow.

  24. Steve Atcher says:

    Well, Ray’s last name is/was Velcoro, perhaps a variant of Velcro with an extra “o”. Based on that and that alone I’m going full wag on this and saying Ray will find a way to “stick” around!

  25. Gnote says:

    if you watch the sneak peak for next week the vinci LT says to mcadams my officer been shot damn right im on the scene notice how he said shot and not dead no way colin farrel is dead

  26. Look at leaked pictures from TD season 2 shooting. Colin Farrell in Police Vest with gun drawn. Seems to big a deal to be a cut scene from before his “death”. He’s alive, it was Rock Salt load or something.

  27. Kazi says:

    Don’t think Velcoro is dead ! If you look good , he enter in the house and when he see the blood , he put his weapon in the holster !!! Not normal at all!! He knows this place !! And they know eachother !! Maybe i’m wrong …if yes ;(

    • Steve Atcher says:

      Ray “Velcro” Velcoro knew what had happened at the apt. and the MO of the killer. I think he was either prepared for it with the densest underarmor in the appropriate places and/or was in cahoots with the offender to stage his death. For what purpose? That remains to be seen if this theory is correct.