True Detective Season Finale Recap: So That's Who Killed Caspere

True Detective Finale Season 2

Loosen your bolo ties, because it’s time for a reckoning: Now that True Detective‘s second season has wrapped, was it as “satisfying” as HBO president Michael Lombardo promised last week?

In a moment, we’re going to ask you to weigh in on the anthology series’ second season finale. But first, here’s an overview of how the 90-minute “Omega Station” played out.

* Ani and Ray have the saddest hook-up ever, then fill the post-coital pillowtalk with her memories of being lured into the forest by that skeevy guy (“I was proud that he thought I was pretty”) and Ray’s recollection of killing the wrong man for raping his wife. She chain-smokes, he wrinkles his forehead, and yes, it’s as depressing as it sounds.

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* Frank sends Jordan away with $100,000 and a promise to see her in two weeks “or less.” Though she puts up a lot of resistance, she eventually goes, planning to rendezvous with him after he takes care of his “play,” promising that he has “one thing they don’t know.”

* Burris informs Ray that Woodrugh is dead, and Ray informs Burris that he knows everything. Weeks after everyone on the Internet did it, Ani and Ray then put together that the set photographer on the movie shoot is actually Leonard, one of the kids who was orphaned as a result of the 1992 murder/robbery at the jewelry store. They go to his house, where they find the crow mask, shells like the kind used to shoot Ray and surveillance photos of Lt. Burris and Chief Holloway.

* They also find Erica, aka Laura, chained to her brother’s fireplace. She confesses that she was one of the girls from the parties and that when she reunited with her brother, Leonard, who’d been raised in some rough foster homes, they conspired to avenge their parents’ deaths. Caspere was supposed to give them information but when Leonard got carried away with the acid, the crooked city official died. She was handcuffed at his house, she tells them, because she was trying to stop him from going to meet Chief Holloway to trade Caspere’s hard drive — which is probably blank, anyway, because of a failsafe that kicked in when they couldn’t unlock the password — for the diamonds. Ray runs off to stop Leonard. Ani takes Laura to the bus station and tells her to “lay it down” by starting a new life elsewhere.

* Ray gets to Leonard before the exchange and stands in for him. Holloway and Burris are surprised to see him but willing to deal if he’ll hand over the land documents and hard drive. The crooked chief spills that Caspere was having an affair with the jeweler’s wife — and that Laura was Ben’s illegitimate daughter. The news puts Leonard (sitting nearby) over the edge, and he attacks Holloway with a knife. Pretty soon, guns are being fired, Burris gets wounded in the arm and takes off. Ani swoops in and removes Ray from the premises without either getting caught. When the cops descend upon the situation, both Leonard and Holloway are shot and killed.

* Frank, Ray and Ani rendezvous at a secret room over the sad sack bar. There are a lot of guns there. The scarred bartender, Felicia, explains to Ani that Ray put the man who disfigured her in prison years ago, and Frank gave her the money to buy the bar but never asked for it back. (Side note: Yes, but why is the mournful singer/songwriter performing there for NO ONE?) Ani asks Ray if he’d run away if she asked. “I just might,” he says, and they hold hands, but she says nothing more.

* Working off Frank’s plan, Ray and Semyon head to the estate up in the mountains where the payoff is happening. Frank and Ray shoot a lot of people before killing the Catalyst guy and Osip, then making off with all the cash. They part ways with a handshake and an understanding that they’ll meet “down south,” then Frank lights the car on fire.

* Ani discovers that Dr. Pitlor killed himself. Or maybe he didn’t. Loose ends, yadda yadda. Ray calls her from the road and they are as close to happy as anyone gets on this show as they contemplate going on the lam together. But Ray has to see his son one more time, so he diverts from the plan (despite being a highly wanted man with his face all over TV) and is rewarded by seeing Chad sitting with his grandfather’s Lucite-enclosed police badge at recess. (Actually, not as sad as it sounds.) They salute each other from afar and Ray is returning to his car when he notices an odd reflection in the puddle beneath his car: Someone has planted a tracking device on the vehicle. He realizes that returning to Ani will lead trouble her way, so he calls her and tells her to take the files and recordings and “get on that boat.” He says he’ll meet her later, but they both know that doesn’t seem likely. She tearfully agrees to do as he says.

* Frank buys a lot of diamonds and picks up his new passport. He’s driving away when he’s kidnapped at gunpoint by the drug dealers to whom he promised prime nights at the club. He offers them a lot of cash but one of the guys wants his suit, so Frank decks him and gets stabbed in the side as a result. Then the dealers drive away, leaving him to bleed, hallucinate people from his past and die in the desert.

* Ray records a final, fond monologue for his son, drives the car until it’s on empty and then ditches it in the woods and takes off. Burris and some armed goons follow him. Velcoro dispatches a few of them before Burris and the gunmen who are left shoot Ray to death. And crappy cell service in the woods means Ray’s kid never receives his father’s last missive.

* On the boat to safety/freedom, Ani realizes that everything is terrible and cries.

* The murders of Davis and Woodrugh were pinned on Ray. Paul had a highway named after him. The rail corridor opened. Tony Chessani was named mayor. Oh, and that paternity test proves that Ray was Chad’s biological father.

* A year later in Venezuela, Ani meets with the reporter Ray roughed up at the beginning of the series and gives him all of the evidence. “It’s your story now. I told it,” she says. Then she returns to her hotel room, where Jordan is watching Ani’s (!) baby son. And with a knife in her boot and the kid strapped to her chest, Bezzerides and Jordan set out with Frank’s henchman Nails for the “long trip ahead.”

Now it’s your turn. Grade the finale via the poll below, then hit the comments and get talking! (Sample topic: Did anyone else laugh at Jordan’s “You can’t act for s–t” line?)

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