Post Show Recaps

True Detective | Season 2 Episode 5 Recap

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Josh Wigler (@roundhoward) returns this week and finds himself in an uncomfortable stare down with Antonio Mazzaro (@acmazzaro) and Jeremiah Panhorst (@jpanhorst)… because they need to talk.

In this week’s podcast:

Clean Face, Dirty Past: Ray finds out that cleaning up his appearance does not hide the ugly acts he has done.

True Detective is a deadly game…unless played with NERF guns: Teague Dixon may be dead, but his spirit is still alive and well.

Who is Paul’s daddy and what does he do?: As Paul gets ready for fatherhood, the guys discuss Paul’s own father, and how his absence affects who Paul is today.

The Way of the Gangster: Frank tries to justify all of his actions. Will the ends justify the means when all is said and done?

By Invitation Only: What steps will Ani take to get back onto this case, and what leads can she tackle that Ray and Paul cannot?

Josh, Antonio and Jeremiah also touch on the Chessani family, Pitlor’s condition after a visit from Ray, and the previews for next weeks episode. Plus, they answer YOUR questions. As always, you can discuss the show in the comments section below, or leave us your comments and theories at

Special Thanks to Justin Holcolmb for writing this week’s episode recap!

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  • Coach

    Is it just me or does every episode feel like a season of lost? The main characters start the episode on their own until something forces them to come together by the end. Then at the beginning of the next episode, they are on their own again until something happens that forces them to come together by the end. Then at the beginning of the next episode, they are on their own again….

  • Alex Wilpon

    1. The state attorney Katherine Davis said “I need people who aren’t going to ping on our radar” when Ray asked her why she was choosing the three of them. Why does she think the three people (or two if she can keep Ani confidential) who were directly involved in the Caspere murder investigation and the Vinci Massacre wouldn’t ping on anyone’s radar?

    2. Do you think Pitlor is dead? If so, won’t Tony Chessani and the people he works with notice he’s missing? If not, won’t they notice that he’s severely injured? What is Ray’s game plan here?

    • Not sure that Ray thinks in game-plans. He’s kind of like the Hulk; once he gets mad he just says, “RAY SMASH!”

  • ItsAdroit

    Real talk. Is this season crap or crap?

  • Dave_Bakker

    This season is getting a lot of negative reviews/comments. What is your favorite part of season 2?

    • Alex Wilpon
    • MustardCannon

      The ‘dream’ sequence with Ray, his father, and Twitty. It was really well done and offered another look into Ray’s psyche. Like when the imaginary father still made him nervous. Subtle but great part in the scene.

  • MustardCannon

    Hello detectives, I have a couple quick questions I would love to have answered.

    1. Why does Josh miss out on all the epic episodes? (*cough* Hardhome) I call suspect.

    2. Do any of you have a guess as to who Frank had Ray kill? I have to believe this whole thing is tied together somehow.

    These podcasts are essential listening through my work week. I always look forward to hearing your commentary after an episode. Stay frosty.

  • Ryan

    Hey guys, what do you guys think is driving Ray’s almost obsessive devotion to Chad? He knows that he is not his kid and Ray doesn’t seem to be the greatest guy, plus he and Chad seem to be almost total opposites. Is Chad just a way for Ray to justify his bad behavior and feel human? After he beat up the news reporter, someone he knows to be innocent and not involved in anything nefarious, he immediately went to see Chad. He also beat up the bully’s dad for Chad when he hadn’t done anything. What is going on here?

  • Interesting that they had a bunch of character development for Frank this episode, kind of trying to get you to see things from his perspective and then ending it by having Ray find out a decent reason to want to kill Frank. DRAMA!

    I’m also excited to see when we finally get to one of these parties up north and to find out more about the shack with all the vultures and crows. Season 2 has been getting more interesting for me, I’m still on board and want to see it through to the conclusion.

  • Angie

    Anyone else feel like the opening sequence next week will involve Taylor Kitsch waking up in his buddy’s apartment again? I feel like that’s what we’ve been seeing throughout this entire season: a rapid fire, push and pull on character development. Frank starts out in episode 1 getting ready to move on up to that deluxe apartment in the sky…oh wait, no, the shady superfreak city manager stole his money and he’s down in the trenches again (With the worst possible dialogue ever. “I didn’t ask for this world. I took it” Oy, just, oy.) And while this is happening, he’s doing a 180 on becoming a father/not becoming a father/becoming a father. Taylor Kitsch, too. We first see him repressed, and trying to be straight, then he has a night with his Black Mountain buddy, and then jumps back into the closet, dragging a really nice woman and their unborn fetus with him. Colin Farrel..good dad, bad cop…bad dad, bad cop…good dad, no cop…not a dad, good cop? I really can’t keep up. And I have no idea what we’re supposed to be doing with Rachel McAdams, and based on the charming sexual harassers support group scene, it’s clear, neither does Nic Pizzolatto. In fiction there are good mysteries and there are bad, and after 5 episodes, I can say unequivocally, this is a bad one. I am apoplectic about the louche nature of it all. I will of course keep watching because I need to know who killed Casper, but really, that’s dime store, paper back stuff.

  • StormOfSpoilers

    Antonio, can you do a whole podcast in the mayor’s voice? Maybe take a few power naps in between?

  • stephanie wanamaker

    i know you probably already recorded the podcast but maybe listeners can help me out here I feel bad that Pauls mom is a thief but why on earth would he hide 20 k in her place? what about a bank to get interest? if its money gotten through illegal ways what is wrong with the whole under the mattress thing? p.s who says stick? its nest egg! has Taylor’ Kitsch character ever made a decent decision in his life?

    • I believe he said “my stake” but yeah, he could have opened a bunch of smaller bank accounts to spread out his money if he was worried about it looking suspicious. I don’t think 20k is enough for the government to even notice, but then again I have no idea what they’d be looking for.

      • stephanie wanamaker

        thanks i guess I didnt understand his accent when he said stake and yes doesn’t make sense he couldn’t put it in 2 separate banks

  • stephanie wanamaker

    i think Ray likes Ani more than he thinks he did admit she was on his mind

  • Sylvia Aponte

    I feel like episode 5 should have been episode 3. Don’t get me wrong, I love delving into our detectives’ background but I want the investigation to progress and I feel like we are starting from scratch on the case. I have Frank’s wife on death watch compliments of the Mexicans for his disrespect at the club.

    • Antonio Mazzaro

      Good call. You can bet that open end won’t be staying open.

  • Angie

    Not sure how they’d go about identifying Paul’s Dad…In the scene with his mother he says she didn’t know who it was anyway and she didn’t contradict him…too bad, I had a whole Luke/Leia thing in my head…

  • nerfknuckles

    Frank is responsible for tainting all the land? He put in the work, he deserves his payday.

  • MustardCannon

    Another great analysis guys, thanks for the shout outs! I am smelling a hit with Nerf Detective. Get at me.

    • jeremiahp

      How awesome Mustard Cannon!!!

  • Great show Antonio, Jeremiah & John Fincher

  • Angie

    On Ani, and the other women in the cast…if Athena is there to get Ani into the party in the upcoming episode, and Frank’s wife is there in service of his character, and, I could argue, Ray’s ex-wife (including her rape!) is being used in the same capacity…the mayor’s first wife, second wife, daughter, the myriad prostitutes, the missing woman Ani and her partner learn about in episode 1, Taylor Kitsch’s mother and fiancee, even the actress who accuses him of sexual exploitation, if all of these women are there in service of their male counterparts…does it seem more likely that Ani, a main character who has been proactive throughout the season, will continue to have agency right up and through the finale, or is she there mainly to serve as the foil to Ray? Sorry, I’m down on Pizzolatto’s writing in general, and Ani has no character arc to speak of…so it seems unlikely that he’s capable of making her the hero of this story. (And I kind of want her to be) Great podcast guys! I’m enjoying these way more than the show!

  • Margaret Martinotti

    Here is a theory that I thought of after listening to the post show: what is someone (the States attorney or someone in Frank’s crew) changed/manipulated the evidence in Gena’s rape case and the real rapist is red head in Frank’s crew?

  • StormOfSpoilers

    Did anyone notice how the “tall” trees and buildings were making Ray look “small” after he talks to his wife? Is Ray about to get shot to pieces!? #shitRaysFatherSays.

    Also, whatever happens, mustache or no mustache, Colin Farrell deserves an award nom for his performance. I truly believe all the leads are playing at a high level, but Colin is taking it somewhere else. The expression of horror on his face after the news about the rapist really sets in gave me chills. I don’t want to see Ray die, but I don’t see his story ending any other way.

  • qcqc23

    I’m a bit late on the comment, nonetheless here’s what I thought of the scene in the “Safe Circle”.

    I didn’t get the feeling that this scene was meant as comic relief, but rather as
    biting satirical social commentary which I admittedly enjoyed.

    The scene opens with a few of the male detectives bemoaning the double-standards behind the sexual harassment complaints against them. The gist of their gripe is: “If we were better looking, the women would have been flattered by our remarks/actions and would not have reported us. It’s not fair that we can’t get away with what the good-looking officers do. The women should treat us all the same regardless of our looks!”

    The hypocrisy of their arguments is highlighted (after the moderator tries to get Ani to join in) by the comment of the slouching detective. He’s trying to look cool and witty as he delivers the line “Who would want her sexually harassing you? Am I right!?” He means it to be ironic as he emphatically clarifies: “It was a

    The greater irony is that this group of male detectives (they all seem to agree with Mr. Slouch), seems utterly oblivious to the fact that his “joke” exemplifies a frame of mind that is diametrically opposed to the argument that they were espousing only a few seconds ago. Clearly, in their mindset, what’s good for the gander isn’t good for the goose! It’s not fair for a woman to base her interactions with them on their looks, but they can totally judge a woman’s worth according to their perceptions of her appearance.

    I felt that Ani’s deadpan observations about her “preferences” underscored that, while both are negative, the more pernicious double-standards exhibited in this scene were not those of good looking/not, but those that underlie gender roles set by societal norms. In my opinion this message is in keeping with what appear to be two of the over-arching themes of the show (dare I say series): the abuse of women by men, and outdated societal norms for gender roles used as a means of social control.

    Of course this interpretation pre-supposes that Ani’s character is smart enough to consciously use incongruous remarks to make her points. If she isn’t, then the scene is an admirable example of dramatic irony.

    In response to Ani’s blatantly offensive and inappropriate comments, Mr. Slouch
    sits up and the rest of the detectives seem visibly turned on. Regardless of whether or not Ani was voicing contempt for their hypocrisy (I think she was,) my assessment is that she was also driving home her underlying principal argument: “There is no way that I would have to twist any of these misogynist fools’ arms to get them in the sack. They would happily leap at any occasion I gave them. The officer that (supposedly) reported me was happy to bed me, just like these guys visibly would be. I did not force him into a sexual relationship. Therefore I was set up.”

    I do find that, in response to the moderator’s disapproval, her use of Socratic irony, punctuated by the “Let her share!” interjections of the detectives in the “Safe Circle,” could be seen as a funny “drop the mike” moment to bookend the scene if it weren’t for her final look. Ani doesn’t appear satisfied or victorious. It’s
    a hard look to interpret (so like with everything else I just spouted I’m guessing) but she seems weary and downcast (???) at having to deal with such