Post Show Recaps

True Detective | Season Two Finale Recap

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Put on your white suits and break out your red roses — and for heaven’s sake, please make sure you’re not being tailed — as we dig into the final episode of TRUE DETECTIVE season two!

Josh Wigler (@roundhoward), Antonio Mazzaro (@acmazzaro) and Jeremiah Panhorst (@jpanhorst) are back together one last time to discuss the season (and maybe even the series) finale of TRUE DETECTIVE, called “Omega Station.” In their final episode together, the trio of True Detectives discuss the following:

Bye Bye Bye: Why did Colin Farrell’s ex-mustached cop Ray Velcoro drive off toward certain doom? What was the purpose of gangster Frank Semyon pulling off his heist, if only to get stabbed and left for dead in the desert? Was the ending a letdown for Ani Bezzerides? And can someone explain the purpose of Paul? Josh, Antonio and Jeremiah dig into all the different endings for the show’s main characters, and their level of satisfaction.

Mean Machine: The three hosts talk about the deeply dark ending of TRUE DETECTIVE season two, what it says about writer Nic Pizzolatto’s mission statement, and what we’re supposed to take away from it all.

Is That It?: Will TRUE DETECTIVE return for a third season, or will the negative reaction to season two prevent HBO from returning to the crime anthology series? Josh, Antonio and Jeremiah have divided opinions on the issue.

How Did Alf End?: No spoilers here, but that’s just a tease of the weirdness you’re in store for with the final episode of Post Show Recaps’ TRUE DETECTIVE coverage. Let us know what you think of the podcast in the comments section below.

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  • Lila

    After all the criticism Nic Pizzolatto got about female characters in Season 1, I find it really disheartening he did no better in Season 2.

    In the end, every female character was defined by her servitude or relationship to a male character. Jordan did nothing but serve in relation to Frank, Felicia in the bar was purely a tool to be utilized by Ray, Laura (Casper’s daughter) was motivated only by her entanglement with her father, Ray’s ex-wife Alicia only existed just to yell at him, and even Ani literally articulated her purpose in the closing moments of the series as being motivated by the memory of Ray. And to have her have his baby and only have her survive because she stayed home while the big boys did the work that got them killed? Disgusting. Ani was the true detective. We may get the world we deserve, but Ani and every other female character on the show deserved better.

    May the chauvinist Pig-olatto be permanently finished.

    • MustardCannon

      I think that’s a very fair read on how the female characters have been written, but from a male perspective I see it differently. A woman is not made less by the fact that a man needs a woman or vice-versa. Neither of those woman you listed needed the direct help from their matching counterpart.

      For example. Jordan’s role was EVERYTHING to Vaughn’s character. Even in death, the only clear motivation and voice he listens to is hers. That’s not a sexist thing. That’s love. She was always there trying to guide him away from his eventual demise telling him to take what they had to build a family of their own. Jourdan was a strong force throughout the season even though her story didn’t directly effect the main plot.

      Mcadams was fierce! Her character was as strong at the end as when she started. She was my favorite actor along side Ferrell. Just because her and Ray connected doesn’t mean it’s a random hook up for gender roles sake. I actually feel like the bond they created last night made her end that much more heartbreaking.

      Once again, your opinion is totally valid and I can see how people could view it that way, but to me, I feel like the woman were much stronger in this season.

      • Lila

        But you’re looking at the women from the vantage point of the men and how they effected with them. That’s precisely my point. At no point were the women given opportunities to define themselves outside of their interaction with men.

        Even beyond her relationship with Ray, Ani’s biggest defining interactions were with other men in her life- her father, her partner on the force, her ex-boyfriend, her rapist. Yes, she had her relationship with her sister, but what was the sister’s defining characteristic? That she was a sex worker who was objectified by men. Flip the script. Was Ray ever defined by his relationship to his ex-wife? Did that in any way inform him as a character? No. The man he murdered and the paternity of his son were what drove him, not the relationship he and the wife had.

        It goes even further. Paul’s mother was defined by her relationship to her son, Paul’s girlfriend was defined by her relationship to her boyfriend, Chessani’s daughter was defined by her relationship to her father, etc. The list goes on and on and on.

        • MustardCannon

          But Ray and Frank were defined by the relationships with their significant others. He killed the man who raped his wife and that was the catalyst to Ray’s downward spiral. Yes it’s to ‘serve’ Rays story, but he is one of the 4 leads. Would watching his wife work at an unrelated job or more shots of her and the new husband better service the story? Even though they aren’t central to the main plot, their presence and influence have everything to do with who these characters are. That’s why it’s called the supporting role.

          Again, I 100% see your side of it and agree with your points. I find it fascinating how many opinions and perspectives there are for this show. Say what you will about liking it or not, this show was certainly a discussion piece.

          • Angie

            I think maybe the difference here is that Ray and Frank are also defined by their relationship to each other-that was given major screen time; the two men are also defined by their relationships to their “careers,” plus Ray’s relationship with his father/son, and Frank’s relationship to the men in his employ/Caspere/the Mexicans/Russians, etc. We know nothing about Jordan other than her relationship to Frank and that she had other “surgeries.” We do get something of a family dynamic with Ani and her sister/father- but, after viewing the entire season, Ani’s father was only there to make the link to the sex parties stronger and as a conduit to the sexual abuse Ani suffered. Ani’s sister, same scenario- in fact, she even mentions in the scene preceding Ani getting on the bus to the party that Ani won’t allow any intimacy between the two. I think there’s an argument to be made that Pizzolatto gets a little closer to passing the Bechdel test because of Ani, but in the end, watching those last moments where Ray and Frank have real agency, make the decisions that will end their lives-no woman has any skin in the game.

          • MustardCannon

            I see what you (both) mean now. A very good point.

  • MustardCannon

    I thought this was a satisfying ending to the season. The characters were well drawn out and their flaws complimented the overall tone and direction of this story. Most of all, the actors all brought their ‘A game’ and it honestly kept me coming back. It became less about the plot and more about how these actors/characters developed through the story.

    I understand the hate it gets, but if people just turned of the ‘it’s gotta be better than…’ Statements, they would realize this case and life it’s self is just so much bigger than the individual characters.

    I wish we had more episodes to watch because I love listening to these podcasts. Until the next show (what is the next show?)

    Side question: I started The Leftovers last year and it depressed me so much I vanished (from watching he show). The season 2 trailer looked kinda good, but I wanna know if the show is worth the effort. Thoughts? (Feel free to use this as a plug for your podcast ;D )

  • 95rdd19

    from Reddit user divingstation:

    It’s Ani’s story. She was not caught, she crossed the line. The story’s told with facts (what she gives to the reporter) and lies (what Chessani feeds the media). The war was lost (everybody died), the treaty signed (the contracts).

    “My woman’s here, my children too.” Aside from Nails, the only main characters who made it out alive were women and children.

    But the most important part is “There’s truth that lives and truth that dies / I don’t know which so never mind.” Does Ani’s truth about the Vinci conspiracy live or die? It’s left ambiguous.

  • Alex Wilpon

    1. Did I miss it, how did the Mexicans find Frank?

    While the season certainly had major flaws, I never jumped on the hate
    on True Detective Season 2 bandwagon and ultimately I was much more
    satisfied with the ending of Season 2 than the ending of Season 1. Which
    ending did you walk away feeling more satisfied with?

    Is it better for a season of television to start strong and end weak or
    start weak and end strong? With the first, you probably generate more excitement and attract more
    viewers in the beginning but risk disappointing them in the end. With
    the second, you risk losing viewers in the beginning but satisfy those
    who stick through to the end.

    4. DMK: Mustachioed Ray, Stare down with Frank Ray, Cowboy Ray

  • TyreeBiggums

    I feel like the finale lost its way sometime after the cabin raid. Everything Ray does after seeing his son is fairly implausible and illogical. All the scenes after he died were also kicks in the gut just because (the failed audiofile being sent, the kid actually being his, ani having his kid). I’m going to pretend that Ani’s kid is actually Nails’ kid.

    I think the mexicans were probably going to kill frank after he gave up his suit anyway, so no major issues there. The way frank gets caught is kinda dopey though.

  • I think in the end everyone got what they deserved, except the new Mayor. I bet everyone’s going to enjoy that high-speed rail though, everyone wins!

  • How about for True Detective Season 3 they just air Twin Peaks Season 3? It can be a cross-over.

  • Jackie Tomayer

    I was so sad Ray died…. I wanted it to work out for him
    The episode cleared everything up but it was still a very disjointed season…
    Can you guys clear up why Paul was even in the story?!

  • DieJerks

    At this point would you be bothered if true detective didnt come back for a third season? Honestly i wouldn’t after season 2. It’s not that it was a terrible season of television, it was just mediocre, and i will probably give season 3 a miss if it does happen. Thanks for the podcast guys loved your work.

  • @Wharfrat1625

    This season has been an unrelenting series of body blows and I feel like it culminated in a larynx crushing throat punch last night. Shows like The Sopranos and Breaking Bad have shown me I don’t need a happy ending to feel satisfied with the conclusion of a series, but I’m unsure if I’m content with the ending we got here.

    Does Pizzolatto deserve some credit for not offering a half measure in terms of a brutal ending to a dark and tragic series or did he turn this season into a caricature of itself by making it a thankless and unsatisfying story where everyone loses?

    Am I alone in thinking the baby was Frank’s in the initial moments of that final scene before Bezzerides took him or was the “His sons deserve better” line enough to tip you off?

    Was the fact that everything was going to end disastrously for Ray too telegraphed to be surprising when he calls Ani on the drive back or did their scene together before the big heist give you hope that things might work out for them?

    -R Filly

  • Angie

    For the first time in eight episodes, I felt genuine anxiety watching a character, and maybe that’s a comment on the writing specifically, or the serial structure generally, but watching Ray make the decision to visit his son one last time was brutal, because I knew what he would do, and I knew exactly how it would happen because his father told us many episodes ago, and seeing that all unfold was a cherry moment in a milquetoast season. Below in the comments, other viewers think it was Ani’s story, but I disagree; It’s Ray’s, and I think with a little more time, he could have made Paul relevant, or explored aspects of Ani’s character unrelated to her relationship with Ray or her abuser, and I think the very complicated plot driving Frank’s story could have been trimmed, and it would have been coherent, but the stakes were never clear, and in the end it was really those few moments watching Ray that saved this season. The eight-episode model seems more difficult to pull off than even a 10-episode ala Game of Thrones is (Think what might have been accomplished with two more episodes) I might watch it again if they make a third season, but with so many other shows in the queue it might be a while. Thanks so much for these podcasts! Angie

  • I really wanted a spin-off series akin to The Fugitive with Velcoro. What did you guys think of Velcoro’s decision making from the moment he last saw FriendsFan1 onwards? I feel there were probably ways to shake his tail that he (and me) didn’t think of, and I was slightly disappointed with ultimately what was a third-defeatist, third-flight & third-fight approach.

  • Ryan

    Women and children survive while the men all die. What are we meant to take from this? And Ray goes from unable to conceive to a baby making machine. Will his sons repeat his mistakes while their (i use ‘their’ ironically) women and children escape? What are they going for here?

  • Steve Davis

    Why on earth was that stretched to 90 minutes? I couldn’t be happier when that opening monologue was over. All of that material was implied with last week’s ending as well.

    *Why did Ani let Erica go after her tape confessional. I’m sure we all know that wouldn’t have held up in court as that could have been recorded by anyone and she changed her name. Like many things this season, made no sense

  • Angie

    Refresh, refresh, refresh….

  • MustardCannon

    Woof. I’m shocked all of you hated it so much. Guess I just latched on to the things I loved about it (acting/atmosphere/shots) and didn’t care for the rest. I will agree that the writing was dog $#[email protected]

  • Ed Krimmer

    So the real question – do Farrell, Kitsch, McCadams and Vaughn join the roster as Exec. producers for S3?

  • SonsOf Scotland

    The idea that the NY Times is an honest organization is ridiculous. I love how this show also implied that giving this info to the feds would bail them out.
    Anyone still believing that these organizations are independent of the powers that be is in hard denial…

  • stephanie wanamaker

    listened to first half of podcast after finally watching the finale today and I feel like Antonio ! we were ripped of emotionally manipulated and underestimated ! the audience is a lot smarter than Pizzolatto thinks ! What happened to Ray was unnecessarily cruel and I don’t think Ray would have gone back into his car when he was dying to get back to ani ! the phone message was mean! what was the purpose of Frank uttering the classic line when the lights go out it will be me and prove his undying love to jordan if he dies anyway! the part when he was hallucinating his dad was effective though. I haven’t been this mad since the How I met Your Mother finale and at least that show didn’t kill off most of the main characters

  • xhockeyfan

    Frank died because he didn’t want to be humiliated. His pride was for him everything. It wasn’t about diamonds. I don’t like about show, that Rachel McAdams survived, i thought she will be killed by that scarewoman. But the show was decent, i don’t understand the hate but everyone is different. 😉