What follows is an examination, recap, and review of the second episode of True Detective Season 2. As such, it contains spoilers for this season as well as the first season of the show. It also contains discussions of sexual violence and abuse, as these subjects play heavily into the story of the show.
“Other Lives” is largely about aftermath. The previous episode of True Detective ended with a massive firefight, multiple casualties, and one big dead end. Now, Ani, Ray, and Paul were forced to swallow the idea that the “Mexicans” were responsible for the death of Casper and that the case is closed. Of course, nobody really believes that. There’s more to the story. There always is.
The biggest problem this episode had was the fact that it was more than a little boring. Perhaps it’s unfair to judge it after the bombastic ending of last week, but we can’t help but feel like we are back at square one. The tone and general conversation of throughout was, “let’s really solve this thing.” We never got the sense that Ani, Paul, and Ray were not committed to solving Casper’s murder, so them rallying and deciding to dig in against the official conclusion was hardly a shocker.
The biggest hurdle they face is that two out of the three of them are not even investigators anymore. After the shootout, Paul was made detective, but removed from street duty. Ani was shuffled off to filing evidence and Ray quit. Apparently, no longer being a cop means Ray also no longer needs a mustache, so he quit that, too (#SaveRaysStache). The bureaucracy was doing its best to force these guys to move on, but they were not having it.
We did, however, get to spend a bit more time with one of this season’s darkest plotlines. Ray and his ex-wife were still battling out for custody when she announced the bombshell that she would be requesting a paternity test. Ray’s fears from the first episode are finally coming home. To top it off, Ray learned that they arrested a guy who they believe raped his wife all those years ago (and would thus be their son’s biological father). Ray is understandably troubled by this since he believed he killed the man responsible, a man that was pointed out to him by Frank.
Frank spent the episode doing what he has been doing for the past few episodes, trying to rebuild his empire. Nothing new there. However, one crucial piece of information came out when Frank was informed that there was a hard drive in Casper’s possession that contained “home movies” of important people with prostitutes. And other illicit activities. We’ve seen this hard drive in the second episode and we now have a motive for Casper’s murder. He had dirt on powerful people. Tale as old as time.
All in all, “Other Lives” only inched the plot of the season along. It was a letdown after the intensity of last week, but you can’t win them all. You have to have some calm with your storm, and this was it. Hopefully next week will pick up the pace a bit and get the season moving in the right direction again. Given the way things ended this week, with Ray confronting Frank, you’d think the next episode would start off with a bang. But hey, this is True Detective, trying to predict where things are headed is a fool’s game.