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True Detective watchers seemed to reach a consensus after last week’s penultimate season two episode: The show has revealed who killed Ben Caspere.
But even with that piece seemingly in place, there is still a lot to untangle in the season two finale Sunday.
First, the killers: In episode seven, Ray (Colin Farrell), Ani (Rachel McAdams) and Paul (Taylor Kitsch) pieced together that Caspere and several Vinci PD higher-ups — including Paul’s eventual killer, Lt. Burris (James Frain) — all worked for the LAPD in the early ‘90s and used the cover of the 1992 riots to rob a jeweler in Hollywood.
The owners of the store were killed in the robbery, leaving their two kids, Laura and Leonard, orphaned. Ani and Ray then pieced together that Laura is Erica (Courtney Halverson), Caspere’s assistant, and that she previously attended one of the sex parties Caspere and various other power players in this season frequent.
That was all laid out pretty plainly within the show, so it’s clear creator Nic Pizzolatto wants viewers to be thinking about Laura/Erica as a suspect. Various recappers and Redditors, however, have taken another step and fingered the movie-set photographer (Luke Edwards) from episode three as her brother and accomplice. It’s a circumstantial case — a glance as they passed each other on the set, his access to the car used to transport Caspere’s body — but it’s a pretty plausible one.
Further, as Frank (Vince Vaughn) tortured Blake (Christopher James Baker) for information about Caspere before killing him, Blake insisted that none of the powerful men he worked with ordered a hit on Caspere.
The theory doesn’t adequately explain why Caspere’s body was mutilated, or why it was propped up on a bench for the cops to find. It also raises one other huge question: How will it tie into the larger conspiracy that resulted in Paul’s death and Ray and Ani being fugitives?
Bringing Laura and Leonard to justice for killing Caspere will be at best a hollow victory for Ani and Ray. As murderers go, they’re a rather sympathetic pair, particularly up against the pervasive awfulness of the men who killed their parents. But if they also have little to no ties to the money and power behind the orgies and the fleecing of Frank on the rail-corridor deal, there’s not much of an in there for Ani, Ray or Frank to get at the higher-ups.
An outcome like that would resemble the end of season one to an extent: Rust (Matthew McConaughey) and Marty (Woody Harrelson) killed the man directly responsible for the murders of two young women but didn’t get anywhere near the network of predators that made Errol Childress into a monster.
On the other hand, anything involving Laura and Leonard could also just be an opening act.
Presumably, if Attorney General Geldof (C.S. Lee) and his cronies get wind of the notion that the siblings killed Caspere, they would move either to scapegoat them or shut the whole thing down.
That would leave Ani and Ray — and Frank, though his interests don’t entirely align with theirs — attempting to find some honest person in power (basically nonexistent in the True Detective worldview) who will help them bring down the conspiracy.
If, however, you go along with the idea that Leonard also has Caspere’s missing hard drive, then Ani, Ray and Frank might have some leverage. It’s conceivable that, Catalyst honcho McCandless (Jon Lindstrom) and the other money men on that hard drive would want to wash their hands of Vinci completely. Burris and his Vinci cohort take a fall, but the larger forces continue unchecked on account of their being larger forces.
Whether the ending redeems or reframes the season that preceded it remains to be seen, starting at 9 p.m. PT Sunday on HBO. It’s refreshing, however, to think that even if the Internet was right about naming Caspere’s killers, there are still places True Detective can take its story.
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