The war was lost; the treaty signed. Indeed. Last night, True Detective aired its second season finale to the underwhelmed masses. I don’t want to sell it too short. There are some good moments in this episode. It’s no secret that this season has been rocky, though. Look at reviews anywhere (this site included) and you’ll find a slew of complaints about this sophomore effort. Too much exposition, weak characterization, and a plot too convoluted for its own good are common gripes people have toward what we’ve been offered.
WARNING: This analysis contains spoilers for Omega Station. Scroll down to “final thoughts” for a brief summation.
Omega Station seeks to tie in all of the loose ends of the plot that took place this season. The episode begins with Ray and Antigone both worrying about the events of the previous week, while simultaneously bonding over their own dark pasts. All cards are thrown on the table and they reveal who they really are to each other. I liked this scene. It helped to make up for that weird love sequence last time around. Eventually, Ray tries once again to call Woodrugh, only for Burris to pick up. Burris doesn’t bother hiding that Paul was dead (because reasons), and implores Ani and Ray to come out of hiding.
The two remaining detectives take some time wondering whether or not they should just abandon all hope and escape out of the country. To honor Paul’s sacrifice, they resolve to stay behind and achieve some small amount of justice they can. Once again, they take a brief glance at their evidence, and they suddenly have an all too convenient epiphany on the person behind the raven mask. This leads them to the orphan’s house, where Laura (better known as Erica Jonson), Leonard’s sister, spews a sob story about their troubled lives. We learn that Leonard is the one who killed Caspere, because he had turned his sister into a whore. Leonard intends to go down in a blaze of gunfire to kill Police Chief Holloway, as HE had helped to kill their parents years ago.
Ray heads to the new train station to try and stop the young man, but Leonard screws up everything anyway. Ani shows up to save Ray, and they make a quick getaway. Leonard is unceremoniously shot as he attempts to stab Holloway to death. It’s just a mess.
Frank Semyon does some investigating of his own and discovers that Mayor Chessani was killed in his pool. I don’t even know why. I’m assuming it’s because his son was pushing him out of the business or something. It’s hard to pinpoint what is really relevant and what isn’t, but Frank ultimately convinces his wife to hightail it out of the country, and promises to meet her in two weeks or less. He then comes into contact with Velcoro and they hatch a scheme to take out Osip and his guys. I don’t even really know if the show explains how they know where Osip was holed up, but they found the place regardless. They assault Osip in his cabin and kill pretty much everyone involved with the development deal. The only person really left at this point is Burris, but more on that later. During the shootout, Ani FOR SEEMINGLY NO REASON, heads back to Pitlor’s place and finds him with his wrists slit. I don’t know if this was the “bad guys” at play, or if it was Pitlor feeling guilty, and I don’t really care. It just seemed like a convenient way to show people what became of him. No mention of Ani’s family, though. They’re strangely missing for the rest of the show and are never heard from again. I know they left town previously for their own safety, but not even a little screenshot explaining what ultimately happened to them.
Things seem like they’re finally going to be okay. The majority of the threat that initially began this whole landslide had basically been dealt with. Clearly, it would end with Ray and Antigone living in South America while going on perpetual double-dates with Jordan and Frank, right? NAH. That’s not depressing enough for this show.
Frank gets picked up randomly by the Mexicans that he spurned in an earlier episode. I don’t think they were particularly involved with any of the goings on on the show. I guess it was just random chance. They bring Semyon out to the desert and take all of his remaining money for penance…or something. Frank’s pride gets the better of him when one of the gang members demands the clothes on his back. Against all reason, Frank lunges at the man. In moments, his friends are on top of Frank, and one of them almost casually stabs him right in the torso. The Mexicans quickly leave the scene of the crime and abandon Semyon in the middle of nowhere.
Frank doesn’t give up yet, though. For the rest of the episode, Semyon trudges alone through the wasteland as he struggles not to bleed out. During his walk of shame, he is taunted by former demons of his past in the form of angry hallucinations. Ultimately, he succumbs to his injuries as he sees his wife one more time in the white dress she promised to wear when they would next meet. I’d like to think this apparition provided Frank some small comfort in his dying moments. He got a small measure of justice for the way he was treated all season, but for the most part Semyon had it pretty rough. He may have been a crook, but dude just wanted to own some land. Is that too much to ask? Apparently yes, at least in the city of Vinci.
Ray is on his way back to meet up with Ani and get the hell out of dodge when he spots the exit that would take him back to Chad’s school. Desiring one last chance at seeing the boy he raised from birth, Ray takes the exit, and simultaneously seals his fate. Once at the school, Ray catches a glimpse of Chad hanging outside with a small group of friends. Ray is pleasantly surprised to see that his son had been carrying his father’s badge (Ray’s parting gift to remember him by) and had it proudly displayed on the picnic bench. They each share one final acknowledging salute and Ray heads back to his car.
That’s when he sees the transponder. Burris’ men had been staking out the school hoping for Velcoro to show up. When he wasn’t around, they planted the transponder on his car in hopes that he would lead them back to Antigone and their shared doom. Refusing to give them the satisfaction, Ray heads out onto the highway and calls his partner. He explains that situation and demands that Bezzerides get on the boat and ride it to safety. At first, she resists, but after calming her down a bit, Ray assures her that everything will be fine. Reluctantly, Ani leaves for brighter pastures, as Ray leads his predators out of town. On the rest of the ride, he finishes his recorded message to his son, saying that he is a much better man than he is, and the world would be a better place with people like Chad in it. It’s all very touching.
Once outside of town, Ray leads Burris and his men out to the woods and has one final showdown. Velcoro holds his own, but he quickly realizes that the odds aren’t in his favor. Before his final charge, Ray attempts to send the recorded message to Chad and hides his phone by the tree. Ray rushes out to meet his maker as he is brought down in a blaze of gunfire. In his dying moments, the camera pans to the phone, which depressingly shows us that the message failed to send. It’s likely Chad will remember Ray as a bad man, not a guy who made too many mistakes that was out for some small redemption. It’s a bummer.
Even more of a bummer, we discover that Ray was in fact Chad’s biological father, as Ray’s tearful ex-wife goes over the paternity results.Does that change anything? Not really, but is a little bit more salt in the wound.
The show ends with Ani spilling all of the beans to a reporter in an undisclosed location. It turns out that she had been retelling all of the events to this one man. He asks her to testify to her words in the court of law, to ensure justice is served. Having a new sense of duty, she refuses and dismisses herself, saying “this is your story now.” It’s revealed that Antigone now has a little baby Velcoro, and none other than Jordan Semyon had been babysitting them. The credits roll soon after.
So, what did we learn? What was the moral of the story? Well, I guess you could come to the conclusion that people just generally suck, and none of them are beyond corruption. Nearly everybody on the show had their own personal demons, and in most cases those demons led to their own downfall. Frank was plagued by his own foolish pride, Paul with his shame for being different, and Ray with his guilt over his own life choices. Maybe it’s not to dwell in the past. Be true to who you are, and figure out what’s important to you in your own life.
Season two of True Detective was ultimately a disappointment. I never had any illusions that it would come close to being as good as season one, but this just felt like a seemingly unnecessary story that wasn’t really worth telling. Too much exposition and backstory bogged down the first half, and it’s winding plot with everyone basically turning out to be the bad guy was needlessly convoluted and uninteresting. With so much going on, the writers couldn’t find a way to form a singular cohesive plot. I did enjoy most of the characters by the end, but I ultimately felt like this story easily could have been condensed into a two hour movie, and it could have been just as good, if not better.
Omega Station is a proper send-off for this somewhat dull sophomore effort. With some of the important side characters getting very little screen time, it was hard to keep track of all of the subplots taking place. The central antagonist is hard to pin-down, because there were so many people out to get everyone from the start. Still, some of the best moments of the season happened in this final episode, and it left me feeling remotely satisfied of the outcome. Considering how underwhelming the show has been this year, I’d call that a partial win…even though a small part of me feels like I wasted eight hours of my life that I’ll never get back.
What’s Good: The cast was great, thrilling action sequences, much better written than previous episodes
What’s Not-so-good: Some things were a little inexplicable, or a little too convenient, lack of any real payoff in the end, ultimately just another copy-and-paste crime drama
I have no idea if HBO will bring True Detective back for another season. Part of me hopes that they’ll put it to bed and be done with it. If season 3 does happen to see the light of day, I hope that they focus more on a tighter plot that can keep audiences entertained. This one was a little hard to finish.
Enough about what I think, though. What did you think of the finale? Let us know in the comments below. Thanks for reading!