I Welcome Judgement: True Detective Season 2 Episode 7: “Black Maps and Motel Rooms”


Dramatis Personae

Colin Farrell as Detective Raymond Velcoro, Vinci Police Department

Vince Vaughn as Frank Semyon criminal and entrepreneur

Rachel McAdams as Detective Antigone “Ani” Bezzerides of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department

Taylor Kitsch as Officer Paul Woodrugh of the California Highway Patrol

Season Plot:  Upheaval ensues when city planner Ben Casper disappears just days before he was supposed to present plans for a multi-billion dollar light rail project.  When he’s later found murdered by the side of the road, his eyes chemically burned out, the crime brings together a disparate group of characters including a corrupt Vinci city detective, a highway patrolman with a tormented past, a career criminal trying to go straight, and a County Sheriff’s department detective with a gambling problem.

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Review:

At the end of last week’s review I anticipated and rousing final two episodes of this season of “True Detective.” After episode “Black Maps and Motel Rooms” I’m one for one, as it proved to be thrilling, with an impactful, if predictable, death.

“Black Maps and Motel Rooms” fits more of the puzzle pieces together. I’m confident now (at least 90% anyway because hey, it’s “True Detective”) that my initial suspicions as to Caspere’s true killer were correct. This murder was personal. It’s revealed that not only Dixon, Caspere, and Burris but Holloway as well, were in on the diamond robbery back in ’92 that helped springboard their careers. At least one of the children, Laura, infiltrated Caspere’s sex parties with the express goal of killing Caspere. However, I feel that someone else is working in tandem with her (her brother?) to help orchestrate this. How else do you explain Dixon being in the right place at the wrong time to take a fatal head shot? That makes me think that perhaps the resultant fallout with Frank and his loss of power and money wasn’t just an unfortunate consequence of a crime of passion. Despite the several big reveals in this episode, it left enough dangling for next week. (Side note: I wonder if there is a chance that Laura’s brother is actually Detective Elvis Illinca. Probably a longshot).

Frank on the other hand left no strings hanging when it came to Blake’s demise. In a season loaded with tense scenes and barely suppressed rage involving Frank, we finally see the beast unleashed.  That scene with Blake where he smashes the glass across his face was beyond epic. What’s interesting is that while there is rage, it is controlled rage. There’s no screaming. In fact there’s a point where Frank laments the fact that Blake betrayed him, referencing that when he first found Blake a fellow gangster told him to kill him. And how amazing is it when Jordan walks in to see Blake’s dead body and her only response is, “What do you need me to do.” That’s love. A strange, twisted love, but love nonetheless.

Now with Frank’s newfound information from Velcoro and the corroboration from Blake that Tony Chessani and Osip were in cahoots to take Frank out, he has no choice but to go OG on these guys. Frank’s subsequent actions throughout the show: misleading Osip, stealing money from the clubs and setting them on fire, and purchasing tickets to Venezuela, prove this out. One thing to note here is that Frank makes it a point to ask if the tickets are transferrable. I wonder if Velcoro and Ani might eventually end up with them….and Frank’s money. After all both are fugitives, and it’s going to be very difficult to prove their innocence now that Ani is wanted for flaying the security guard like Roose Bolton and Velcoro’s DNA is all over the car where Davis was killed. Speaking of: how messed up was that part? Velcoro’s reaction was priceless.

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It comes as no great shocker that Ani and Velcoro end up in bed together. They are two people tortured by their painful pasts, even if their individual agony is vastly different. What I did appreciate was that their intimate moment didn’t feel forced but rather a natural result of their relationship. Note I used the word “intimate.” The lovemaking is tender and diametrically opposed to the bestial orgiastic sex from last week. Do they love each other? Probably not. But there is a sincerity and honesty to their relationship that is matched only by Frank and Jordan’s relationship.

Unfortunately, Paul’s relationship with his fiancée Felicia is anything but. It’s a real tragedy that Paul’s never able to openly admit his sexuality. There’s a level of shame that’s insurmountable for him. “Black Maps and Motel Rooms” finally reveals why the homosexual aspect of Paul’s life was played up so much. His former comrade from Black Mountain Security (finally we know what Black Mountain is!) possesses pictures of their gay encounter and lures Paul in order to get the documents he stole. Blackmail is all over of the place this season it seems. In any event it was admirable that Paul didn’t sell out his friends when confronted with seemingly insurmountable odds. It’s a true moment of redemption for this character and for Taylor Kitsch as well. His final scenes prove to be his best from the season. It makes his murder at the hands of Lieutenant Kevin Burris even more devastating. At least he doesn’t go out like a punk. His final words of “Fuck you,” ring out with righteous defiance.

Next week marks the season finale of “True Detective” and while this season has been underwhelming, these last few episodes are gearing up for a riveting finale.

I just hope we’re not disappointed.

Line of the night: “In the midst of being banged by forces unseen, I figured I’d drill myself a new orifice. Go ahead and fuck myself for a change.” –Frank to his wife

Scene of the night: Frank’s confrontation with Blake. Just wow.

On a scale of 1 to 10 Colin Farrell mustaches this episode rates a 9.

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