[For True Detective‘s “Down Will Come” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]
The detail works a pawn shop lead to close in on a suspect in the Caspere case.
It’s easy to forget that the main plot line of True Detective is a murder mystery… What with all the backlash, booze, and personal histories owning the majority of screen time; and this episode is no exception. Thankfully the opening credits remain a creepy reminder of the investigation as they are seemingly spoken by the killer himself.
The story opens as Velcoro and Bezzerides circle the evidentiary Caspere car while Velcoro argues the virtue of not giving a crap about how things have always been unfair in Vinci. We’re not supposed to solve this! It’s a setup for us to fail! etc. But Bezzerides insists she’s “just here to solve a murder.” Thanks for reminding us what the show’s about, Detective Antigone.
Bezzerides and Velcoro then visit Betty, who appears to be smoking something from a giant lit up dildo. She’s the one we only glimpsed for a moment in the last episode because she shut the door in Antigone’s face so fast. Turns out Betty had a crazy mom who got committed and killed herself but she doesn’t want to talk about that. Bezzerides then says her mother also died when she was a kid which draws out Betty a bit more so that she adds the fact that her Father was “a very bad person,” then leaves abruptly.
Frank Seymon gets back into drug dealing and club running even though the business partners he approaches seem reluctant to join a guy who appears to be circling the drain. Thank goodness Seymon knocked that guys teeth out last week, so he can prove his worth with vague threats about tooth decay. He’s going to get the club going again no matter how many teeth it takes.
Woodrugh wakes up from a blackout in his ex-boyfriend’s bed. “Let yourself be what you are. It ain’t bad,” his ex tells him but we all know Woodrugh disagrees and this time he can’t even ride his bike at 100+ miles an hour to burn off the self hate because it turns out his bike got stolen while he was visiting bonertown. Thus Woodrugh does a squat and lets some screaming on the sidewalk rip right before he gets confronted with the media and his “war crimes” … Geez can’t a guy shriek his self-hatred in peace for even a second? No, because now his girlfriend is effing pregnant too and of course she wants to keep it. But Woodrugh doesn’t see this as a bummer. He’s psyched. Yay! This means I’m straight. “I love you. Let’s get married.” His girlfriend is decidedly less thrilled with, “I guess I love you too.”
The deeply tanned shrink who never takes off the sunglasses, Irving Pitlor, gains momentum as a villain when it turns out he was the shrink that treated Betty’s mom right before she killed herself. Bezzerides visits her Dad to talk about how he and the shrink knew each other. The main takeaway from the convo with Antigone’s Father – Pitlor is suspicious with a shady past and ties to the corrupt Mayor. Also, the revelation that Velcoro has a Herculean aura comes as little surprise.
Bezzerides and Velcoro find out that circles of land Caspere was visiting right before he died are no longer farmable because of toxic chemical levels. An EPA representative calls them contaminated sites and thus “useless.” In the next scene these same circles represent the “last pork barrels” to Frank Seymon and we start to see the link between Caspere and Seymon’s dream to own all the circles of land even though he won’t have a kid to leave it to. One man’s useless contaminated tract of land is Vince Vaughns’s pipe dream.
Bezzerides puts in a good word for Velcoro and gets accused of sexual misconduct with her subordinate. She says, “This wouldn’t be happening to a man,” and is then suspended until the investigation into her naughty ways concludes. Her boss mentions her gambling debts and thus we see a bit more of the personal detritus that fouls Antigone’s mood. Lucky part is she’s still on the Caspere case because it’s “special.”
In a hellbent finale, Bezzerides, Velcoro, and Woodrugh lead a team of bullet-proof vested-cops through a dusty alleyway on their way to bust some heavily armed bad guys and face a shootout from Hades. Bezzerides chases an SUV on foot and shoots with such balls and abandon that it’s clear this job is all she cares about. She shoots until her gun is empty then reaches for the ankle knife, ready to go down fighting even if that means throwing a knife at a guy with a machine gun.
Suddenly Woodrugh’s value to the team becomes abundantly clear. He’s an ace shot and fearless under fire. In fact the three of them suddenly make sense. They’ve got nothing to lose. They put their collective asses on the line, covering each other with precision and collective competence. Even Velcoro, who insists he couldn’t care less in every other scene, puts his life on the line over and over in this scene. The shootout scene blows the rest of the show to pieces with shattering deaths of known characters, criminals, and a bus full of innocent strangers. It’s impossible to watch it without wondering at some point if every single person is going to end up dead.
The episode’s ending brings to mind the magnificent chase scene of True Detective Season One, an edge-of-your-seat race that trespassed people’s living rooms and backyards with amazing camera work aplomb. But this one’s different in scope. It felt like an old Western rising like a phoenix in the California sun. The scene drives home a new idea as the three stand in the dust, the only survivors of a gunfight that puts the Old West to shame. It shines a spotlight on the present day West coast with all its complications, heartbreak, and three cutthroat gunslingers. Maybe this team isn’t meant to fail after all.