[For True Detective‘s “Other Lives” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]
Ray and Frank consider new life choices; Ani and Paul go up the coast to follow a lead.
It’s moving day in Vinci and the news is all a bluster about the “Vinci Massacre” we saw in the last episode. Turns out the Attorney General, Geldof, is using it as an opportunity to run for Governor and that’s going to get some political panties in a bunch.
Velcoro wears his bolero tie this episode for the occasion of getting booted out of his house now that he’s no longer a “municipal employee.” He’s working for Seymon again. So, he strong arms a poor woman for rent at Seymon’s rathole apartment complex and immediately feels guilty about it. His shitstorm day continues with a wretched courtroom scene where his wife claims the rapist is probably the father of his son and she attempts to revoke his custody. Then Velcoro surprises all with the news that he’s sixty days clean and “ready to fight”. Go bolero tie. Go.
He does go. First to Seymon for more work. He’s gonna need more cash for the custody battle. Then late that night Velcoro whispers deep thoughts into a tape recorder for his son and drives to a fancy house that’s definitely been in at least two Entourage episodes. There he spies the “running of girls” (or what we normal people call prostitution) seemingly arranged by the Ray Bans and Dark Tan Bad Guy Shrink, Pitlor.
Bezzerides goes to sensitivity training and mouths off about big dicks in a circle of men in folding chairs. “Let her share!” they insist when the group leader gets testy about her dirty talk. Then she visits the woman from a previous episode with a missing sister, Vera, and lands some pictures from one of those fancy “escort parties” we’ve been hearing so much about. Among the pics are blue diamonds and creepy Fred Jenkins, the Senator. Afterward we’re back at that David Lynchean bar where Antigone takes Seymon’s usual position sitting across from Velcoro. She says they couldn’t have really cleared the Caspere case and shows him pics from the party. It’s as if she’s playing Velcoro’s role in the show now, drinking heavily and going on with lamentations about how nobody cares. But the two of them are off the case now and Velcoro insists that he’s trying to limit the number of people he can disappoint and that sends her away. He misses Bezzerides, though, and even tells her so but she’s in too much of a Velcoro-type mood to take note.
Woodrugh starts out sitting across the table from the actress who lied and got him taken off his beloved cop bike. He’s appropriately bitter and she’s the same bitch. Speaking of bitches, in Woodrugh’s very next scene his mother reminds him what an idiot he is, calling him names in between drinking her feelings. Turns out she spent all twenty thousand dollars of his hidden money without mentioning it to him and offers no apologies. In fact, why apologize when you can be cruel and hateful to the son you’ve clearly failed? She can’t answer that one.
The State Attorney pulls together the trio for a meeting to discuss finding Caspere’s killer for real this time. She’s pissed about Geldolf running for Governor and thus is on a mission for “truth” with this confidential investigation. The band’s getting back together, guys! Velcoro is resistant until the State Attorney makes it clear she can help him get his kid back. Suddenly he’s got all kinds of intel and they’re a team of three again. Bezzerides and Woodrugh are happy to join and jump right back into work.
But Velcoro asks the State Attorney why she changed her mind about him and gets more news than he can handle. They caught the guy who raped his wife and the DNA matched her kit along with several other rapes so it’s a sure thing. The guy will get life, which is good news but there’s a lot of bad news too. Not only is this probably why his wife is inquiring now about her son’s biological father… but Velcoro thought he killed the rapist which means he killed the wrong guy.
He gave up drugs so he can’t disappear into that world anymore but he can beat somebody up and that’s always been a great escape for Velcoro. So, he drives out to Pitlor’s and knocks off his mirrored sunglasses then asks pointed questions in between pounding Pitlor’s turns-out-to-be-Rick-Springfield face. That’s a pity, such a pretty face. Pitlor spits out some bloody teeth along with a bit of info about Tony “a pimp with political ambitions” and blackmail videos of other important people including the President of the Catalyst Group.
Seymon watches the Vinci Massacre news on TV and mopes around his moving boxes – a gloomy silent spectre. He’s downsizing his homestead and in the dumps about it. Most of Frank’s scenes are with his wife, who “doesn’t want to be with a gangster” and also, by the way, she really can’t have kids. She lied about how many operations there were, not one but three, it seems. “So, who loves who?” she asks – all bravado. Then she pulls Frank’s heartstrings about his bad childhood and touches a deep nerve before bringing up that maybe they should adopt. He cries. Geez… makes a guy want to snuggle her in the next scene and maybe even catch a Lifetime Original movie to boot. In a subsequent scene they’re lovey dovey and discussing leaving the gangster life all behind, like couples do. But then Seymon says he wants to help the same guy Velcoro just found out is on a blackmail tape and we’re on high alert that Frank’s stepping in dookie again.
Bezzerides, no longer using e-cigarettes and smoking the real things these days, asks her sister to help her get into one of those fancy parties as an insider undercover. Turns out her sister just got into CalArts and the flush of success makes her willing to help Ani get into an escort party. So, maybe we’re going to see Antigone in something other than black jeans, a grey tee, and wrinkled brow – which she even wears to the beach. Woodrugh and Bezzerides do some investigating together in their last scene of the episode and end up following carrion birds to a bloody torture shack in the woods. Perhaps this is where Caspere lost his eyes.
Velcoro’s wife confronts him about why he told her he’d killed the rapist. She then explains that she can’t live with the fake stories anymore and needs to know who her son’s biological father is. He tells her Frank Seymon set him up and his wife doesn’t know what that means… but we do. In the final moment of “Other Lives” Velcoro shows up at Seymon’s front door with “We gotta talk… ” Indeed you do, bros. Indeed you do.