At this point, the central mystery at the heart of True Detective Season 2 is so convoluted and arcane that only the most devoted fans (if there are any still out there) are still gathering clues about Frank's real estate deal gone awry and the murder of Ben Caspere.
But that doesn't mean it's too late for this season to pay off.
Sure, there are only three episodes remaining in a season that's been a mixed bag at best, but many were hopeful that last week's epic shootout signaled a sea change - a point when the tide would turn and these characters (and the case they're half-heartedly investigating) would begin to yield results.
Early on, "Other Lives" offered signs that this would in fact be the case. Observant viewers might have even noticed that True Detective Season 2 Episode 5 opened with a slightly different version of Leonard Cohen's creepy opening theme.
Maybe these new lyrics are some sort of clue! (Probably not.)
Still, it looked at one point as though the firefight at the end of True Detective Season 2 Episode 4 had had a lasting impact on our central gumshoes and maybe even renewed their commitment to the case that sometimes doesn't seem to hold much more interest for them than for the show's ever-dwindling fan base.
Velcoro is 60 days sober (or so he claims). Bezzerides is wearing a uniform and sarcastically discussing her love of giant dongs in a mandated therapy session. Hell, at one point, Ani even says that it's "never too late to start over!"
Unfortunately, for this particular season of this particular show, it might be.
For such a character-driven series, TD spent almost no time exploring the emotional impact that last week's massacre had on our core four characters.
Instead, we get intrigue about that missing hard drive that might contain photos of Vinci's bigwigs in some very compromising positions, as well as the revelation that the guy Velcoro killed for raping his wife was actually the wrong scumbag and may have been someone that Frank wanted snubbed out for different reasons.
Both situations promise some sort of payoff down the line, but right now, we don't know enough about either for them to carry any real dramatic weight.
It's never a good sign when we're more than halfway through a murder mystery, and yet the show's most dramatic scene featured Woodrugh confronting his mother about swiping the 20 grand he had squirreled away in her trailer.
There are a few problems with that scene, not the least of which is that Taylor Kitsch lacks the Emmy-bait chops to pull it off.
Even harder to swallow than Kitsch's over-acting, however, is the fact that we're expected to believe a guy who's been hiding secrets his whole life couldn't think of a better place to stash his cash.
That encounter aside, there was a lot to like about this episode from an acting standpoint.
Colin Farrell and Rachel McAdam's performances say more about their lives in the fallout of "the Vinci Massacre" than the writers took the time to express, and Vaughn is better suited to issuing terse threats than attempting to work his way through the verbose monologues that have become Nic Pizzolatto's trademark.
(We suggest changing the name of the show to Law & Order: SAT.)
At this point, the investigation into Caspere's murder has been officially closed (and one of the smarmy SOBs who was always lurking in the shadows is running for governor) but we know our true detectives aren't ready to move on.
Of course, there's a bigger question than that of who killed Ben Caspere. Namely, will there be an audience left to care when (and if) the solution is revealed. It's not a good sign that this meme has been making the rounds online:
But who knows? Maybe Pizzolatto will not only deliver a satisfying conclusion, but also (as some fans are hoping) connect this season's massive conspiracy to the one that was never unraveled last season.
If nothing else, the confrontation between Velcoro and Seymon sure looks promising...and at least someone finally kicked the crap out of Rick Springfield's smarmy plastic surgeon.
As always, you can watch True Detective online at TV Fanatic to see if you can make much sense out of this season.