If you haven't watched the first seven episodes of True Detective Season 2 in preparation for tonight’s 90-minute finale, consider this your spoiler alert.
If you have been keeping up all along, then you know such a warning isn’t really necessary, as few viewers have any idea what the hell is going on, and the solution to the central mystery doesn't matter much, anyway.
(In fact, the question of who killed Ben Caspere may have already been answered.)
Even so, we’re gonna do our best to briefly explain what’s happened thus far, and attempt to predict the ending of this wildly uneven installment in Nic Pizzolatto’s anthological mini-series.
Here’s hoping it’s a bit more satisfying than last season’s Yellow King let-down.
Let’s start with the basics:
Ben Caspere was the city manager of Vinci, CA, before he “had his ticket punched” (in the pulpy parlance of the show) in the most brutal fashion imaginable. (We don’t know what’s worse, having your eyes gouged out or your genitals lopped off. Actually, yes we do.)
Our detectives are interested in solving the case for obvious reasons, and gangster/aspiring legitimate business man Frank Seymon (Vince Vaughn) is invested both emotionally and financially:
Caspere was holding a large chunk of his cash for a land development deal, and Frank thinks (correctly, it seems) that whoever offed the sketchy politico had an eye on taking down the Seymon business interests.
Are you with us so far? Good, because the plot gets far more complex from there:
To make a long story as short as possible, Caspere was some sort of weird sexual deviant who helped operate an underground prostitution ring.
In 1992, he played a role in the theft of some blue diamonds that were stolen during the LA riots. The heist left the owners of the store dead, and their two children, Laura and Leonard, orphaned.
After his death, the diamonds were found in Caspere's safe deposit box, and along with a hard drive that was apparently stolen after the Ray Velcoro was shot in episode 2, they serve as key pieces of evidence - not only for determining who killed Caspere, but also in the effort to shed some light on the shady cabal that runs Vinci.
Obviously, we're leaving a lot out (including a couple of important deaths: Pour one out for Woodrugh and the mysterious Stan.), but basically, connecting the diamonds to the Rich Dude Sex Ring and figuring out who killed Caspere are the central goals of our surviving detectives, both of whom are now fugitives living on the lam. (Like we said, it's a long, twisty tale.)
So who's the ticket puncher at the heart of this messy mystery?
At this point, the prime suspect seems to be Laura - one of the jewelry store orphans who now goes by Erica and seems to have served as Caspere's secretary (and possible sex slave) during the height of his corruption.
Of course, Velcoro and Bezzerides have already arrived at that conclusion, and since the press release for the finale promises that Caspere's killer will be definitively identified, we doubt Pizzolatto and company would hand us the answer in the penultimate episode.
So on that note, we guess it's a safe bet that Laura won't turn out to be the perp. As for the theory that Leonard shot Velcoro? Well, who knows! Say what you will about True Detective, it ain't predictable.
A tangled web of nonsense, maybe, but predictable? Never!
That said, we have some theories inspired not so much by the show's many red herrings as by its frequent (and frequently heavy-handed) thematic clues:
For starters, considering how often issues of sex and procreation cropped up this season, we wouldn’t be surprised if someone gets knocked up in the finale.
Will the suggestively named Seymon finally get his wife pregnant? Maybe Bezzerides will birth a biological Velcoro - after Ray croaks in heroic fashion, of course. (A dream version of his father did predict the boozy PD's death in episode three.)
Perhaps the gun-wielding birdman that shot Velcoro will come back to finish him off after he, erm….fertilizes Ani's egg.
Okay, we're getting a little carried away with ourselves.
After all, if last season taught us anything, it's that guessing what will happen next on True Detective is like trying to understand Colin Farrell's facial hair:
We remain intrigued largely because the decision making process behind it is a total mystery.
Tune in tonight to see how it all wraps up, and, as always, if you need to catch up, you can watch True Detective online at TV Fanatic.