For a season of television as convoluted as Season 2 of True Detective has been, things seemed to come together awfully fast in last Sunday's episode. During the course of "Black Maps And Motel Rooms," the various strands of the season's mysteries finally started to unravel at dizzying speed, making up for the time lost in the previous six sluggish hours. One of the many lingering questions, however, is just how much Detective Ani Bezzerides' father Eliot has to do with the murder of city manager Ben Caspere.
Last week, we learned that Lieutenant Burris was behind the cover-up of Caspere's killing, since any further investigation would have uncovered his own participation in a 1992 brutal robbery/double homicide. (We learned this when Burris shot poor, dull Paul Woodrugh in the back at the end of the episode.) We also learned that Laura, one of the children of the murdered jewelry store owners, was working as Caspere's secretary under an assumed name, and is therefore likely involved in his murder. (We learned this from Ani and her partner Ray Velcoro comparing two blurry snapshots taken 23 years apart.) From this information, we can theorize that Laura's brother is the one who actually committed the murder while wearing a bird mask, and that he's probably the set photographer we met in the same scene where we were introduced to Laura.
So what is there left to find out? We need official confirmation of Caspere's killer, we need to see Ani and Ray bring him to justice, we need to see whether Frank's coup against the Russians will be successful, and... that's about it, right? So why is the Season 2 finale, "Omega Station," a super-sized 90 minutes long? Perhaps because there's an even bigger revelation in store that none of us will see coming.
The last time we saw Ani's creepy, long-haired hippie father, he was driving off into the sunset with her sister Athena, getting out of town to prevent any personal blowback from Ani's infiltration of the Eyes Wide Shut sex party. But do we really think that's the last we're going to see of the extended Bezzerides clan? Given how widespread the corruption in the Vinci police department is, I wouldn't put it past showrunner Nic Pizzolatto to reveal that both Eliot and Athena had been killed by Ani's trusted partner Elvis on their way out of town.
But what if Pizzolatto has an even bigger twist planned? What if it turns out that Eliot was the mastermind behind pretty much everything that happened this season? About halfway through Season 2, we learned that Caspere was seeing a shrink named Dr. Pitlor, who was also the psychiatrist of Mayor Austin Chessani's wife before she committed suicide, and Pitlor, Chessani, and Eliot Bezzerides all used to hang out together at Bezzerides' commune back in the '70s. That's a pretty massive coincidence that hasn't really been explored yet.
What would be the point of giving one of the detectives investigating the Caspere murder a personal connection to the case if there were no intention on following up with it? The fact that Ani's father is personal friends with most of the key players in the case should be setting off alarm bells with viewers going into this Sunday's finale. Remember that there are essentially two different threads to this conspiracy: one involving Burris, Holloway, and Dixon's cover-up of the '92 jewelry heist, and the other involving Russian mobster Osip, Chessani's son Tony, and Frank's stooge Blake scheming to profit off the construction of a high-speed rail line.
Who's the one person that connects both of these threads? Caspere: he was the Vinci precinct accountant in 1992, and he personally stole Frank's buy-in to the train scheme before he was killed. What if someone was manipulating Caspere into these ill-advised schemes? Someone who had a close personal relationship with Caspere's psychiatrist, and therefore the potential to influence the mind of a weak-willed government official?
Season 2 of True Detective has been stuffed with references to Greek mythology, from Ani's and Athena's names to Eliot's Panticapaeum Institute. Do you remember your Greek mythology well enough to know who Antigone's father was? She was the daughter of Oedipus, the king of Thebes — aka that dude who boned his own mother. Taking the "Ani = Antigone" metaphor to its logical conclusion arrives at "Eliot = Oedipus." And guess what Oedipus did when he realized that he'd married his mother and killed his father? He gouged out his own eyes.
Now, I'm not saying that the season is going to end with Eliot gouging his own eyes out due to guilt over his involvement in the conspiracy or anything; I don't think the analogy is as simple or direct as that. But the parallel between the myth of Oedipus and the method of Caspere's death is too glaring to be ignored. To me, this implies a deeper connection between the case and Eliot Bezzerides that has yet to be revealed.
Or maybe last week really was the last time we'll see either Eliot or Athena, and I'm just reading waayyy too far into things. True Detective has a way of making people come up with theories as convoluted as the cases they're trying to solve, doesn't it?
Images: HBO (2), Lacey Terrell/HBO; mametupa/Tumblr (2)