The 'True Detective' Bird Mask Is A Key Connection

While we all wait on baited breath for the hopefully not tragic outcome of Ray Velcoro's shooting on Season 2 of True Detective , we need to talk about the person who shot him. Clearly there's a connection between Caspere's death and Ray's attempted murder. And yes, I'm calling it attempted because we can't be certain he's dead. In fact, I won't accept that he's dead until the series directly comes out and says so. Before Ray's shooting, he was investigating a lead given to him by Frank of Caspere's secret sex house when a man with a frightening black bird mask came from behind and shot Ray down, then walked up to the man and shot him again, this time in the groin like Caspere's death. If these two shootings weren't done by the same person or group of people, I'll be a monkey's uncle. So what does the bird mask mean, and what else connects these killings? Perhaps they are ritualistic in nature as the murders seemed to be in Season 1? Or maybe there's a deeper meaning connected to the person who was murdered.

Here's what we do know about Caspere's murder and Ray's shooting: They're connected. And that's about it. But considering Ray was shot in the groin, as Caspere was, we can safely assume that the person (or group of people if this is a cult/ritual killing) who killed Caspere is at the very least affiliated with the person who shot Ray. I would even take it so far as think the black bird mask was used in both killings — especially since it was seen on a seat of the car transporting Caspere's dead body in the season premiere.

So what exactly does the bird mask mean? It could be used in some kind of creepy cult ritual where Caspere is being killed by a group who uses a black bird as symbolism, like a raven which has been associated as a dark omen thanks to many ancient cultures and more famously thanks to Edgar Allen Poe's The Raven . But I have a couple of other theories.

This might be crazy, but perhaps the mask is actually Caspere's. As one of the women who would frequent Caspere's secret sex house stated, he was more of a watcher than someone who participated, and Ray even sees all kinds of high-tech gadgets mounted in the rooms for the specific reason to watch the acts he was paying for night after night. Ravens and other carrion birds like vultures are known for circling around their prey and "watching" them, many times to scavenge after death. So the bird mask would make sense for Caspere to wear on the watching side, and would be equally understandable for the killer considering the death and scavenge aspect. If Ray lives (which he'd better), maybe he can use his memory of the shooter (aka the mask) and question the women Caspere hired again if they've seen it.

Another possible option is that the mask is a symbol for the kind of person Caspere is, and the way he was killed goes hand in hand as well. Caspere has been described in two ways so far: A watcher and a purveyor of all kinds of sexual images, activities, etc. So again as a crow and other carrion birds do, they watch and they are thought of as harbingers of death. Perhaps the killer used this representative mask to watch Caspere, killed him and then tortured him in the two places on his body that he was most associated with: His eyes and his groin. The removal of the eyes also go hand in hand with carrion birds who scavenge after death. Why would the killer do this? Maybe Caspere watched something that he should have stopped. Maybe this killer has been watching Caspere and is disgusted. The possible reasons are endless. It's quite a macabre, horrifying, and symbolic way to kill someone.

But I know what you might be thinking, why try and kill Ray in the same way? Well Ray's shooting begins with a shot to his chest first then the extra shot in the groin, which could just the killer's way of making Ray suffer. Hopefully we will find out soon enough that Ray is alive and recovering and can help solve Caspere's creepy, messed-up murder now that he has a stronger lead than anyone else. My morbid curiousity is getting the best of me.

Image: Lacey Terrell/HBO