Review: True Detective Season Two, “Omega Station”


“How Did You Meet Caspere?”

The above quote has haunted the entire season of True Detective’s second season, and the final episode “Omega Station,” was not different. Ben Caspere, the man whose grizzly murder sparked a series of events that brought us to the end point, seemed to know everyone in Vinci. Everyone, that is, except for the those trying to find out what happened to him. Ben Caspere’s ghost has hung low over True Detective.

The season two finale was given a full 90 minutes to wrap everything up, which, for the most part, is used wisely. In fact, the final brought many of the lingering questions to a close. Whether it was satisfying or not, however, is another story entirely. In terms of stylistic direction, “Omega Station” brought out the big guns. The final was one of the most artistic episodes that season two has had to offer, and for the most part it hits home on this front.

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It’s evident right from the start that Pizzolatto is going for something different. The opening scene between Ray and Ani was expertly done — the two in bed then cut to one watching over the other as they took turns sleeping. The two have a heart to heart, and both open up about their pasts. None of that, however, is especially revealing. Ani was abducted for four days as a child though she went along willingly after the guy called her pretty. There’s nothing else to learn there as she remembers none of it.

It’s sloppy, and worst of all, boring.

Ray opens up about killing the wrong guy, but we all knew that already and Ani takes it pretty well. It’s one of the better scenes of the episode, which, unfortunately, was followed by one of the worst. Frank and Jordan. Frank wants to stay and deal with Osip and tries to convince Jordan to leave by pretending that “the you and me thing” just isn’t going to work. Yeah. It plays out like a tired rom-com, complete with Frank throwing away his wedding ring and the sporting a befuddled look when Jordan does the same. It’s sloppy, and worst of all, boring.

Flash to the moment that we’ve been waiting for; Ani and Ray finding out about Paul’s death. That, too, falls flat. Ani says, “he was better than us,” which plays into the martyrdom that Taylor Kitsch was talking about in a recent interview. The scene is supposed to be sad, or at least have some emotional weight. But because emotion has been so hard for True Detective season two to pull off, it just feels wooden. When they move on, about three minutes later, it’s for the better.

One of the best moments of the episode is one of its simplest. When Ani refers to Frank as a gangster, Ray says, “he’s not actually not a bad guy.” As far as gangsters go, Ray is right — Frank is a pretty good guy. The relationship between Ray and Frank has been a highlight of the season, and it’s nice to see a little payoff in his defense of Frank to Ani. Ray later follows Frank in a plan to destroy Osip, which is one of the best action sequences we’ve seen in True Detective. Pure kinetic action.

Which is good, because it’s able to distract from the disappointing reveal of the crow man.

It turns out that there really was a crow “man” not “men.” One of the twins, Leonard Osterman — the weird guy from the movie set — was using the mask to get revenge on what Caspere did to his family. Frankly, it’s a tad hum-drum. There are no cabals, no cults operating in Vinci. Just a messed up dude with a messed up past wearing one of Caspere’s masks. Full stop.

Some of the best moments of the episode were the small ones, as previously mentioned. Frank and Ani meet for the first time at the “safe house” above the bar. Lera Lynn can be seen packing up her instrument and leaving. Ray records one more message for his son.

Let’s talk about Ray. After having his car hooked up with a transponder, Ray ditches all plans of escape. The ensuing gunfight offers some great gunplay by Ray right before his suicide moment. Much like Paul, Ray has been marked for death for some time, so it’s not entirely surprising that he doesn’t make it out. The survival rate of season two characters seems to be tied to their willingness to move on, which Ray couldn’t. He needed to see his son one last time, therefore sealing his fate. In one last pessimistic gut-punch, the message that Ray recorded for his son doesn’t send. This is True Detective, so everyone must be miserable.

Frank’s death is the best death of the season, and one of the best scenes of True Detective as a series.

When we see that Ray was actually the paternal father of his son, Chad, it feels like vindication. But it also feels like cheating. Chad looks nothing like Ray or Ray’s father, and it feels like the audience was just thrown a bone. Just a little bit of good news to take away from the crushing darkness True Detective, but it cheapens Ray’s conflict from earlier in the season. Now it’s just frustrating that he didn’t know.

And then Frank dies.

Frank’s death is the best death of the season, and one of the best scenes of True Detective as a series. It’s certainly the one that hurts the most. After Frank is left to die in the desert, he imagines a rotating cast of people from earlier in his life egging him on. His father, gang members, a man he killed. All the while he’s dragging his bloodied feet through the California desert. When an imaginary Jordan tells hm that he actually died several feet back, the look on his face is filled with pain and disappointment. It’s practically perfect.

At the very end, seeing Ani and Jordan together with Ray’s child migrating a crowd doesn’t exactly bring a sense of closure. As Ani says, everyone got away with it. She’s hoping, by talking to a reporter and giving evidence, which things will change. Maybe they will.

“Omega Station,” all in all, is a fine finale. It tied up the important storylines and brought all of the characters to a clear end point. But whether or not it was meaningful is up for debate. The mystery of the crow man is disappointing, as is the story of the diamonds that kicked this all off years ago. Still, despite some serious missteps, the finale of True Detective season two acts as a slightly better than satisfactory closing to the season. The finer details may be a letdown, but they’re all tied up well.

So, how about season three?

Next: Nic Pizzolatto took fan questions at HBO Connect.

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