True Detective: Episode 02-05 Other Lives – Recap & Analysis


When we last watched True Detective, Episode 4 (Down Will Come) had ended in a bloody shootout. The streets with no names were filled with the bodies of cops, criminals, and people who were just caught in the crossfire. The gutters literally ran red with blood.

So when Episode 5, called Other Lives, began – the calendar had moved forward some sixty plus days. Nothing had remained the same, in terms of career, for Detectives Ani Bezzerides, Detective Ray Velcoro, and CHP Officer Paul Woodrugh.

Bezzerides was still a cop, still based in Ventura County, only she was no longer a homicide investigator. She was now set up as the uniformed desk officer of the Property & Evidence Lockup. Her bosses had also required her to attend group counseling to work through her sexual predilection…

Bezzerides: I like big dicks.... that woke up the room of her fellow  cop in group counseling

Bezzerides: I like big dicks….
that woke up the room of her fellow cops in group counseling

involving well hung men on the job. Meaning her fellow cops.

This didn’t mean she had stopped working the case; only it meant she was ‘investigating’ from her desk, rather than out in the field.

Velcoro had resigned from the Venice police force. He took Frank Semyon up on his offer to come work for him. Velcoro was now collecting overdue rents from the residents at Frank’s motel. Velcoro, now shorn of mustache, and 60 days into his sobriety looked much better. But is he a new man? Not really.

Especially when he had to face his wife in the custody hearing, and per the hearing officer’s instructions, a paternity test would be run.

Velcoro’s world would be crashing down around him – only it had already done so.

Paul Woodrugh had left the case as well. He was now tasked to the Fraud Division and his work was tracking down money landing in the wrong hands. He too wasn’t a happy camper.

He was also would get plenty angry at Mommy Dearest – who not only called him out about being gay, but had also frittered away his 20K stake.

He was full steam ahead in his new life with the pregnant Emily, Also on board, to help with the expected baby, was Emily’s Mom, played by Saundra Santiago, who some of you older readers will remember, was a detective, Gina Calabrese, who worked with Sonny Crockett and Ricardo Tubbs, on the TV Series, Miami Vice thirty years ago.

So there they are. Just when you thought they were all out, they got pulled back in. Katherine Davis, the State Attorney called them back on to the case.

She had enough power to deputize them as Special Investigators. She made promises to each of them – with Velcoro being told that a word from the State Attorney’s office might go a long way to resolving the custody issue.

This was an offer he could not refuse.

So – in short – the more things changed, the more things stayed the same.

On the other side of the street, Frank Semyon and his wife Jordan, patched things up, in a manner of speaking. Jordan had worked on the books of the Luxe Club,and had discovered that those books had been cooked. Never mind that, said Frank – we are starting over. Toss those books away.

Jordan told Frank outright that she wouldn’t be bearing any children at any time. neither sooner nor later, so that dream was done. Adoption? Maybe down the road. Especially since Frank had possibly found a way back into the land deals.

A few more pertinent facts emerged, as the story was now well past a recovery mode. It now had plenty of meat to chew on, and  with lots of momentum. The darkness from the hail of bullets – which had brought things to a dead stop (yes that is an intentional pun), was now history.

The diamonds had re-emerged, Dr. Pinter got beaten to a pulp by Velcoro, who was now stalking Blake (on Frank’s request) and that had led Velcoro to the fact that Blake was an extraordinary pimp involved with sex parties for the rich , the famous, and the powerful. His so-called second job.

So what had previously been clouded by the fact that the hard drive, currently missing, from Caspere’s Love nest, we now came to understand, that this most likely included surreptitious images from these very same sex parties.

All for one purpose – blackmail.

Also coming into focus was the land deals – a sharp mind need not be so sharp to see what was happening. The so-called toxic lands, which were deemed uninhabitable and without value, had been PURPOSELY MADE TOXIC, so they could be scooped up for pennies on the dollar. These lands would then become a part of the property needed for the rail link.

Frank Semyon had an opportunity to be made whole again. His dismal present, as a lowlife mobster, might soon find Frank all dressed in the proverbial ermine robes of the rich and powerful once again. But there is a fly in that ointment.

One Ray Velcoro. You see long ago, Frank Semyon had needed some one rubbed out, and had fingered, to Ray Velcoro, a certain someone as the rapist who had assaulted Mrs. Gena Velcoro. But now. with DNA testing, it has been made a known fact, that the man Ray had removed was not the rapist. Another man was, and he was a live and well, or maybe not so well, but he was presently in police custody.

Frank had given, no, make that intentionally given Ray the wrong man. Ray Velcoro has now but one thing on his mind – and that would be to question Frank.

So Ray heads over to the new Semyon residence, where Frank and Jordan, had made up, had make-up sex, and were relaxing in the post-coital mid day aftermath. A strong rapping on the door, loud and long to be precise, got Frank up to answer the door. Of course he had a hand-gun at the ready.

Who can that be? Yup – Ray Velcoro. Cliff-hanger and fade out.

Rather an excellent Episode in my view. Frank is back in the game, and Ani, Paul, and Ray are back in the game too. We meet characters that we’ve not seen recently like Dr. Pinter, Katherine Davis, and Ani Bezzerides’s sister. We hear, from the beaten Dr Pinter, that Tony Chessani is involved in the play for pay sex parties, and Frank had a sit-down with the Corporate honcho of the land deals, who told Frank that he could be back in the deal.

We learned that Blake has his own game that he’s running behind Frank’s back. Things are coming into sharp focus now, and we can see clearly that which we could not connect and or understand before.

I think the scene that concluded the episode, when Frank opens his door to find Velcoro, on the doorstep, will only be a prelim – with the major bout still ahead. Until next time…

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