True Detective Black “Maps and Motel Rooms”

We have four desperate people, trying to tread water in the treacherous murk that is Vinci. Nobody is trustworthy. Those that are tend to meet a grisly end. Those who have been pushed to their limits, seek revenge. Those who have been falsely accused are trying to do the right thing and set the record straight.

While Ani is fighting the effects of the drug induced haze she was put through at the sleazy sex party, Ray watches over her in a remote motel room. They still have to figure out about what to do with their potential witness, Vera, who is hostile and ungrateful for being pulled from that party. It’s put her in a precarious situation. She does reveal some pretty juicy information. Tasha, the escort that Ben Caspere favored, was taking pictures of these parties, in case she needed leverage. And Vera is unwilling to testify, should it come down to a trial. Tasha, the former escort, wasn’t the brightest bulb in the pack and for sneaking a camera into parties, she got killed. Ani, Ray and Paul have to figure out what to do with the crucial information about the land deals, the sex parties, corrupt city officials and the blue diamonds. Who to run to for help and trying to dispense justice in Vinci are like oil and vinegar; they don’t mix and in a town so corrupt and dirty, the fleeting notion of justice is a joke.


We see a side to Ani that previous episodes have not showcased: she’s worried and terribly concerned for her father and sister. Going to that party and using her sister’s name has placed them in danger. Eliot and Athena leave for Oregon; parts unknown. An APB has been issued on Ani; Paul and Ray aren’t faring well, either. Paul has taken his mother and fiancé to a motel room, as a safety precaution. I really got a bad feeling about that. Here’s a guy who stands to potentially get a promotion once this case is done; he’s getting married and he has a child on the way. It’s just too good to be true. We just know that the indiscretions of his past will lead to his demise.

Ray is about to meet the Assistant Attorney General Katherine Davis when he realizes that she’s dead – the victim of a gunshot wound to the chest. Guess who’s gun did the dirty deed? How convenient that a firearm from Ray’s home is now missing. Ray high tails it out there, driving like a madman, knowing that he, Ani and Paul are all in grave danger. If Davis is dead, and she’s the one that wanted to dig deeper into the layers of corruption in Vinci and wanted to expose all the fraudulent, criminal activity with the higher ups via her task force comprised of Ray, Paul and Ani, then the three of them have now been marked for death. Paul digs deeper into the missing blue diamonds and finds some pretty incriminating information about Chief Holloway and Lt. Burris. While I commend Paul for tracing back information on the blue diamonds, the deaths of the jewelry story proprietors and the connection to crooked cops – Holloway and Burris – a good detective should always make sure he has a clear view of all four directions and should absolutely make sure that he isn’t being followed. Remember what Vera said to Ani – “These men don’t play.”


With Ani being wanted for the murder of the security guard from the party, Ray being framed for Davis’ death and Paul being blackmailed with pictures of his tryst with Miguel, things just keep getting worse for our three detectives. You know that saying, “There’s safety in numbers”? Too bad Paul didn’t go by that adage; we see him take off in an attempt to retrieve these incriminating pictures. This leads to one last call to Ray. Ray feels funny about that call and urges Paul not to hang up. What transpires is a cat and mouse game through a series of abandoned underground tunnels with of all people – Chief Holloway. Although, this should not come as a surprise, given the fact that Holloway, McCandless and the Attorney General were all present at that drug addled and sleazy prostitution party. While Paul is more than capable of handling his own against all those men – one thing I found very troubling was the fact that he was prepared to give up Ani Bezzerides and Ray Velcoro – when threatened about the papers.  I thought they all had each other’s backs; I guess when a man is threatened and cornered, there’s no telling what he’d say or do to get out alive. Unfortunately, Paul shouldn’t have been too eager to bust open those doors without a quick perimeter sweep. Lt. Burris was waiting there, in the shadows.

While Paul was off in the attempt to retrieve the compromising pictures, Ray and Ani are together in the motel room. Glancing at photos and deducing that one of the women in the picture is Erica – Ben’s secretary/assistant – who could quite possibly be the long lost daughter of those killed jewelry store owners – they use a picture of the kids and hold it up to the pics of the men and escorts at the party. Another vital clue has presented itself. Ani and Ray sit at a table, facing each other, with the sexual tension between the two rising. These are two of the most broken characters in this series; both haunted by the things they’ve said and done in the past. Neither of them are saints; they’re lonely and scared for their lives, given the way things have turned out. They slowly give into their desires and put that motel room to good use.

Can we talk about who the MVP of the episode was? Frank Semyon. I’ve commented before on how I was rooting for him, in a roundabout way. Frank finds out the information about Blake running high end girls along with Osip. Can you just imagine the sheer frustration and anger that must be inside this man? Years of running clubs, a casino and other enterprises and all he wanted to do was go legit and have a stake in the railway corridor. He was trying to better himself – and every single thing that could go wrong for him this entire series has gone spiraling out of control. Frank demonstrates an icy determination to take back some of his lost power. First on his list – he gets some pretty crucial information out of Blake before he shoots him and leaves him to die a slow, agonizing death. Secondly, he makes inquiries about the blue diamonds and what amount he can fetch with them. Frank is making plans to get out of dodge. Do you blame him? I don’t. He goes back to the men who run the bakery and secures from them passports, a car and peace of mind. Of course, taking out wads of cash doesn’t hurt, either.

When Osip and company come to deliver the news to Frank that he no longer owns the club or casino, Frank plays it smooth; he’s pretty convincing about not wanting the mess of running these operations anymore – and Osip appears to be convinced. After all, it’s just “business.”  After making sure everyone is out of the casino, Frank packs all the cash, sets up some “gas leaks” 361434-td-preview1and lights a match. Or two. He walks out of there, never looking back. He does the same with the club. He has burnt, what used to be his empire, to the ground. And in a strange way, I’m glad he’s giving Osip and company a giant middle finger. Enjoy what’s left of your casino and club, asshats. 

The fallout of Paul’s death and stolen cell phone by Burris will have far reaching consequences. As for Frank, maybe he’ll make it out alive. And we all hope that Ray and Ani will bring the corruption to light and have the support and manpower to bring all the immoral forces in Vinci down to its’ knees.


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