This episode focuses more on the characters of Taylor Kitsch and Rachel McAdams. While characters develop, so does this mystery. And by the end, we get one heckuva shoot-out.

We start things off with Vince Vaughn’s character arguing with his girlfriend about having a child. He’s against adoption and wants to wait until business is taken care of. He has priorities. Vaughn is more focused on Lux, his reclaimed nightclub, and how he can move some “product” through it. By the end of the episode, he seals a deal to do so.

I got the impression that Vaughn got out of the life of crime to go legit. With Casper’s murder, he’s forced back into crime. If my nerdy theory is correct, Vaughn turned to crime when Casper backed out of the deal… murdering him.

Taylor Kitsch’s Highway Patrol character awakes at his friend’s place. There’s still a mystery as to how far there relationship during war went. It seems like they share a sexual history.

Now, Kitsch awakes confused, hungover, trying to figure out what happened last night. He storms out, angered at himself, and screaming in the streets. This guy really hates himself. You can’t help but wonder why. What happened in his past?

Kitsch runs away from his “friend” and his past. He gets to his hotel and is hounded by media. Rushed by cameras, he flees the scene. They shout questions about Black Mountain.

What happened when Kitsch worked with this military contractor company? What tragedy was he involved with? This compelling backstory mystery continues to build.

Rachel McAdams’ past continues to unfold as well. We learn her mother died when she was 12. I wonder if her Spiritual Guru father was involved somehow?

McAdams talks with her sister, making art with papier mache (like Vaughn mentioned last episode). She wishes she could have been there more during the tough times growing up without a mom. Her sister painfully replies, “You could barely be there for yourself.” Did McAdams have a troubled past with addiction or something?

They also talk of memories of mom. There was a powerful introspective line of dialogue about memories here. McAdams haunts us as she says, “You don’t remember them. They remember you… Sitting back. Staring at you.” 

Their talk also reveals a clue. Her sister knows about parties that prostitutes are paid to attend — and Casper liked to party.

Meanwhile… Kitsch returns to his girlfriend, still battling with his sexuality, and with something to prove. Despite their earlier fight, it seems like they are going to try and make things work. Partially, because she’s pregnant.

This is the perfect opportunity for Kitsch. He proposes marriage and confesses his love. However, what should be a beautiful moment is tainted by an unsettling feeling. Something’s going to snap here.

Back to McAdams… She’s accused of sexual misconduct for her relationship with a subordinate (her bed-buddy cop from earlier). She can’t return to the Sheriff Station, but can finish out the Casper case.

The charge seems to be encouraged by the husband of that young wife she and Kitsch interviewed earlier. If they were onto something, it looks like these guys are trying to keep her away.

Back to Kitsch… Policework time. Kitsch checks for a Casper’s missing watch at a Pawn Shop. They find it. Fingerprints point to a suspect named Leto. This guy is important. He’s a pimp for these party prostitutes.

The dots are connecting. Our heroes gear up. strapped into Kevlar vests. They know Leto’s location. It’s raid time. We’re getting closer to finding out what really happened to Casper.

But first… A shooutout. This was truly epic, especially on a television scale. I’d rank this intense bullet-ridden sequence right up there with the epic shootout in HEAT. McAdams kicks into ass-kicker mode, spending every bullet.

Bodies drop like flies. Cops. Civilians. Bad guys. A building even explodes. By the time ammo runs out, few are left standing. And all McAdams has left is her blade.

the aftermath

Kitsch really shined here. This is his character in his element, action-hero mode. Focused. Calm. Cool. Delibrate. Kitsch waits for the perfect moment to attack his opponent.

By the end, our trio (Farrell, Kitsch, McAdams) must face off against Leto. He has a hostage. He isn’t messing around. Farrell and Kitsch have their guns ready, Wild West style. But they need answers. Leto is important. They can’t just fire. But Leto can. He kills the hostage. Our heroes have no choice. Leto is killed.

Our gunslingers look to the carnage. So many casualties. The street littered with corpses. All for nothing. They were one step closer. Now they just took one step back.

I can’t wait to see what twists and turns TRUE DETECTIVE takes us on next.

I’m still thinking Vaughn killed Casper, although that would still require some explaining. I’m assuming once Casper walked out on their deal, Vaughn snapped and reverted to his gangster days. If he was getting his money, Casper wasn’t going to live. Now, he’s acting like the Sheep.

I’ve been wrong before, but like my earlier reviews pointed out, I sense a Wolf under there.

the aftermath

What do you think?

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