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Last night on True Detective, Ani "don't call me Antigone" Bezzerides, Ray Velcoro and Paul Woodrugh walked into an ambush that ended in the deaths of like ten cops (headshots!), half the civilian population of Vinci, and the man they were hoping to detain, Ledo Amarilla. Let's not even talk about the execution of that raid, or ask why those civilians didn't, I don't know, run the fuck away from all that gunfire? Instead let's focus on Ledo Amarilla, how he connects to the first season of True Detective, and what he means for the remaining four episodes of this season. The now-dead gangster's first name, Ledo, is just two letters shy of the last name of the man we saw in Season One stalking outside a swampy cookhouse in a gas mask and underwear—Reggie Ledoux. And Ledo's last name? It means "yellow" in Spanish. YELLOWWWWWWWW.
Names mean something in the world of Nic Pizzolatto. For a man who stops a scene so that a character can actually say out loud, "You have one of the largest auras I've ever seen," everything means something.
Reggie was the man holding several kidnapped children in his hideout, spewing nonsense about Carcosa and black skies before taking a Marty Hart bullet to the head. Marty's inability to hold in what Frank Semyon would call "black rage" forced Rust Cohle to fire off an AK and stage a crime scene so they'd come out looking like heroes—a narrative their corrupt bosses were more than happy to buy into, since it meant they could close the investigation on all them Louisiana murders. But Reggie wasn't the guy—he was the meth-cooking guy before the guy. Just like Ledo Amarilla.
So to a large extent, what happened in the second half of the first season of True Detective will happen in the show's second season. Ben Caspere's murder case will be closed, pinned on an underling, even though it's painfully obvious that there are larger powers at work and that Ledo Amarilla doesn't quite seem like the kind of guy to wear a bird mask and shoot people in the gut with a non-lethal riot control weapon; the three (true) detectives will be reassigned and put on new cases, even though they all have that something-just-ain't-right itch. And yes, we're gonna be doing some time-jumping. Just look at the dope new cut Velcoro was rocking in the Episode Five preview:
Wait. His mustache is gone too!? What the fuck. Damn man, I've been trying to keep an open mind about this second season, but it just jumped the shark. A Ray Velcoro without a mustache is not a Ray Velcoro. Anyways, what was I saying? I'm just so shaken right now. But yeah, it's pretty ironic how Season Two's largest criticism—that it's not enough like Season One—has been rendered obsolete.
Nic Pizzolatto is making a point with his anthology series. Even though the seasons will differ in setting, use of religion, and characters dealing with the overwhelming burden of masculinity, the message is always the same. In this world, sometimes your best self is also your worst self, and also, there are detectives who are forced to rise above the corruption, put their necks (and birdshot-riddled stomachs) on the line in order to solve the case. In order, one might say, to be true.
So if you're wondering where this season is going, just go back and rewatch the last four episodes of Season One. They are almost definitely better executed than this season's end will be. And as long as I'm playing prognosticator, I'm willing to bet that next week's episode is the one that features a massive orgy. You know, the one that The Hollywood Reporter described as, "colossal" and "deliriously vast." Get excited?