True Detective: ‘Black Maps and Motel Rooms’ Review

Hotel, Motel, Holiday Inn

Hotel, Motel, Holiday Inn

The penultimate episode of True Detective was full of action, reveals and…confusion. I literally have no clue what is going on with this conspiracy revolving around the death of City Manager Ben Caspar and for those that do…well, congratulations. There are way too many random names dropped in this case. Like…who in the fuck is Tasha? Holloway and Burris…no clue who these two are either.

The case started off with a fairly interesting story with that dude in the crow’s mask but ever since episode two when Ray was shot, there has been nothing fun or interesting about this mystery and it’s quite disappointing. As much as I hate comparing this season to last, it has become evident beyond a reasonable doubt that this mystery is no where near as fun and dark as last year.

That said, Black Maps and Motel Rooms certainly had its moments but on a personal level, it was simply way too confusing for me to enjoy. Unfortunately, I’d say it was one of the worst episodes of True Detective so far. Sad too because I was really excited about recapping this season, but it appears that even Under the Dome is more fun than this rubix cube. Enjoy the recap which hopefully makes a lot more sense than this episode did!

Hide ‘N Seek

The episode begins with our true detectives hiding out in a motel room after the events of last episode when Ani ended up murdering a security guard with her knife skills. This whole backstory about her being assaulted in the woods years ago has absolutely no pay-off for me whatsoever and I couldn’t be bothered even writing about it here. All we know is that Ani was kidnapped and assaulted and she still has some skeletons in her closet.

Ani is still all fucked up from whatever drugs they gave her at the party the night before and Ray’s solution is a classic one:

"You want me to roll a joint?"

Ain’t Ray the best? The answer to that is a definite yes and his absence in this episode is quite possibly why I wasn’t feeling it.

During their motel room conversation, Paul gets a message from someone and it’s pretty obvious these pictures came from Teague Dixon when he was spying on Paul the night he had hooked up with his army bro. This is why it’s never a good idea to commit adultery.

Dirty Laundry

This also ends up being the beginning of the end for our good friend Paul. It looks like his personal life ended up being his downfall in the end but more on that later. So Paul takes his girlfriend Emily and his moms to a motel room for some mother-in-law/daughter-in-law bonding. Too bad KFC doesn’t deliver.

Room Service

I’m going to attempt to recap some of the major findings from this episode but I’m going to be completely honest…I have no idea who some of these people are, why they are involved or what in the fuck is going on. First up, Paul ends up finding out quite a bit of information regarding the corruption in the Vinci PD. It looks like Holloway, Burris and Dixon were all involved in the 1992 homicide where those blue diamonds came from. If you don’t know who in the fuck Burris or Holloway are, don’t be alarmed because I didn’t either until I did a bit of homework. Keep reading to find out exactly who in the frig they are.

Second up, Ray pays Frankie another visit only this time it’s at his casino.

Table Talk

Ray lets him know about Catalyst and all the ridiculous and confusing real estate transactions. One of the properties was apparently transferred to the mayor’s son, Tony Chessani, whom Frankie refers to as a twist. Ray also tells him about the Russian, Osip, and this is pretty much going to put Frankie over the edge. Lost yet? Because I am. Hell, even Frankie is confused and no inanimate object is safe:

Frankie Rips Apart Table

Meanwhile, Ani also wants her sister Athena and her father to go into hiding while she continues working on the case. Ani lets Athena know about what happened at the sex party and she is kinda pissed about it because she had plans to go back to school. Probably for the better considering how much tuition costs these days.

We also learn more about Vera, the missing woman Ani helped escape the sex party. And who in the fuck is Tasha? Another random name-drop but I assume she was the one who ended up getting murdered in the cabin in the woods. Vera is super pissed about this whole situation as she says to Ani that she was never missing. She was doing what she loves best and I always say follow your passions since you only live once.

"Everything is fucking."

Why ruin a good thing, right? So Vera is also put into hiding and she’s none to thrilled about it. I guess the whole ‘getting her out of the sex party’ thing was a terrible, and pointless, idea after all.

There was lots happening but this episode, and season as a whole, did a terrible job of ensuring the viewer would have any clue of what is going on. And if there is one thing I dislike, it’s being completely lost when everything is supposed to come together. Shame on you, show!

Taking Care of Business

After learning about Osip and Tony’s involvement, Frankie goes straight to Blake in order to confront him about what is going on. And let me tell you, it’s about time Frankie went back to work!

Frankie smashes Blake

Because who doesn’t like someone getting smashed in the face with a glass of liquor in slow motion! Not a good day to be Blake the Snake. Blake tells Frankie that Osip and Catalyst have a meeting set up at the Crystal Ranch for a big cash exchange. And while Blake doesn’t know who is going to be there, he strongly believes that our Russian friend will be in attendance. He also lets him know that he’s taking the liens on all of Frank’s clubs. He suggests that he could work with Frankie and do a ‘triple cross’, but instead he shits on Frank’s carpet.

Blake the Snake

Frank also pays the mayor a visit to let him know that he is being fucked over by everyone around him, including his own son. After the mayor heads off, Osip makes a visit and lets Frank know that Catalyst bought the liens to Frank’s clubs and casino. I have a good feeling that Frankie is going back to his gangsta ways when he says “stick to what you know.” Osip tells Frank he can manage the daily operations of the casino and club but Frank is clearly not having any of it.

Blake wasn’t the only casualty either. We also find out that Ray has been framed after he goes to meet up with Katherine Davis. Apparently, someone stole one of Ray’s guns to kill Davis so I guess Ray is joining Ani on the run.

You had a bad day

This is huge because Katherine was the only one who really knew these detectives were on the case. So now, Ray and Ani are going to have to go into hiding or face some prison time now that they’re fugitives. Definitely not a good day to be a detective in Vinci Rock City!

Burn The City To The Ground

We still have no fucking clue who killed Caspar and it is beyond frustrating. Ani suggests that it couldn’t have been Holloway or Burris because that wouldn’t make any sense and I tend to agree since me and everyone else have no idea who these two are.

But first, Frankie is livid over Osip taking all of his property so he does what any gangsta would do and decides to burn the shit out of everything.

Burn It To The Ground

Looks like they weren’t kidding when they said the city was going to burn to the ground. I just didn’t expect Frankie to be the one to do it.

While Frankie is busy lighting fires, Paul ends up following up on those pictures of him and his old fling but it is pretty obvious that he is walking into a set up.

Meet and Greet

His old fling works for a security firm who has one client: Catalyst. Paul ends up face to face with Holloway, and as promised, in case you had no clue who the hell this guy was, here he is:


I certainly don’t remember this dude at all but that is probably because he’s barely made any appearances. So annoying. Regardless, Paul somehow easily gets himself out of this situation by pulling a gun on Holloway and telling his security team to drop their weapons.

"That was too easy."

In the aftermath, Paul’s former fling is shot and killed and just when we think he might actually get away, Burris shows up. You’re probably wondering who Burris is, just like I was, and here he is:


So I guess I vaguely remember him hanging out at the office but seriously, the pay-off for this reveal was a disaster. He ends up shooting Paul from behind and then kills our detective before he can reach his gun. Not a good day in Vinci for anyone.

Paul Blart: Dead Cop

Well, I guess there was one exception because while all of this was going on, Ani and Ray finally decided to make out.

Motel Make-Out Session

About friggin’ time these two hooked up! So there you have it…a completely confusing, complex episode that was really not that great. Sure, there was action. And sure, things were revealed. But without even really knowing who half these people are, like Burris, Holloway, Tasha and everyone else besides our main characters, the pay-off was just MEH! I suppose the one good thing about this series is that the next season would be a completely different case with a brand new cast of characters and hopefully the writers have learned something from all of the confusion. Are you just as lost as I am? I’m guessing yes! Also, did anyone really care when Paul was shot and killed? I felt absolutely nothing.


So after the previous two episodes, we get this labyrinth of confusion and I am fairly disappointed. So many different names being dropped, all of which have barely made appearances throughout the season. While I absolutely love Colin Ferrell and Rachel McAdams, they have been an absolute joy to watch, this mystery is easily the most complex case in the history of television and clearly eight episodes was not enough to do it justice.

Next Week

Next Week

Next week is finale night! Titled Omega Station, the 90-minute finale will bring an end to our story. Something really, really good needs to happen for me to call this season a success. While we have had some hits, there have been way too many misses, with Black Maps and Motel Rooms being the biggest miss yet. Check out the promo below:


4 responses

  1. Thanks so much for the compliment! I think you are totally right about the 2 kids who witnessed their parents murder in ’92! I forgot to write about that but I am willing to bet that those two are responsible for Caspar’s death! You solved it 🙂

    As for future reviews, I’d open to suggestions! Would love to hear some of the shows you want reviewed. I’m redesigning the blog too and plan on reviewing Fear The Walking Dead, The Leftovers and AHS: Hotel! Lots more coming 🙂

    Thanks for reading and I’m glad you like the recaps! 🙂

    1. Great! Those shows are perfect, especially The Leftovers (second favorite show right now). Glad you’re review everything I watch already! I think FTWD as well as the walking dead could make for some hilarious reviews as well as memes (your under the dome review is comedy gold). Only suggestion I would give would be Fargo. Surprise hit last year and hands down my current favorite show. Can’t wait.

      1. YES! Almost forgot about Fargo! Great idea.
        And my walking dead reviews are going to be as funny as possible because sometimes I watch that show and think “why the hell did they just do that!” Can’t wait for Fall.

  2. Spot on review. I was right there with you when I saw Halloway and Burris at the end of the episode. I had no clue who they were (vaguely remembered their faces) and had to go back and figure it out. It makes sense now but stuff like this should be pretty clear at the end of an episode. That “realization” scene was just awful. They literally just tried to explain everything this season in 2 minutes and it failed miserably.

    In regards to the whole tasha/vera story arc, I believe they were thrown in there to simply give us some kind of insight as to who actually killed caspar. I mean everything about them just screamed convenient. Ani just HAPPENED to become extremely hellbent on finding this Vera girl. And it turns out that vera just HAPPENED to be unwillingly part of a blackmailing scandal with tasha. And one of the photos just HAPPENED to have a shot of that laura chick, who looks to be the one responsible for killing caspar.

    Hopefully it all comes together a lot better for the finale. I’m thinking that the Birdman/killer is Lauras brother. Probably going to be someone we saw for a glimpse in the first episode. Remember any dude in his early 30s?

    Cannot wait for the review next week! Wish you did more show, but glad you do this and UTD. Beggars can’t be choosers.

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