Forget that hack Rick Springfield: What if The Beatles themselves predicted the outcome of True Detective Season Two—way back in 1969? Spoilers ahead.

Point: Play the Beatles’ “Revolution 9” backwards and you’ll hear a man incanting the phrase “Turn me on, dead man,” over and over during the first 40 seconds.

Point: Play the Beatles’ “Strawberry Fields Forever” at high enough volume and you’ll hear John Lennon saying “cranberry sauce” at the end—a phrase that sounds suspiciously like “I buried Paul.”

Point: Look closely enough at the Beatles Abbey Road album cover and you’ll notice that Paul McCartney—who happens to share a first name with True Detective’s Paul Woodrugh—isn’t wearing any shoes, a well-known sign of being dead.

Point: Woodrugh was gunned down at the end of True Detective episode seven, leaving an incredibly handsome face and body behind him.

Paul is dead. The true detective rams on.

True Detective episode seven, explained:

After an uneventful orgy, things are heating up in Vinci. Our detectives are holed up in a motel with the missing girl, who was reluctantly rescued from a life of having sex with old rich men for money. Ani Bezzerides is freaking the fuck out—rightfully so, considering she knifed a security guard to death the night before—and tries to do sex with Ray Velcoro for some cold comfort. This is a bad decision for both Ani to make as a professional dectective and Nic Pizzolato to make as a professional writer, and we are glad when Velcoro politely demurs.

Ray and Paul Woodrugh pore over a cache of contracts they ganked from the sex party, attempting to explain the documents’ significance to the viewer. Ray and Paul are not such great explainers. Here’s what you need to know: Eastern bloc bad-boy Osip Argonov and the mayor’s ridiculous son Tony Chessani bought up Ben Caspere’s shares of the rail corridor for cheap shortly after Caspere was murdered, and Frank Semyon’s lackey Blake helped them do it.

That might lead you to believe that those guys had a hand in Caspere’s death, but don’t forget about the fat drunk cop, Vinci police chief Holloway, and that other creepy cop you keep seeing around, lieutenant Kevin Burris. At the time of his death, Caspere was in possession of some rare blue diamonds whose provenance we’ve been led to believe will provide hints of his killer’s identity. To hear the detectives tell it, Holloway, Burris, the F.D.C., and Caspere were all involved in a two-decade-old jewelry store robbery that netted the diamonds in the first place and left two people dead. Caspere’s favorite hooker Tasha attempted to blackmail him with some photos that included a shot of the stones, and Holloway and Burris may have killed him to keep him from squealing. (If that’s true, they probably intentionally set up the F.D.C. for the headshot that did in him in as well.)

Get all that?

Meanwhile, Frank is beating the shit out of Blake, then killing the shit out of him, after divining that Blake’s role in his betrayal included the murder of “Stan.” RIP Blake, and RIP “Stan.” To relax after the murder, Frank arranges for the purchase of some fake passports and a small army’s worth of munitions, kills one of Osip’s henchmen, and burns down his casino.

Also, state attorney Katherine Davis has been killed, and Velcoro is framed for her murder, meaning that Ray and Ani are both fugitives now. After the initial head fake, they do sex for real, because they are lonely and afraid.

This whole time, someone has been sending Woodrugh photos of himself shirtless and having fun with his old war buddy Miguel. Woodrugh is closeted and engaged to a woman with a baby on the way, so this development troubles him, and when the blackmailer asks to meet with him, he agrees. He at first wisely suspects that the blackmail is connected with all the other weird stuff going on, and is about to spill the beans to Ray, but decides against it when he sees Miguel waiting at the meeting place, figuring a jilted lover is the worst of his problems. Whoops!

Look, weird coincidence, I know, but Miguel now works security for the Catalyst Group, yet another Vinci power-player with fingers in the Ben Caspere pie. The meeting is a setup, and soon Woodrugh soon has lots of guns pointed at him. Chief Holloway wants Woodrugh to give up Bezzerides’ and Velcoro’s location, along with the documents taken from the party, in exchange for the destruction of the photos. Woodrugh instead steals Holloway’s gun and kills nearly everybody in attendance. Miguel dies in the crossfire, which is sad because they would have made a cute couple.

Woodrugh makes it out of the building alive, but as soon as he exits, Burris is there waiting with a gun. After Burris shoots Woodrugh twice in the back, we see the bloody exit wound on his chest, and we know that he’s really, truly dead.

Who is Ben Caspere’s killer? How will the show progress without its best-looking character? Is the love you take really equal to the love you make? If not Paul Woodrugh, then

Who will be the true detective?

Just like last year, the show has been slow and deliberate to unspool its central mystery: Who will be the true detective? With one episode left, we’re no closer to knowing.

Listen: I’m exhausted. I’m no closer to figuring this out than you are, reader, and I watched every scene in this last episode like three times in a row. I cannot believe the next one is 90 minutes long. I’m just going to throw a guess out there.

The true detective is this guy.

Who the fuck is this guy?

Remember him? From episode 6? He was the guy complaining about the song “Fuck the Police,” by N.W.A.? And also talking about the jewelry store robbery?

This old cop’s lone appearance on the show marks the pinnacle of True Detective Season Two’s perplexing sensibility. More than art to be considered, or entertainment to be consumed, True Detective Season Two is a test to be endured. Can you hear what they’re saying without turning your TV’s volume past 50? Do you know what an A.P.B. is, and do you have a working knowledge of the films of Elia Kazan? Do you remember what Frank said to Ray over the barroom table four episodes ago, or what Ray said to Ani? Can you successfully track the intricacies of True Detective’s needlessly intricate plot?

Each time a new scene begins, you think to yourself: If I miss a word, am I going to be OK? Is this one of the plot-driving conversations that will leave me behind like a tenth-grader in calculus class if I start daydreaming? Or is it more fluff about Ani’s one-dimensional relationship with her father or Ray’s one-dimensional relationship with his son? Can I safely ignore it?

At first, the old cop seemed safe to ignore. Who the fuck is this guy, turning up out of nowhere over halfway through the season, swigging High Life and rambling about the L.A. riots? And then he mentions diamonds, and you realize that this is going to be on the test. So you watch, and re-watch, and still you don’t quite understand, but you’re a sane person, so you move on.

One episode later, it’s looking like the show’s most forgettable character delivered its plot’s most crucial monologue thus far. Jewelry store robbery, blue diamonds, two orphaned kids, Holloway, Burris, Caspere. Of course it was important! What does it all mean? Why weren’t you paying attention? You’re going to be quizzed on everything you learned these past seven weeks, and you’ve only got five days left to study.


Contact the author at andy@gawker.com.