It’s safe to say that this season of HBO’s True Detective has not been without its ups and downs. Granted, we didn’t really know what to expect going into things. We knew the characters would be different, the location would be different and the story would be different. And boy oh boy, was it ever different.

If the first season of True Detective was a slow burn, the second season came in bursts of action that sometimes felt completely out of the blue. Never was this more true than in last night’s finale, “Omega Station”, which followed up from the devastating loss of Paul Woodrugh in the penultimate episode. Ray and Ani were left to try and pick up the pieces after learning of Paul’s demise – and from the man who pulled the trigger, no less. Here are just a few of the moments that had our heads spinning. Big-time spoilers ahead. . .

We finally find out who was responsible for Ben Caspere’s death.

The 1992 robbery which put Caspere in possession of those precious blue diamonds also contributed to the orphaning of two unfortunate kids. We later came to learn that those kids grew up to be Lenny and Laura — the movie-set photographer and Caspere’s secretary, respectively. At the end, though, the story wasn’t really about the murder after all; in typical True Detective fashion, the story followed the still-surviving trio of Ray, Ani and Frank all the way to the bitter end. Which leads us to the next depressing part. . .

Frank is visited by the ghosts of his past.

We sort of had a foreboding feeling that when Frank and his lady-love Jordan parted ways, it might be the last time they saw each other in person. Our suspicions were confirmed when Frank was stabbed pretty brutally by the guys whose nightclubs he’d burned down. Not only that, he was left to die out in the desert — but not before walking as far as he could while bleeding out, having visions of his late father and Jordan in a white dress. “You stopped moving way back there,” she tells him, and only then does he look back over his shoulder to see his own body laying crumpled on the ground. ROUGH.

Ray is probably wishing he’d upgraded his phone.

In the wake of Paul’s death, Ray and Ani realize that there’s nowhere for them to go except Venezuela. They split up first, of course, which is never the right move, and Ani disguises herself by dyeing over her brilliant ombré bob, but Ray can’t resist fleeing the country without saying goodbye to his son first. That gives the bad guys the perfect opportunity to slip a transponder under his getaway car. Once he has the sinking feeling that he won’t be getting away, he records one last message for Chad and leads corrupt official Burris and his backup team on a merry chase into the heart of the woods. Unfortunately, the signal in those parts is terrible and only after Ray gets gunned down do we learn that his message failed to send!

Ani might be a new mom, but she’s still packing heat.

The tough-as-nails lady detective is the only one of our original foursome to make it out alive, but that doesn’t mean she’s safe. Turns out the reporter that Ray roughed up at the beginning of the season is the one who’s going to break the story about all the corruption back in Vinci — and all the lives that were sacrificed in the process. While she and Ray may have only shared one intimate night together, she later gave birth to his son — who she appears to be raising with her gal pal Jordan (yes, Frank’s girlfriend Jordan). Along with Jordan and Frank’s former bodyguard Nails, the wayward group heads out into the night after Ani swaddles her son and slips one of her knives into her boot, presumably to survive another day further away from all the evidence they’ve just left behind.

The second season finale was an especially bitter pill to swallow. Given the overall tone of the show it was difficult to envision a happy ending for any of our characters — and a lot of them were unfortunately sacrificed so that evil could presumably prevail. But if there were going to be any characters I was particularly rooting for to make it all the way to the end, it was Ani and Jordan. It was encouraging to see two ladies teaming up at the show’s end, even if their ultimate fate was left uncertain. Fingers crossed for a strong lady partnership by the time season 3 rolls around.

[Images via HBO.]