I Welcome Judgement: True Detective Season 2 Episode 6 “Church In Ruins”


Dramatis Personae

Colin Farrell as Detective Raymond Velcoro, Vinci Police Department

Vince Vaughn as Frank Semyon criminal and entrepreneur

Rachel McAdams as Detective Antigone “Ani” Bezzerides of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department

Taylor Kitsch as Officer Paul Woodrugh of the California Highway Patrol

Season Plot:  Upheaval ensues when city planner Ben Casper disappears just days before he was supposed to present plans for a multi-billion dollar light rail project.  When he’s later found murdered by the side of the road, his eyes chemically burned out, the crime brings together a disparate group of characters including a corrupt Vinci city detective, a highway patrolman with a tormented past, a career criminal trying to go straight, and a County Sheriff’s department detective with a gambling problem.

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Review:

Phew!  After a stinker of an episode last week, it’s nice to see “True Detective” bounce back with “Church In Ruins” for episode six.  From the tense opening scene between Frank and Velcoro, to the climactic shootout at what I call the “Orgy House,” this episode was solid from start to finish.

I don’t know why the most tension filled scenes occur across tables this season, but I’m thankful for it.  The opening interaction between Frank and Ray is one of the best scenes this year.  However, unlike past similar exchanges in the bar, this one takes part at Frank’s home.  Additionally, the positions of the two characters are reversed.  This time Frank is on the right while Ray is on the left.  It’s a deliberate juxtaposition with Velcoro appropriating Frank’s gangster aspect.

I love how this scene plays out, with Frank telling Velcoro the straight truth about Ray, that he in fact already had a monster inside of him BEFORE he killed his ex-wife’s innocent rapist.  This is proved out when Ray demands the name of the person who gave Frank the name of the false rapist.  Later events, including Velcoro’s confrontation with the actual rapist and destroying his apartment, support the monster theory.  Frank and Velcoro possess a strange dynamic.  I’ve come to believe they are more friends than anything else.  Who else but a real friend would tell them the straight truth about something?  Or offer to cut them loose from their obligations?

Despite Velcoro’s blatant corruption, he redeems himself somewhat in that he gives up his son.  Perhaps he recognizes the monster within himself and doesn’t want to pass this along.  At least that’s my suspicion.  What makes this action so much more heart wrenching is that he CLEARLY is the real Father.  I mean come on!  The kid’s a ginger and the rapist is clearly Hispanic.  Do the math.

Paul in the meantime continues to chase down the diamonds lead and discovers that they were part of a double homicide during the Rodney King riots in the early 90s.  The part between Paul and the guy who worked the case was one of Taylor Kitsch’s better scenes of the season.  It’s too bad he couldn’t bring that amount of gravitas to the rest of the season.  One intriguing thing involves the children of this double homicide.  They witnessed everything and then went into the system.  Are they integral at all into how these final two episodes will play out?  They did mention the murderers were masked, and masks have played a big role this year.  However, it could just be a red herring.

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Frank meanwhile continues to play detective himself when it comes to nailing down Blake.  Marina Rufo, who pawned Caspere’s property, was paid by a thin, white man (most likely Blake) to hock the earrings and other items of Caspere’s to push the blame squarely towards the Mexicans. (Side note:  that line about the Mexican standoff involving real Mexicans was hilarious.)  It had to have been beyond frustrating that Frank’s new nightclub partners sliced her throat, otherwise he would have been able to confirm Blake was the one who gave her Caspere’s personal items.

The third act of “Church In Ruins” couldn’t have been any better.  I’ve referred to some of the sexual imagery and aspects of the season as bacchanalian.  The orgy sequence in this episode was like the festival of Dionysus.  I mean it was bang city wherever you looked.  Everyone could see everyone else…again reinforcing the voyeuristic motif that’s been prevalent throughout the season.  This sequence is also the culmination of Ani’s story arc.  It comes as no great shock that she was sexually molested as a child at her Father’s compound.  Not only does this explain her sexual predilections but also the resentment she has towards her Father.  However, where before she was a defenseless child, as an adult she was able to extricate herself from the situation…with a little bit of badass knife work.

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Furthermore, Ani saves her missing Hispanic woman. Is it convenient that she finds her at the party?  Perhaps, but it’s certainly not out of the realm of possibility.  My gut instinct is that she’s going to play a big role next week, perhaps as a star witness.  It’s not about finding Caspere’s real killer anymore. It’s about bringing these men of power and privilege down.

These last two episodes are shaping up to be something special.  I just hope last week was the nadir of the year and this season finishes on a strong note.

Rating:   9/10 Colin Farrell mustaches

Best Scene:  The opening scene in Frank’s kitchen between Velcoro and Frank.  Multilayered, tons of subtext, and tense as Hell.

Best Line:   Frank:  “If that’s the kind of thing that keeps you out of heaven, I don’t want to go.”

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