True Detective – ‘Church in Ruins’ Review

Church in Ruins JPG

“That’s one off the bucket list. A Mexican standoff with actual Mexicans.”

Only two episodes left! And the plot has really began to pick up pace. Like the last episode a lot of plot details came together in this episode. Ok so maybe it’s a little late for some. But if you’re still here then chances are you’re staying till the end.

The biggest change in this episode for me was Vince Vaughn. A lot of criticism (mostly unfair) has been levelled at poor Vince. I have never disliked his performance, but at the same time he was never my favourite. But in ‘Church in Ruins’ he is exceptional. His conversation with Ray at the beginning, both men hiding guns under the table, was thrilling. His delivery of “Don’t you f*cking shoot me Raymond!” was awesome. Also his scene with Stan’s son was touching, with Vice comforting the grieving boy. Couple that with his anger when the Mexicans kill the girl, and you have a portrait of a very interesting gangster. Hopefully when the series is finished people will remember Vince’s excellent performance, and not the often convoluted dialogue that has held him back.

Things were pretty awkward in the Velcoro household this week. The scene between Ray and his son, Chad, would be pretty sad as it was. But throw in a women monitoring their every single word, as part of the supervised visitation, and things get reeeally uncomfortable. And does anyone else hate Chad? Poor Ray just wants some father/son time and all Chad wants to do is eat pizza and watch Friends. This scene was really well handled. A scene between two characters, just talking to each other in actual words people would use, it was delightful. I mean it was awkward as hell, but nice. Sadly this scene led Ray to a drinking/coke-fuelled night (A LOT of cocaine). The line between Ray Velcoro and Colin Farrell really blurred for a few moments.

The real meat of the episode was the exclusive party Ani got herself an invite to. People have been very interested in seeing this scene ever since it was announced porn stars had been hired for a colossal orgy scene. Now this scene seems to have been disappointing to some (although most critics seem pretty impressed). But honestly the complaint that there wasn’t enough nudity is a pretty dodgy complaint. The orgy scene, instead of being shot in the usual Game of Thrones BOOBS IN YOUR FACE style, went for a subtler yet horrifying feel. After infiltrating the party the girls are drugged with “pure molly.” And Ani has an especially bad trip, seeing a dodgy guy from her past who may or may not have molested her (whatever the result of this Nicky Pizzolatto will have to tread carefully). When the orgy does start it’s filmed in a hazy, out of focus way. All of the ‘action’ is in the background and the camera is focused in on Ani’s face as she reacts to the horrors around. It’s very well done. By focusing on Ani instead it seems all that much worse. The last fifteen minutes of this episode might be the best sequence in the entire series (although that may go to the dream in episode 3). Ani’s practice with her knives finally pays off when she stabs a Russian goon in a scuffle on the way out. It seems she’s never killed before and she’s going to be feeling more than the molly when she wakes up tomorrow. The escape from the lodge is awesome too and gives Paul and Ray something cool to do. The drift in the Dodge by Ray is the tip of the iceberg. It really is True Detective: Tokyo Drift.

I wish Paul had some more scenes in this episode. He was going on to be one of the most interesting characters and he feels neglected this episode. There are so many scenes in this episode of two characters just sat talking, and a scene between Paul and his wife-to-be would have been good.

‘Church in Ruins’ was an excellent episode. It ramped up the pace of the series yet again. The party scene was the sort of payoff that season one never really had. After all the hints to the ‘Yellow King’ and Carcosa etc etc, it was a little sad not to see more of that. But in season 2 we get to see the culty sex parties that have been teased all season. And this is only episode 6. The race is on to the climax in two episodes time. Things are making sense. So much that I wonder how they’re going to fill two more episodes. But it’s looking very promising, making up for a lot of the problems it suffered from early on. Don’t muck it up now Nic.

True Detective Unicorn

Reviewed by Jack 😛

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