TV Show Review

TV Review: TRUE DETECTIVE: Season 2, Episode 6: Church in Ruins [HBO]

Colin Farrell Vince Vaughn Church in Ruins

HBO’s True Detective Church in Ruins TV Show ReviewTrue Detective: Season 2, Episode 6: TV Show Review Church in Ruins didn’t waste any time kicking events into high gear. After an enraged Ray (Colin Farrell) showed up at Frank’s (Vince Vaughn) door last week, viewers were anxious to discover if their confrontation would result in some of Ray’s trademark brass-knuckled violence. Rather than play it cool, Ray put everything he knew right out on front street, making Frank aware that the man that raped Ray’s wife was not the same man that Frank sicked him on. Frank smooth talked his way out of the dicey situation, leaving both Ray and the audience uncertain if he intentionally misled Ray into doing his dirty work or was actually unaware he targeted the wrong man. Either way, Frank eased the tension, ratcheting Ray’s emotional eruption down a few notches into a light simmer, while also conscripting Ray for his mission to track down the missing hard drive.

Frank and Ray’s will they or wont they shoot each other moment at the table made for high drama, but the real delicious nugget of character introspection came from what the conversation between the two men revealed. As Frank says later on in the episode, “Sometimes a thing happens, it spits your life. There’s a before and after,” and Ray’s before and after moment was when he killed his wife’s “suspected” rapist. Killing that man cost Ray a piece of his soul: Ray lost his marriage, his son and his conscience; now he blames Frank (for extending that tempting offer) for the losses he has incurred. While Ray believes that his decision to kill a man turned him into an immoral degenerate, Frank believes that a willingness to cross a moral line was inside of Ray all along, just begging to get out and that Ray should “own it.” In last week’s episode, Frank vehemently denied being a gangster, yet while justifying Ray’s decision to kill a man he expresses a cavalier attitude towards his own predatory nature. After their early morning confrontation it appears that the real Frank is the one in the kitchen with Ray, a man that carries a gun in his house coat and will cross any line to attain what he believes that he deserves.

Season two of True Detective is a more ambitious storytelling endeavor than season one, unfortunately the series is often difficult to follow and gets tangled up in its numerous narrative threads. Even while using a pen and a pad to keep track of all the characters the show keeps introducing, Colin Farrell’s portrayal of Ray Velcoro always manages to be the most entertaining aspect of the show. Although watching a coke fueled Ray going “HAM” on the father of his son’s bully makes for some tweet-worthy moments, it doesn’t make the audience care about the character. As the season progressed and the show allowed viewers a deeper look at Ray’s miserable life, it slowly started making sense why Ray needs his whiskey lubricated coke binges to anesthetize himself from his painful existence. What remains to be seen is whether Ray is numbing himself because his conscience won’t allow him to accept the anguish he’s caused (himself and others) or because he is taming a part of him that finds it easy to steal and kill.

With all the build up to Ani’s (Rachel McAdams) infiltration into the sex-party — the mysterious mansion sex-parties have been tangled up in the season’s plot from the very first episode — it felt as though a huge revelation was about to be revealed. Ani was able to track down Vera (Miranda Rae Mayo) while Paul (Taylor Kitsch) stole some significant documents that may help the “detectives” close the case. Director Miguel Sapochnik (who also directed the classic Game of Thrones episode: Hardhome) did an exceptional job of creating a sense of urgency and dread as Ani forced her way out of the party. Ani finally put her knife skills to use (be it in a drugged state), turning her would be attacker into chop suey, while also mentally regressing into flashbacks of a childhood trauma. Up until this episode, the reasons for Ani’s tough as nails exterior remained a mystery.The flashback to Ani’s childhood molestation revealed the root of her compulsion to never let her guard down. Ani, Ray and Paul’s incursion into the sex-party and their frantic escape was the kind of straight forward, high stakes storytelling that commands the audience’s emotional investment. Now that our “heroes” have gathered enough clues to start targeting suspects, the remaining two episodes of the season should begin bringing together all of the plot’s disparate elements.

Church in Ruins continues True Detective season two’s run of episodes that alternate between enjoyable and frustrating. Watching Frank’s attempts at tracking down the hard drive as well as Ani’s infiltration of the sex party during the second half the episode made for some entertaining television. Now that the “detectives” have some solid leads (Vera, the documents), the show can begin tightening the screws, narrowing the focus of the detectives and making some headway into Caspere’s murder, the missing girls and the property deals.

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About the author

Victor Stiff

Born and raised in Toronto, Victor has spent the past decade using his love and knowledge of the city to highlight and promote significant cultural events such as TIFF, The IIIFA awards, and the Anokhi Gala. He is an avid reader of Sci-fi and Horror and constantly sits through indie film marathons in rabid anticipation of the genre’s next great film auteurs. He also contributes sci-fi and fantasy movie reviews to

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