Film Review

TRUE DETECTIVE 2.6 CHURCH IN RUINS – A Review by Frank Mengarelli

TRUE DETECTIVE 2.6 CHURCH IN RUINS

“Sometimes a thing happens, splits your life.  There’s a before and after.  I got like five of them at this point.  And this is your first.  But if you use it right, the bad thing, you use it right and it makes you better.  Stronger.  Gives you something most people don’t have.  As bad as this is, as wrong as it is. This hurt, it can make you a better man.  That’s what pain does.  It shows you what’s on the inside.  And what’s inside of you is pure gold.  Pure solid gold, that’s what you got.” – Frank Semyon

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Four major events transpired in yet another taut and meticulous episode.  Only two more episodes to go, unfortunately.  The first major event was the sit down between Velcoro and Semyon, and it went in a direction that I didn’t quite see it going.  Turns out, Ray and Frank are friends.  There is trust and appreciation between the two of them, yet Frank feels remorse for what he has done to Ray.  He turned his life upside down by giving, unknowing to him, false information about the man who attacked Ray’s (ex)wife.  At this stage in the show, Ray is the only person that Frank can fully trust within his real world and his shadow world.

Frank visits his former employee’s wife and son, while Frank genuinely conveys his sympathies to Stan’s wife, where the heart of the show truly lies is Frank’s exchange with Stan’s son.  Frank, who can relate to Stan’s son, really has no idea how to talk to him, how to comfort him.  The dialogue is incredibly impactful.  Anyone who watches the show has had a moment that “splits your life.  There’s a before and after,” Frank continues, “if you use it right, the bad thing, you use it right and it makes you better.  Stronger.”

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Ray’s self loathing cocaine, alcohol and American Spirits binge was frightening.  He took himself to the absolute limit in one of the biggest self-destructive scenes that I have seen.  He breaks down, mumbles to a picture of his son, he touches the scar on his upper lip, now visible without his mustache covering it.  The scar on his upper lip was not there in the flashback sequence in the first episode.  I can only imagine he got that when he killed the wrong man who he thought was the rapist, or his then wife physically struck him after he told her about what he had done.  The scene ends with Ray’s farewell to his son, to his ex-wife, and to his life.  First we were teased with Ray being shot with riot shells and in this episode with him nearly having a heart attack at the height of his binge.  Ray knows that his toxicity has ruined everyone pure around him and he has clearly made his decision about his fate, and he is going to go out on his own terms.

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Then there was the EYES WIDE SHUT sex party.  Women are everywhere, old men watching, and cauldrons of Viagra within arms reach.  The Mayor’s son was there, Blake the creepy redheaded guy that works for Frank and undoubtedly is behind the false information relayed to Ray, the State’s Attorney who is running for Mayor and many other power holders from the show.  Then we get the flashback to Ani’s childhood, she’s on her father’s hippie commune, where she was raped when she was very, very young.  The hand of the child in the flashback was strikingly young, and gave you all the information about Ani’s life, and who she is and why she became who she is.

This show takes place in the over dramatized noir world, where people don’t speak the way these characters do, people don’t look like the people from the show.  There has been so much unnecessary aggression towards this season and frankly the constant torpedoing of this season is ridiculous.  Nic Pizzolatto is such a great writer in the way that he can dissolve this dangerous world to applicable dialogue that challenges the viewer, challenging them to reflect on themselves to see whether or not they really are solid gold.

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