‘Church in Ruins’
I said this last week, but this episode of True Detective is by far the best of the season. Starting straight from when the last episode left off. Infusing a simpler story for the episode, with a straight forward objective and plan for the detectives to pull off. ‘Church in Ruins’ sees Ani go undercover (similar to when Rust went undercover for one night last season) while Ray and Paul back her up trying to lift information from ‘important people’ negotiating corrupt deals under the table.
A beautiful episode indeed… not much technically appealed to me in this episode, the writing was great of course, showcasing some terrific original quotes: ‘I sold my soul for nothing.’ The cinematography however was a major element in deciding the tone, elementary photography combined with tricky situations created a tension filled episode, thus giving the impression of a thriller like Prisoners (2013). This cinematography can be highlighted in scenes such as the very beginning, Ray and Frank at the table, as well as when Ani is training with her knife in the kitchen.
This tension scattered itself throughout the episode, I guess I’d have to hand it to the director. The final act of the ‘Church in Ruins’ was also presented strangely, I liked the surrealism and flashbacks Ani experienced, suggesting at the ‘crazy hippie commune’ she was molested by the some weirdo when she was a child. It’s presented very subtly, once again reminding the audience they have to pay attention to receive all the details. During the entire sequence their was old fashioned film music playing, I didn’t know how to feel about this but it certainly added something.
‘A long time ago you gave me a man’s name on a piece of paper…’ – Ray Velcoro
My gripes with episode yet again lie in Frank’s character, or well, his arc at least. What the hell was he doing? Who was the girl the Mexicans killed? and Who’s son was he talking to? These are things I thought or can maybe guess the answers to, but what’s poor is how nothing is ever confirmed. There’s no picture of the husband that died brought forward to the audience in the entire scene.
I think this season would definitely benefit by giving Frank a lot less to do, the only time he’s really interesting is when he interacting with Velcoro. Quite ‘Frankly’ he’s been mostly unimportant to the case and all his actions seem like a major distraction. Nevertheless, this is another episode that fulfills the True Detective promise, leaping higher than the previous episode in quality, cementing that this season is at least ‘enjoyable’ and very ‘different’ from last season, while not reaching the 10/10 perfect storytelling that was Season 1.
Words by Levi Eddie Aluede