The following is a review of “Church In Ruins” from the second season of True Detective, beware of spoilers.
“Church In Ruins” had quite a job to do for the season to still be appealing. Most critics have felt that this season has had a tough time in comparisons with its predecessor. It hasn’t been as interesting or exciting, nor as strong in performance, writing or direction. This episode had to have strong performances, and it also had to move towards an end for the season. Thankfully, “Church In Ruins” is the best episode of season 2 yet.
However, this episode continued the second season trend – the weak links persist. The Semyons are not interesting. The characters could have worked, but they just don’t. Vince Vaughn was supposed to have a strong McConaughey-like return to drama, but he has not worked in this season of True Detective.
His Mexican standoff should have been exciting, but, ultimately, the scene just fell flat. It is not that Vaughn was particularly poor in this episode, but he hasn’t given a strong episode performance yet. I loved last season of True Detective, and I was really excited about Colin Farrell and Vince Vaughn sharing the screen in a thriller, but the dinner table scene that the two actors shared was not as powerful as it should have been.
But this was a very good episode, and the biggest reason why this season still works is Colin Farrell and his character Ray Velcoro. Velcoro might have been sober once, but this episode negates the progress he’s made in that department. Instead, this episode might signify the end of Velcoro’s family hopes and dreams. He lost ‘his’ son in this episode.
Let’s get to the Eyes Wide Shut-scene, though. That sure was… Something. Everyone knew what was going to happen to Antigone when the orgy was revealed. Get a knife in her hands and people will go down. The scene in question was very interesting, it was extremely important that Antigone spotted Vera (though somewhat convenient), but the most interesting thing is not about the orgy. Antigone’s reaction to the drugs was scary. Something terrible happened to Antigone, and suddenly we have to question her father’s community yet again.
While I do think this was the best episode of the season so far, I thought the director, Miguel Sapochnik, made a mistake. One of the best scenes in the last season of True Detective was the amazing tracking shot – and in this episode they could have done something similar. I thought it was a missed opportunity to not go with a tracking shot for the scene in which Antigone, Paul, and Vera run away from the orgy and towards Velcoro’s car.
I’m Jeffrey Rex